Hattie’s work found that expert teachers were
spontaneous in their practice, demonstrating high levels
of flexibility. Expert teachers had clear mental plans for
how their lessons would develop, but, “none wrote
Note the extract to the right from the Schools White
Paper 2010. It’s a bold move and will work for expert
teachers. Can the same be said for all teachers?
How do you teach, how should you teach?
My definition of pedagogy, surprisingly perhaps, has nothing to do with caravans. In the context of this
website, pedagogy is “the study of methods for teaching learners”. I use the word ‘learners’ deliberately, as I
perceive the historic use of the term ‘andragogy’ to be close to obsolete given the shift in preferred
strategies seen as optimal for secondary school age and post-16 learners. A consequence of this is
considerable convergence between the two camps in their underpinning ideologies and methodologies.
The UK’s National Strategies had an ambitious remit- in particular to change the practice of the UK’s
teachers to embrace (reasonably) well researched, effective pedagogies. Much of the materials available
through their website are well worth examination and will enhance classroom practice.
The national quality of teaching and learning has been claimed to have shown considerable development as
a consequence of the various National Strategy implementations.
One result of the National Strategy roll-out was the ubiquitous establishment of the OfSTED-busting three-
part lesson structure, encompassing an engaging starter, clear learning objectives, development of a body
of knowledge, skills and understanding, and concluding with a plenary that consolidates the learning.
The three-part lesson, when delivered well, fulfils many of Hattie’s criteria for teaching through ‘direct
instruction’. This has an effect size of d=0.74, and the details are explored in the active learning section of
Note that the three-part lesson has evolved into the multi-part, multi-plenary containing lesson that is rich
in assessment for learning. (Ian Gilbert, in his great Lazy Teacher’s Handbook, jokes about North Carolina’s
‘Six-Part lesson structure’, but it really does exist.)
Hattie has written much on expert teachers. In summary, expert teachers are proficient in providing:
“Deliberate interventions to ensure that there is cognitive change in the student. Key ingredients are
awareness of the learning intentions, knowing when a student is successful in attaining those intentions,
having sufficient understanding of the student’s understanding as he or she comes to the task, and
knowing enough about the content to provide meaningful and challenging experiences in some sort of
Petty (2009 pp. 311-314) summarises Hattie’s work on expert teaching, stating that 80% of the difference
between expert teachers and experienced teachers could be explained through rich use of:
Providing challenging goals
High quality feedback (to students and from students)
Deep understanding of their subject and the teaching process
Hattie’s research also demonstrates that expert teachers have excellent relationships with their students,
showing high levels of respect. Their classrooms were run with a ‘blame free’ culture, and expert teachers
saw individuals rather than classes.
Expert teachers saw the work that students produced as a reflection of their teaching rather than as
illustrations of students abilities or characteristics.
Of great importance to the future of education standards in the UK is the simple fact that Hatties’ principles
that identify ‘expert teachers’ are overt. They are clearly defined and can be developed in all teachers.
Hattie and Marzano’s sets of meta-analyses provide a clear focus on aspects of educational policy and
practice at many levels- sector, school, classroom, teacher, student. If we listen explore them and extract
evidenced solutions from the wealth of research then education really can emulate medicine- it can be
based on evidence of effectiveness rather than tradition, anecdote or political whim.
Use the word pedagogy in conversation?
If so, click here
So... examine the evidence
So... adopt evidence-based methods
So... enhance learning