What Bavaria’s teachers can learn from tens of thousands of data from the Hattie study: – Bavaria

Great expectations characterized this afternoon in Augsburg: a good 300 visitors were eagerly waiting to hear what the New Zealand empirical guru John Hattie, 74, would tell them. Expectation management was the big topic of the afternoon, just different than many of the teachers and student teachers present thought possible.

Hattie’s analyzes caused a huge stir in the world of education in 2009, and the German translation by the Augsburg professor Klaus Zierer even made it onto the bestseller lists in 2013. To put it bluntly, Hattie uses 2,100 meta-studies and thousands of data to show which factors really make a difference at school and what demonstrably leads to children’s learning success. So hard numbers for often cloudy pedagogical ideas.

The German translation of the follow-up book “Visible Learning – the Sequel” is currently being published, with the new German title “Visible Learning 2.0”. A good 15 years after the first book, the number of meta-studies has tripled and the factors for visible learning success analyzed by Hattie have grown from 138 to 362. So Hattie came to Augsburg from Australia on Monday to speak about his new book at the invitation of Zierer and the school organization of the Diocese of Augsburg. The educator from Down Under took the opportunity to really speak to the conscience of the teachers in the room and those who want to become teachers. “Know your influence” is the name of a book that Zierer wrote with Hattie. The director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute immediately made maximum use of his influence – and the audience listened spellbound.

“There are teachers who you can give them the best method in the world and they will screw it up. And there are teachers who don’t need any special method and the children will achieve great learning success,” Hattie said. But the example of his granddaughter shows how it doesn’t work: The youngest, 5, understood the school system after just a few weeks: “It’s about doing it right.” Now she’s afraid of making mistakes and doesn’t do anything for school anymore. Now he can do the job of teacher and try to teach her a different, positive culture of error. A classic from Hattie and Zierer.

In general, according to Hattie, school should be less about teaching: “The children are not interested in how you teach, they want to learn.” One key to their learning success is the teacher’s expectation management. And on several levels: By collective expectation of effectiveness, Hattie means that a school as a collective sets out to provide the best teaching, formulates its own expectations of the children’s learning and regularly evaluates them.

“How can you know when you’re 10-year-olds what they’ll be like when they’re 30?”

At the same time, teachers must learn to manage their expectations. “Children know what expectations the teacher has for them,” Hattie said. And behave accordingly. Teachers should therefore define the learning goals for their students and show them transparently what they have to achieve. For Hattie, the best teachers are not those whose students reach their potential, but rather those who enable boys and girls to grow beyond themselves. To put it briefly: If children feel that the teacher believes in them, then they will succeed in the end. “Expectations are incredibly powerful.”

This isn’t groundbreaking, some critics in the room grumbled. The Augsburg university professor Zierer defended his friend: “People have been raising children for 3,000 years, it can’t all be new. What’s crucial is that the data is on the table.”

Hattie’s advice to the Bavarian Minister of Education Anna Stolz (Free Voters) was based on data, which the educational researcher had ready to respond to questions from the room: He doesn’t believe in the early distribution of children after primary school to the different types of schools. “How can you know when you’re 10-year-olds what they’ll be like when they’re 30?” To give the teaching profession more prestige and get the best people for the job, Hattie would introduce more promotion levels and even better pay. The figures showed that after ten years in the service, teachers were stagnating or providing lower quality teaching than at the start of their careers. If performance were rewarded, things could look different. Overall, he sees the quality in the classroom under threat: “We are throwing more and more untrained adults into the classrooms, that’s a big problem.”

When asked what shaped him most during his time at school, Hattie replied, in keeping with his expectations theory: “That no one told me you couldn’t do it.”

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