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Professor John Hattie - Collective Teacher Efficacy

Teacher Training UK was delighted to host Professor John Hattie who delivered an inspirational session focusing on the number 1 factor which has the strongest impact on raising student achievement: collective teacher efficacy.

Collective teacher efficacy refers to the collective belief of teachers that they have the expertise to be able to positively impact students’ learning. John identifies collective teacher efficacy as having an extraordinary impact on student achievement. With an effect size of 1.57, collective teacher efficacy has twice the impact of feedback and three times the impact of classroom management. Further studies conducted by Hoy, Sweetland and Smith (2002) have found that the strength of collective teacher efficacy helps to increase the positive effects of individual teacher efficacy.

Within the session, John discussed the 7 critical aspects of teacher and school leader expertise which contribute to achieving collective teacher efficacy. Teachers working together as evaluators of their practice and collectively analysing their impact is deemed to be an important component. John suggests that in order to determine the impact practice is having on learners, errors and trust must be welcomed and maximum feedback should be given about the impact of their practice. Teachers and learners should also have high expectations and ensure that learners are moving towards explicit success criteria using the goldilocks principles of challenge. The goldilocks principles of challenge ensure that teachers are focusing on work that is not too easy, but also not too hard, so as to avoid cognitive overload. By providing material that is deemed right for learners, a focus on learning is created with the right proportion of surface to deep learning taking place.

Optimising individual and team performance begins with examining the pitfalls of teacher reflection. John expresses that often within classrooms, teachers will reflect on their interpretations of what they think they see or hear. This method of reflection, which relies solely on the teacher’s perspective, becomes problematic as around 80% of what happens in the classroom is unseen or unheard by the teacher. Individual teacher reflection is therefore not based upon an accurate depiction of classroom events. To overcome this, teachers must base reflection upon the perceptions of others as well as themselves. This is an important aspect of evaluative thinking which when embedded in practice can lead to opportunities for substantial impact.

Evaluative thinking, which incorporates both reasoning and critical thinking when evaluating evidence, is crucial in achieving collective teacher efficacy as it allows teachers to effectively decide which action should follow when areas for improvement are identified. Once embedded in practice, a teacher who engages in evaluative thinking can determine whether any actions have unintended consequences that will prompt them to further adapt recommendations. At this stage, teachers should be aware of any potential biases as the validity of results may be impacted. To ensure validity, the considerations of others should be included to gain a wider understanding of impact. By allowing others to contribute to the reflective process, teachers develop “I and we” skills. These skills reflect those necessary to be able to work within a group and share ideas with confidence. John emphasised that for teacher collective efficacy to be effective, individuals must share a firm conviction that the ideas generated as a collaborative effort are perhaps greater than those which are generated as an individual.

John continued by examining what is meant by “impact” within education. It is suggested that for impact to be measured consistently, learner expectations must be agreed and perpetuated by all within the establishment, with learning as the core element. Once universally agreed, teachers can then diagnose, plan interventions, implement action plans and evaluate them as a team.

John concluded the session by listing the benefits of collective teacher efficacy, including the deeper implementation of school improvement, teacher leadership being more prevalent in schools, more positive feelings and attitudes, and openness to testing new approaches to teaching.

About Professor John Hattie

Professor John Hattie is an award-winning education researcher and best-selling author with over 40 years’ experience examining what works best in student learning and achievement. Over the years, he has authored over 38 books, published and presented over 1200 research papers, supervised over 200 theses, and keynoted at more than 350 conferences. It is no wonder that Professor Hattie was once called “possibly the world’s most influential education academic” by the Times Educational Supplement.

Currently, he is Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne and Chair of the Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leaders.

His most recognised work is his research into visible learning, the culmination of over 25 years of examining what works best for student learning and achievement. His research synthesises more than 1500 meta-analyses, including more than 90,000 studies involving over 300 million students around the world. Through this profound research, and in partnership with Corwin, he has also developed Visible Learning Plus, professional development aimed at translating his groundbreaking research into a practical model of inquiry and evaluation for schools worldwide.

Professor Hattie has been the recipient of the Hedley Beare Award for Writing in Education (ACEL), AERA Outstanding Reviewer for Educational Research, University Teaching and Supervision Award, Inaugural Secondary Principals Association Leadership in Education Award, Computerworld Excellence Award for Use of IT in Education, and was elected Fellow of the American Psychological Association as well as Highly Commended in the BearingPoint Awards for Innovation in Technology. He has also been awarded the Order of Merit for New Zealand for services to education by the NZ Government.

His notable publications include Visible Learning, Visible Learning for Teachers, Visible Learning and the Science of How We Learn, Visible Learning into Action, Visible Learning for Mathematics, Grades K-12, and 10 Mindframes for Visible Learning.


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