The task we have set ourselves of building a high performing system has been challenging but our work has been enriched by the ideas and input of great educational change agents like Michael Fullan, Stephen Heppell and most recently, John Hattie.
On 19 October, more than 600 educators came to hear John Hattie deliver the 2009 Ann D Clark lecture in Penrith. It was a tremendous opportunity to hear John talk about his seminal research, Visible Learning.
John’s message is practical and powerful: focus on feedback especially student feedback of teachers. John says that if you ask students they’ll tell you when their teachers aren’t up to scratch. So why are many teachers so afraid of hearing the truth? Is it too difficult a challenge to change what we have been doing?
Further he says that we set the bar too low for student learning therefore we’ll never really know what students are capable of. Despite how this may seem, it is not a criticism of teachers – it’s just that it is time for an honest look at the evidence of student achievement and action on that evidence. We have to see the urgency for action and act now!
Hattie affirmed our strategic direction but cautioned about the need for an unrelenting focus on the evidence. As he said it is about two key questions, “show the evidence and then do what needs to be done as a result.”