Posts Tagged ‘Peter DeWitt’

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Visible Learning

October 8, 2014

John Hattie’s Research

Screen Shot 2014-10-04 at 8.41.43 PMAlmost a year ago blogger Peter DeWitt wrote a post called Is Learning ‘Visible’ to Students?

In his post DeWitt references John Hattie’s research on ‘visible’ learning. Hattie is Professor of education and Director of Research at the University of Melbourne (Australia). Hattie has been criticized for his research which dives into what is and is not working in schools. Certainly a topic that, depending on your beliefs, most likely quickly puts you in favor or against the research.

Hattie’s research has over 1,000 meta-analysis which involved over a quarter billion students. That is certainly a lot of students but more importantly what is done with the information matters even more. I hear over and over what a challenge teaching has become because of the shifts in education. I look at proficiency-based education and know that in theory most educators believe that all students should graduate from our schools being proficient. Yes, challenging times but that is the nature of change as we transition in Maine to a proficiency-based high school graduation requirement.

I can’t help but think about Hattie’s research and how it supports the proficiency based requirement. Hattie defines visible learning as, “Making student learning visible to teachers, ensuring clear identification of the attributes that make a visible difference to student learning, and all in the school visibly knowing the impact that they have on the learning in the school.” There are many ways to know if students are learning but if it is visible to educators, won’t it also be recognizable to other stakeholders?

And, the shift comes when the students is in the center of their learning. Learning becomes active and not passive. And, this hits the nail on the head…

Hattie goes on to say that the visible aspect,

“Also refers to making teaching visible to the student, such that they learn to become their own teachers, which is the core attribute of lifelong learning or self-regulation, and of the love of learning that we so want students to value.” This doesn’t mean that students do not need their teachers. Quite the contrary…the relationship between student and teacher is highly important.

Reading the article through the proficiency based lens and student centered learning, might just give you some insight on the shift and how to adapt.

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Working Together

February 18, 2013

Finding Common Ground – Peter DeWitt’s blog

imagesNone of us is as smart as all of us. Many of you have heard me say this  Japanese proverb. My friend and colleague retired Maine Alliance for Arts Education Executive Director, Carol Trimble has this family saying We’re a Genius. When I came across this blog post titled Working Together, We Can Produce Genius I thought, I am going to like this blog post written by Robert Garmston and Valerie von Frank. And, I do and recommend it!

The authors point out that working in collaboration is not new. For example, even though Thomas Edison is credited with inventing the light bulb he did not work alone. He worked with several scientists who bounced ideas off each other and collaborated in a large open space. Hmmm… that sounds familiar.

They mention the “shift” happening in schools out of necessity, with teachers working together “combining efforts to work more strategically”. We know this is not a new concept either. But is it happening more in your schools than perhaps 5 or 10 years ago? And, are you involved in the team work?

I’ve noticed that we talk about collaborating in our work but do we know what that means, do we know how it looks? Does it matter who is collaborating? I have many questions about collaboration. If we try it once and it fails do we give up? How do we know which teachers should work together? What is the purpose of collaborating? Will it provide more and better opportunities for student learning and achievement?

The authors suggest these three topics to confront while planning.

  1. The group is (almost) always smarter than its members.
  2. The wisdom of the group can create better decisions.
  3. Who’s in the group matters.

I kept honey bees for several years and was amazed by their habits, behaviors, and how and what they produced. Each bee has their role and the sheer number of bees in a hive, about 30,000, all buzzing around playing their part! Talk about collaboration! I will never forget the first time I went into a bee hive. The bees clearly knew their part and who was supposed to be there. I was clearly a foreigner.

What can we learn from bees and other groups that function in a collaborative environment that have a positive impact on the world? What can we learn from teams who have creatively tackled new ideas and concepts and made a community a better place? Perhaps sharing the blog post Working Together We Can Produce Genius with a colleague or the staff at your school would be a good place to start (or continue) a discussion.

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