In a previous blog I had a short video of a speech by Dylan Wiliam that celebrated the magnificently complex vocation that is teaching and how every teacher can improve – see Previous blog At a similar time to watching the Dylan Wiliam video, and finding it struck a resonant chord, I read transcript of a speech given by John Hattie to school leaders in Auckland, New Zealand in 2002. John Hattie is now widely known for his seminal research undertaken for his data rich tome ‘Visible Learning‘, but this speech wasn’t known to me. When I read it, immediately key messages about leadership in schools, and the questions we should be asking about improving schools, emerged that I thought were worth sharing.
In a term when the Labour Shadow Secretary of Education, Tristam Hunt, has managed to alienate large swathes of his voting core with proposed legislation, you have to wonder about what solutions do have a chance to improve our schools. I think John Hattie’s ‘Six things School Leaders Should Know About Educational Research’ speech is closer to the mark than Hunt’s proposed teacher MOT.
This summary from the document neatly condenses the key messages and pertinent questions:
1. The major difference Principals need to consider is Quality Teaching. What success have you had on creating such a climate, and can you provide evidence of creating and valuing discussions among your teachers about their teaching?
2. We need to engage students. How are you creating a safe psychological climate for engagement, for listening, and for developing a can-do climate for teachers and for students?
3. We need to create climates where quality teaching is the subject of conversation at all times. Do you have high self-efficacy for managing change towards ensuring that quality teaching is the norm of discussion – How often is teaching the discussion topic in your school?
4. The school mission should be focused, exclude lots, and provide opportunities to learn challenging material. What do you exclude so as to focus on the important and challenging?
5. You need to be an Instructional Leader – Instruct the staff, monitor their and the students progress. What evaluation models are you constantly promoting to ask the question about whether your school is working to worthwhile goals?
6. Create positive home-school relationships. How successful are you at making parents part of the answer not the problem of educational outcomes of your students and teachers?