John Hattie, an Australian professor and educational researcher delves into what factors influence student achievement. According to his research, structural issues, student attributes, deep programs (such as problem-based learning) and technology have very little impact on the success of how well students learn. Unfortunately, these factors generate the most attention from media, students, parents, and even teachers themselves. Hattie calls these the “politics of distraction”.
So what has effect in our student’s achievement? WE DO! The teacher’s expertise and the collaboration of their expertise with other teachers has the biggest positive impact on student success.
Hattie suggests that teacher’s need to promote a ladder of excellence whereby teachers can develop and expand their expertise. Yes, experience may be a factor, but it takes more than simply ‘years’ to become an “expert” teacher. Teachers should be encouraged (or required?) to have a professional development plan so that they are continually striving to better themselves as educators. For myself, the PIDP courses have been a great starting point for learning how to teach. I don’t know if I’d ever consider myself to be an expert though! The greatest impact of student achievement is to be a life-long learner. I guess it’s a testament to my teachers that I have a desire to learn and always increase the level of expertise I strive for.