There are two ways to improve your teaching:
- You can self-assess to find your areas of strength and weakness and work on these
- You can work on the main factors that make the biggest difference to student learning (the focus of this website). Research shows that these are:
Active Learning: set students challenging activities so they apply, and check their learning
Feedback: learners need information on what they do well, and how to improve, then they need to act on this. Teachers can give feedback, but students can too, with self- assessment and peer assessment. The best feedback (or formative assessment) uses student’s work to diagnose strengths and weaknesses, and to set individual targets for improvement.
How do we know that active learning and feedback have the greatest effect on student achievement? Professor John Hattie has synthesized over half a million of the most effective research studies on teaching methods, and the other variables that affect achievement. This is the biggest and most authoritative review of classroom-based educational research ever undertaken. He concludes that the factors that make students learn best are student activity towards a challenging goal, and informative feedback on this activity.
Geoff’s new book Evidence Based Teaching summarizes research reviews, and gives practical details on which teaching methods work best and how to use them. Experiments show that some active learning methods improve students’ attainment by more than two grades. Join the evidence-based revolution, and experiment with the most powerful methods!
You can’t improve your teaching without changing it. So why not do a Supported Experiment or Action Research Project? This involves deliberately experimenting with a teaching strategy that is new to you. There are a number of proposals on the Supported Experiments page of this site. They explain both theory and practice.
Download What is learning anyway
Geoff is interviewed here by Mike Bryant of Murdoch University