John Hattie’s Research Into Effective Teaching
What Makes the Difference?
What teachers and students DO make the visible difference. To say that a teacher makes the difference is
not quite right. It’s teachers undertaking certain teaching practices with appropriately challenging curricula
and showing students how to think or strategize about the curricula. Teaching requires deliberate
interventions to ensure there are improved outcomes for students. The good news is that ALL teachers can
learn to make a difference.
What is a teacher that makes the difference? It’s a teacher who is open to experience, learns from errors,
seeks and learns from feedback from students and colleagues; and who fosters effort, clarity, and
engagement in learning.
Visible Teaching and Learning occurs when (Hattie, p.22):
1. Learning is the explicit goal.
2. Learning is appropriately challenging.
3. Both teacher and student seek to ascertain whether and to what degree the challenging goal is attained.
4. When there is deliberate practice aimed at mastery.
5. Feedback is given and sought.
6. There are active, passionate, engaging people involved in learning.
In classrooms where visible teaching and learning occur, teachers are using powerful strategies that have
the greatest effect on student outcomes.
What Are Powerful Strategies and What is the Effect?
Making some gain is not enough, there needs to be evidence of meaningful gain, more than what a year of
maturation of simply attending class can provide. Instead of asking, “What works?” we should be asking
“What works best?” “We need a barometer of success that helps teachers to understand which attributes of
schooling assist students in attaining their goalposts” (Hattie, p. 19). Hattie uses the effect size of various
strategies to determine which are the most effective. The “hinge point” is .40 – meaning we need to engage
in practices with about .40 effect size or higher. Practices that have an effect size greater than .40 are in
the “zone of desired effects”—they are influences that had the greatest impact on student achievement
outcomes (Hattie, p. 19).
Okay, So What Works Best?
Based on the earlier discussion of “decision paralysis”– we do not need lots of practices, we just need a
few that work best. Hattie’s book actually puts the practices in rank order – making it very easy to see
what works best. The good news is that most teachers already use many of these practices, so it may
merely require refining our skills in their use instead of learning entirely new behaviors.
Here’s a short list of ten (of the more than 100 practices evaluated) with the associated effect size – all of
which are above the .40 zone of desired effects. The first eight on the list focus on what teachers do in their
classroom setting, and the final two on the list focus on how to support teachers as they’re making the
changes in their classroom practices.
Getting the best from and for our students
The Top Seven Teaching Practices that Improve Student Learning
1. Comprehensive interventions for learning disabled students (.77 effect size), including:
combining approaches of strategy instruction and direct instruction
attention to sequencing, drill-repetition-practice, segmenting information into parts for later
synthesis, control task difficulty through prompts and cues, systematically modeling problem
solving steps, making use of interactive small groups, and use of technology (Hattie, p. 218
2. Teacher Clarity (.75 effect size)
teacher clearly communicates intentions of lesson & what constitutes success
3. Reciprocal Teaching (.74 effect size)
comprehension strategy which includes summarizing, questioning, clarifying, and predicting
supported through dialogue between teacher and students as they attempt to gain meaning from text
(Hatie, p. 201)
4. Feedback (.73 effect size)
includes feedback to students as well as FROM students in terms of what students know, what they
understand, and when they have misconceptions
5. Teacher-student relationships (.72 effect size)
listening, empathy, caring, and having positive regard for others (p. 118)
6. Repeated Reading Programs (.67 effect size)
student reads passage repeatedly, while receiving feedback
7. Direct Instruction (.59 effect size)
Stating the learning objectives & success criteria, then engaging students in moving towards
these (Hattie, p. 207)
Teacher modeling, guided practice, independent practice, and checking for understanding
throughout the delivery (I do it, We do it, You do it)
Increased opportunities to respond – with feedback
Adams & Englemann (1996) indicate the principle objective of direct instruction is to teach more in
http://www.newhorizons.org/spneeds/inclusion/teaching/marchand martella ausdemore.htm
What needs to happen to have all teachers routinely putting their purpose, intent or learning goal on the
Getting the best from and for our students