Feedback is one of the most powerful influences on learning and achievement – if you get it right. In the new book “Visible Learning Feedback” John Hattie and Shirley Clarke dive deeper into this core message of the Visible Learning research and switch the conversation from the giver to the receiver of the feedback message. It seems the art of teaching is the ability to listen more and talk less.
“The key question is, does feedback help someone understand what they don’t know, what they do know, and where they go? That’s when and why feedback is so powerful, but a lot of feedback doesn’t—and doesn’t have any effect.”, Hattie said in a recent interview with Edweek. “I used to think giving more feedback and better feedback was the answer [to improving education], and it’s the exact opposite: How do teachers and students receive feedback? How do they interpret it?”
In “Visible Learning: Feedback” Hattie and Clarke approach the theory and practice of feedback and aim to resolve the paradox of the power of feedback vs. the variability of feedback. They discuss the importance of surface, deep and transfer learning; they show how to make use of student-to-teacher feedback and peer-to-peer feedback; and they point out the power of within-lesson feedback and manageable post-lesson feedback. If you are interested in getting feedback right, this book is an excellent starting point.
Visible Learning: Feedback by John Hattie and Shirley Clarke. Published by Routledge in August, 2018. 176 pages. You can order the book on Amazon or find it in a library.
Visible Learning Feedback – Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: What is Feedback?
- Chapter 2: A feedback culture
- Chapter 3: Teaching and learning frameworks
- Chapter 4: The power of within – lesson verbal feedback
- Chapter 5: Post – lesson feedback
- Summary Graphics
ISBN 978-1-13-859989-5 (Paperback). ISBN 978-1-13-859988-8 (Hardcover).
“Good learning is about moving forward”
Watch this short video in which Shirley Clarke explains the concept of feedback, success criteria and formative assessment. The main ideas can also be seen in action with 5 and 10 year-old children in the classroom.
Feedback, in reality, is based on a Socratic approach. Imagine observing a learner doing something. Ask them simple questions, such as, ‘What did you do well?” This reinforces the elements that were successful, and the learner is saying it. Now raise successes that the learner did not mention “What I saw you do well was.” This goes outside of the subject/skill boundaries and can go into the emotional control, the structure of the thinking observed. You are reinforcing the learning. Then move the learner forward. “What could you do differently to improve.” Interestingly in practice, the learner in assessing his or her own behaviour, knowledge, learns.
If there is an obvious area of improvement then you might say, “What you could do differently to improve is…..” But we rarely move into this fourth quadrant. We kind of feel it is the classical ‘biblical teaching method and presentation approach’ of we are clever so listen to us. Learning for us is helping people to think and work things out. To do that you really do have to be a subject matter expert.