I almost don’t care how teachers teach
I almost don’t care how teachers teach

I almost don’t care how teachers teach

How do we move the conversation away from how you teach, to the impact of our teaching. Hattie (2017)

When preparing for our leadership planning day yesterday, I was investigating how to build on-going professional teaching conversations (as an alternative to Performance Review) that I stumbled upon John Hattie again talking up collective teacher efficacy on the Principal Centre Radio podcast. If you are not familiar with Hattie, his name is rarely far from discussions about teacher effectiveness… Visible Learning, 1400 meta-analyses, 80,000 studies, 300 million students… what works best in education (still, his chosen research approach, meta-analysis, is now without its detractors or straightforward teacher criticism.)

Collective teacher efficacy (CTE) is the new influence on the Visible Learning meta-analysis block, leap-frogging “Self-Report Grades/Student Expectations” 1.44, “Feedback” 0.75, and “Teacher-student relationships” 0.72.

Collective teacher efficacy – the collective belief of teachers in their ability to positively affect students. 1.57

Not only is it one of the very top influencers globally, it is the most significant leadership influencer almost five-fold 1.57. Where typically, teacher impact is report at 0.4 over a single year and nearly everything teachers do, works.

We are two years into defining our teaching model and setting our school culture. We have been moving away from evaluative performance appraisal towards developmental, coaching-styled, evidence based approaches. Investigating CTE practice is our next professional research area. The question then, is how do we move the conversation away from how you teach (this has be agreed / adopted), to what is the impact of our teaching. How do we develop a sense of high confidence in our staff that they can change the learning lives of all students? We are looking to cultivate and grow CTE by;

  • providing opportunities to build instructional knowledge and skills – currently provided and supported(particularly around assessment, as the process that shows teachers impact)
  • providing opportunities to collaboratively share skills and experience – currently provided and supported
  • constantly feeding those teachers with the evidence of their impact or providing the “space” for teachers to reflect and find the evidence for themselves – this is where we are introducing “professional conversations” in response to staff survey feedback

If you are interested, Jenni Donohoo identifies six enabling conditions (Donohoo, 2017) and while enabling conditions do not cause things to happen, they increase the likelihood that things will turn out as expected. You can find these here.

It is, as I understand it, CTE is utilising the collective wisdom of staff (nearly qualified through to highly refined and experienced); see puzzlemeets one such approach that encourages a collective approach. Furthermore, we know that the collect wisdom of groups benefits from one or two more females (teaching is in luck), more turn taking and members of the group showing that they have heard, received and considered the messages shared. When, where and how we bring staff together requires thoughtful consideration and what “puzzles” collectively address requires careful selection.

We plan to supplement group learning with professional coaching conversations, three times a half-term, drawing on evidence curated and also shared school priorities around our teaching model. I will let you know how we have got on, following the first staff survey in December.

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  1. Pingback: Do teachers know thy impact – Edventures

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