When we delve into the intricacies of teaching practice, we might assume that the techniques passed onto teachers and educators alike are all tried and tested. But it’s important to remember that some strategies may have more of an impact in the classroom than others and there is great value in evidence-based research that identifies effective teaching practices. Being aware of effective, evidence-based teaching strategies can be the difference between a good and great teacher.
Professor John Hattie and Professor Janet Clinton are two leading academics in the field of Education who have extensively researched which teaching strategies make the biggest difference to student results. With thousands of documented lessons, research papers, and statistics combined, they’re among the leading experts on maximising learning and student potential. We’ll look at a few techniques that Professors Hattie and Clinton have identified, as well as the nature of evidence and why it’s important to learning efficacy.
What is an ‘evidence-based’ teaching method?
Evidence is gained through assessment including observation, tests, peer assessment and practical performance. These assessments gather the data that is used to measure the amount of learning students undergo. It is the ways in which we measure and observe progress which forms the basis of evidence. This handy outline below is provided by Michele Bruniges via the Department of Education and Training in Canberra.
5 Evidence-Based Methods
Professor John Hattie and Professor Janet Clinton have collected thousands of studies, observed hundreds of lessons and curriculums from 2012 onward. This research led to Prof. John Hattie's theory of Visible Learning, which centres on the development of student feedback and growth via the guidance of the teacher. To learn more about Visible Learning, check out Hattie’s other writings.
Here are 5 methods that have been identified as effective teaching strategies:
1. Have A Clear Focus for the Lesson
Provide an easy-to-understand and clear objective that the lesson will focus on. This is the goal of the lesson that gives the students a point A and B. This method allows students to measure whether or not they have learned the crucial content or not.
2. Get the Students to Engage with the Content
It’s not enough for a teacher to merely lecture students. Engagement should be encouraged and can include answering questions, peer group discussion or participating in healthy debate. Engagement helps bring out students' own perspectives and opinions, which will in turn reinforce their learning.
3. Give Feedback
This may seem obvious, but students need a constant stream of feedback. It is via this feedback that students gauge where they are in their learning, and how much work still remains to be done.
4. Get Students Working Together
Students often thrive in more sociable environments. Including peer group activities or student-led discussion enhances engagement and places concepts and ideas into long-term memory.
5. Build Students’ Self-Efficacy
Self-efficacy is the belief in achieving one’s own goals via their own will power. Professor Hattie and Professor Clinton have shown through their research that teachers who support students to build self-efficacy have a more significant impact in the classroom than those that did not.