Professor John Hattie: Possibly the world’s most influential education academic …

A blog from Osiris Educational


Professor John Hattie: Possibly the world’s most influential education academic …

Osiris Educational presenter John Hattie is this week in the TES, talking about his work.

Professor John Hattie is one of the most identifiable figures in world education.  He is sometimes praised as the author of teaching’s “holy grail”.

Hattie is unafraid to speak his mind and remarkably blasé about his points of view. He says the praise for his work with visible learning is “a bit ambitious”, and the critics are “out there, I don’t mind them.”

The work of Hattie, throughout his life, has made the educational researcher the focus of global attention and controversy. Over the past 20 years he has compiled what is possibly the largest research study of what works best in the classroom. The ground-breaking 2008 book Visible Learning, is the largest collection of evidence- based research into what makes a difference to learning in schools. It used over 50,000 studies, bringing together the experiences of more than 80 million school- aged pupils’. The book identified 136 classroom interventions. The research concluded that the most effective way to improve education is to raise the quality of feedback pupils get and their interaction with teachers.

Over the next two decades he added more and more studies to the analysis until he published Visible Learning. Although the work would be more than enough to seal his legacy, Hattie admits that he cannot stop. In December last year, he published an updated version that added a further 14 interventions to the list, and he recently passed the 71,000th study.

Hattie has described teacher training as, “the most bankrupt institution I know”, claiming educational specialists spend too much time debating things that don’t matter. “The thing that really intrigues me is that the things at the bottom of the effects table still dominate our debates,” says Hattie. “We like to talk about things that really don’t matter, such as all the structural things and the way schools are set up.”

Hattie states that, the biggest mistake teachers make is placing too much importance on test scores. He implies that teachers need to do more in terms of evaluating their impact on pupils’.

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