Notes from a podcast by John Hattie. Aug 2013


What Hattie says, in my words…
My thoughts, comments and some questions
  1. Reading a more difficult font slows you down and makes you think more. You learn more deeply. He refers to Thinking, fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman
How difficult should it be? How do we measure the difficulty? I like it that we can up challenge without making the content itself more difficult.
  1. ow.ly/nZ0PY Hattie likes SOLO. About 20 minutes in. He also likes surface/shallow knowledge.
I like SOLO.
  1. You can’t have deep without shallow knowledge – (he calls it surface).
Yeah. This is so true. In our rush to deep thinking we forget that we needs to know lots of stuff before the deep stuff can make proper sense. Paddle about in the shallows for a long time.
  1. We are quite skilled at resisting doing things differently. We have learned to do what we do and we keep doing it. We resist change to our own practice.
Confirmation bias kicks in here. We like what we know and tend to reject that which conflicts.
  1. Show worked examples right up front.
Agree strongly but how much of the method of the worked example do we need to show. Difference between showing how to solve a maths problem and how to write an essay.
  1. We need to build automatic processes as much as possible so we can reduce cognitive load for learners. He calls this automaticity.
This is how our brains work. Working memory stuff rules our ability to learn.
  1. Don’t make the answer a secret!!!
We can make students think without having to make everything hidden and a puzzle. Make them think when they know what to do.
  1. Worked examples given at the beginning of learning has an effect size of +0.8 compared to same teaching without worked examples. A cheap way of levering a great learning process.
Seems a no brainer if we can sort out the nature of the worked examples and the features we need to demonstrate by using them.
  1. Hattie says it is a sin to go into a classroom and observe a teacher. We only see how the teacher differs from what we would do!
I can only agree. If we observe to help improve a teacher, and the teacher improves, why do we need to make an Ofsted style judgement?
  1. Show kids what success looks like. Give them some predictability. Give them the ability to predict what they need to work on and in what ways to be successful.
This is the hard bit. If we give them the answer will they become dependent on us and not think?
  1. When you watch a teacher teach what you can tell the teacher how to teach better *like* you. This is not good, he says. I agree!!!
Probably this is mostly true. I like to nail my colours to the mast!
  1. When you observe a lesson, observe the children learning. Observe the outcome of the teaching.
This is so true it is a real shame it needs to be said. Watching the teacher is like watching the magician. You will always be distracted and never work out how the trick is done.
  1. Children working in pairs is powerful. Because they have to work out what is going on.
I do like this. Traditionalists don’t seem to like any form of group work. I do. Now I have a better idea of why.
  1. By the age of five kids have worked out the way to solve problems with their learning. Which is to wait for the teacher to come and tell you what to do.
Wow. Never thought of it like that. But it is so, so true.
  1. By the age of eight kids have learned that they are the audience in the classroom!!! Their job is to pretend to listen, as evidenced by Graham Nuttall’s extended study of student talk in class.
Wow again.
  1. We should allow talk to happen so we can listen to the impact we have as teachers. Teachers have to shut up. So we know what to re teach.
Yep. That’s just what I teach my teachers to do. Listen, properly, to the students and hear what they are learning.
  1. If you mix praise with feedback they only hear the praise.
Well done, Mr Hattie. Great advice.
  1. Kids having confidence they can succeed is the most powerful predictor of outcomes.
That is our job. Engagement comes with the success that comes after effort because of the confidence.
  1. Feedback needs to be matched to the process level kids are at. Eg task level give information. SOLO can be helpful here. Helps teachers identify level students are at and the feedback can be matched to that level.
Needs a lot more thought and planning to be able to do this in class. But it might just be the key we have been waiting for to unlock the Dylan Wiliam power of feedback to learners.
  1. ow.ly/nZN11 Please listen to Hattie. It is longish but very very worthwhile.
Click and listen to the original podcast.
  1. Feedback is much more than where to next.
So what more is it?
  1. There is a big difference between feedback given and feedback received. Needs to be personal. Kids receive about 3 seconds per day!!!!!!! Teachers rightly judge themselves as giving lots of feedback. Problem is most of it is either general to the class or not ‘heard’ by the learner.
Oh, I feel gulty again. I did give lots of feedback. But who heard it? Only me?
  1. How can we get students to better interpret feedback and assessment and what it means for their learning.
We have to teach them this as well. So they have to practise receiving and acting on feedback. So we need to allocate time during lessons for this to happen.
  1. Hearing another student talking about the learning a student has just done is powerful for the first student. The discussion is good for learning.
I get why this would be. I can ask questions as a learner of another learner.
  1. Learning strategies work differently when learning is shallow or deep.
Is this a sop to some poor processes or is it a life line to those who still hold onto learning styles et al?


  1. Current learning strategies (brain gym and some other contentious stuff) are often ok for surface learning. But they do not work for deeper learning and thinking.
As above
  1. For learning strategies to work they MUST be done within context and content for deep learning.
Need to think more about what this means in a classroom and in planning.
  1. Practise at doing tests and distributed practise are by far the best two strategies. By far…
Yeah. I got into all sorts of hassle at my school when I was a HoD for giving regular and frequent tests. I knew I was right.
  1. Those two learning strategies work across all contexts and contents!!!
Practice tests and distributed practice. Work for all subjects.
  1. Kids need confidence to be able and willing to engage. Not engagement first!!!
As we said above
  1. Powerful when parents learn the language of learning.
Probably an untapped power in challenging schools.
  1. High trust leads to errors by students being tolerated, by them and by others, and leads to good learning.
Yep. One of the first things I see in poorly performing schools. Kids who laugh at other kids who make mistakes and teachers who do not correct them sharply enough.
  1. Do teachers have a common understanding of progress? For different children?
I doubt we could agree what progress is in terms that are useful for teachers in planning and assessing.
  1. Hattie ends with an advert for his new book, Visible learning and the science of how we learn, coming in October (On Amazon for publication late September). I will be one of the first to buy it – assuming it is as an ebook.
Buy the book. I will. No you cannot borrow my copy – it will be an ebook anyway for me.

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2 thoughts on “Notes from a podcast by John Hattie. Aug 2013

  1. Fantastic – love ideas in nutshells – can you please post the podcast or a link to it/name? I'd like to listen to it! 🙂 Thanks

  2. Sorry – just remembered it was in there at #20! Thanks again – this has been very useful to my Sunday homework!

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