Sunday, November 24, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You reading?

Jen Vincent at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye and Ricki Ginsbury at Unleashing Readers cohost It's Monday! What Are You Reading weekly on their blogs.   To see what others are reading and recommending each Monday, or to participate, be sure to head over to these blogs. Some of my very best reading recommendations come from this pathway!

For a few months, I have been reading other people's posts and tweets about Visible Learning for Teachers by John Hattie. I finally broke down and spent the money on Amazon (it's an expensive little book!) and it is definitely worth the money. For the first few pages, I thought about keeping it highlighter-free so that I could return it. Then, I gave up. There's way too much to highlight in this book.

I have read several excellent summaries of this book and one of my favorites if Grant Wiggen's which you can read by clicking here. Peter DeWitt also wrote about Visible Learning in his Education Week blog here. Both of these are worth reading if you are thinking about reading Visible Learning, or if you already have. You can also watch John Hattie talk about his book and the research behind it here on youtube.

Rather than try to summarize this book better than any of the links above, I am sharing some of my favorite lines, lines that I will revisit, share and quote:

"Fundamentally, the most powerful way of thinking about a teacher's role is for teachers to see themselves as evaluators of their effects on students" (p. 18).

"Teachers must have the mind frame to foster intellectual  demand, challenge, and higher level and conceptual thinking that make students want to reinvest in learning" (p. 39).

"The more transparent the teacher makes the learning goals, the more likely the student is to engage in the work needed to meet the goal" (p. 51).

"The message is not about whether we form PLCs, use smart tools, or conduct data teams, rather it is about teachers being open to evidence of their impact on students, critiquing each other's impact in light of evidence of such impact, and forming professional judgements about how they then need to--and indeed can--influence learning of all students in their class" (p. 69).

"Two powerful ways of increasing impact is to know and share both the learning intentions and success criteria of the lesson with students" (p. 75).

"The 'learning' aim of any set of lessons is to get students to learn the skills of teaching themselves the content and understanding--that is, to self-regulate their learning." (p. 108)

"Error is the difference between what we know and can do, and what we aim to know and do--and this applies to all (struggling and talented; students and teachers). Knowing this, error is fundamental to moving towards success. This is the purpose of feedback" (p. 130).

"The aim is to provide feedback that is 'just in time', 'just for me', 'just for where I am in  my learning process', and 'just what I meed to help me move forward'" (p. 137).

For me, right now, the message about feedback is one of the most important in this book. Hattie identifies factors that influence student learning and meaningful feedback is one of the most impactful instructional strategies teachers can use in classrooms. He also has reminded me of the importance of a growth mindset; the more that teachers can empower students as learners and differentiate in ways that facilitates learning at all levels, the better our schools will become.

I am looking forward to talking to other people who have read or are reading Visible Learning. I'd love to hear comments about it!

Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. I don't know this book, Melanie, but it sounds so interesting. Could there be a connection with Peter H. Johnston's work too? I love your quote about transparency, and the statement at the end: "the more that teachers can empower students as learners and differentiate in ways that facilitates learning at all levels, the better our schools will become." Students must be empowered through allowing choice in their learning, which of course differentiates. Thanks for telling about the book! And Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  2. Hi Melanie, sounds like an important book for teachers. I am aware of how feedback is essential to students and so I try to provide as much qualitative feedback as I could to my graduate students. It's the first time I've heard of this book. Thanks for sharing about this, Melanie.

  3. Melanie, this book certainly sounds like one that I will need to get in the future. It is always good to be reminded of the things that we know to be essential in our work, like the importance of feedback. Sometimes we get so bogged down by all the other things and we need to reframe our thinking and make sure we do what we know will facilitate student learning the most. The quotes here certainly have intrigued me.