Mon 19th March, 2018
Up early on a Monday, coffee and cheese toastie from Hurstville station and a packed train. Doesn’t sound the most exciting start to a working week though what followed shortly after surely was.
I was fortunate and privileged enough to be a part of the Visible Learning conference held at Sydney Technology Park. John Hattie himself was our keynote for the day and he took the crowd through a rigorous day of learning about learning. I take the time now to reflect on three of my key learnings for the day.
A Model for Learning
Developed by Hattie et al, A Model for Learning is the conceptual framework used to describe the ultimate goal of the teaching and learning experience, to move from surface to deep to transfer in learning. It is fed by a series of ‘inputs’ (Skill, Will and Thrill) and is a process of acquisition and consolidation at the surface and deep level before creating the space for students to transfer their learning. Hattie explained that sitting behind all of the surface, deep and transfer processes for learning are a series of different strategies for each (with varying effect sizes). It is the skill of the teacher in selecting and equipping their learners with a variety of these strategies and challenging their learners to select the right one for them at their point in learning that becomes the challenge in both learning sequence design and in practice.
I welcome one and all to come and chat with me should you want to know more!
Skill, Will and Thrill
Existing as the inputs and outputs in the Model for Learning, Skill, Will and Thrill define the prior knowledge (and misconceptions) that students bring to their learning, their disposition towards their learning (resilience, self efficacy etc) and their motivation and desire to achieve based on a set criteria for success. Hattie stressed that educators need to be cognisant of all three inputs and their impact on the potential for learning to occur in their classrooms. Being ignorant of them comes with its own inherent risks. This also carries implications for us as adult learners with regard to how we learn, what knowledge we bring, how we feel about the learning we are engaging in and our want and desire to improve in our learning.
This makes me think of our collective challenge in deepening our curriculum knowledge...
Are we mindful of our own inputs as a school? What are the implications of them for our learning journey?
We have all been in the pit before. That place where we feel incredibly uncomfortable, not knowing the answer to a question or provocation. Hattie argues that this is where learning happens. The choices that we make when we, as learners, are in the pit, the moves we make, the strategies we use to arrive at an answer is the point where learning occurs. It made me think, in my own practice, how often do it let kids live “in the pit”? How often do I create opportunities for students to sit uncomfortably with ‘not knowing’ and allow them to find their way out? It also made me think quite critically about our collective learning as a school - how often are we engaging in work that is too surface and not enough deep?
This has several implications for all of us as educators.
How often are we, as adult learners, in the pit?
What do we do to make our way out?
How do we feel when we are in there?
These are the questions we must be able to ask ourselves before we can expect the same skills to be used by our students.