Hattie looks to ‘highlight that which truly makes a difference’ and identifies particular practices which – backed by extensive research – are most likely to enhance student learning. His first point, however, establishes the role of teachers as a key source (30%) of variance in student achievement – second only to the student themselves (50%). This means that, according to Hattie, the home, school, principal and peers make very little difference to student achievement.
Hattie then goes onto list the influences in order of effect on student achievement:
Source of influence
Students’ prior cognitive ability
Apart from students’ prior cognitive ability, the top influences on student achievement – feedback, instructional quality and direct instruction – are all sourced from the teacher themselves.
What I am saying, though, is that perhaps we need to focus on our teaching practices and what teachers actually DO in a lesson – particularly around the elements of how we provide feedback to students, how we ensure quality of our instruction / productive pedagogies and that we embed components of explicit teaching in our day-to-day.
Rowe takes a swipe at student-centred, inquiry-based teaching practices when he states “the widespread and mostly unquestioning adoption of constructivist orientations towards teaching in most areas of the curriculum in Western, English-speaking schools and higher education institutions is problematic, and especially in the teaching of mathematics.”
constructivism is a theory of learning, not a theory of teaching.
What I’ve taken this to mean here is that just because a student may learn through inquiry and may socially-construct knowledge through play and exploration, this doesn’t mean that I, as a teacher, setup an environment for this to occur and then dust my hands and consider my job done.
Direct instruction (DI) – sometimes referred to as explicit instruction – “is a systematic method for presenting learning material in small steps, pausing to check for student understanding, and eliciting active and successful participation from all students” (Rosenshine, 1986, p. 60). DI modes of instruction are well grounded in findings from evidence-based research in cognitive science, and give little attention to the ‘causes’ of under-achievement, learning difficulties, or to students’ underlying abilities (Casey, 1994; Coltheart, 2005). Thus, DI programs are designed according to what, not who, is to be taught. Individual differences among students are allowed for through different entry points, reinforcement, amounts of practice, and correction strategies (see: Engelmann, 1999; Hempenstall, 1996).
students need to have a high level of explicitly-taught basic literacies in order to learn effectively through social-constructivism
Students need to progress through Remembering, Understanding and Applying
all of which require a teacher to “fill the empty vessel” in a cognitivist way. The skills “delivered” may well be thinking skills. By no means will every student graduate from these lower order thinkings skills, but Direct Instruction (or its close cousin Direct Interactive Teaching which) will help more of them reach into the higher order skills progression: Analysing, Evaluating, (Creating.) THIS is where carefully considered, thoroughly scoped and scaffolded arenas are made available for constructivism to come into play, under the influence and supervision of a teacher.
Reading the Rowe article I was dismayed by the assertion that teacher training for primary schools is dominated by constructivist classroom activities. The analogy which came to mind is of teaching a pilot to fly. In the model I assumed applied, the pilot would be trained in an established progression of necessary knowledge and skills under close supervision (cognitivist approach) to the point where she takes her first solo flight under careful supervision from the tower(constructivist approach). If the article is accurate in its assertions, primary schools are trying to teach their students to fly by handing them a succession of progressively more powerful aeroplanes while standing by and watching.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.