What Informs Our Practice

Recently I made the following video in which I attempted to conflate the Four Right Drivers from the book Coherence, concepts from the book Leading Impact Teams (i.e. how to build teacher collective efficacy), and Visible Learning strategies during the Action part of the EAA model (Evidence, Analysis, Action). Here it is:

At the end of the video, I concluded that the Action portion of EAA is where teachers should determine which Visible Learning strategies must be deployed. I was corrected today by a very knowledgeable author who told me the following:

“We shouldn’t be figuring out which Visible Learning strategies to use when discussing next steps. What we should do is determine what we want to hear and see our students doing.”

This is so true, and I stand corrected. The right question to ask as we work collaboratively in the Action portion of EAA is: What do we want student learning to look and sound like? Once we determine this, we can backward map, determine success criteria (i.e. clarity), and provide constructive feedback. In addition, student learning will become visible, which helps us formatively assess as the students self-report on their own learning.

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Collective efficacy

Steph Curry shoots three-pointers like no one else. His consistency and excitement cultivate confidence within himself and his team. This confidence, or efficacy, helps both Curry and the Golden State Warriors stay motivated and resilient.

Collective efficacy is born as a result of experiencing success as a team, which positively influences the team’s belief that there will be more success in the future. We see this in sports all the time, as well as other organizations.

As I stated before, just as Curry has forced basketball players to think more strategically about how they can effectively make points and work as a team, John Hattie is helping educators rethink how to be more effective in the classroom. According to his research, collective teacher efficacy has an effect size of 1.57, which is quadruple the .40 necessary for one school year’s worth of growth.

As stated in Leading Impact Teams, collective teacher efficacy is when teachers work together to build the confidence that they can get all students to advance in learning. These teachers truly believe that collectively they have the capacity to promote successful student outcomes within their school. Like Curry, they have confidence because they’re using proven strategies that give them the biggest bang for their buck. Good results beget good results, which builds not only the professional capacity of the team, but also their collective efficacy (i.e. their belief they can promote student achievement).

I really enjoy drawing a parallel between the effectiveness of Steph Curry’s basketball strategy and the educational strategy of focusing on good teaching strategies and collaboration so collective teacher efficacy is fostered. Just as shooting threes instead of dunking the ball is an efficient tweak for scoring more points without changing the structure of the game (the game wasn’t made longer, they didn’t have to make a four-point shot, etc.), educators can make choices that allow them to truly work smarter, not harder, and help students achieve greater heights without large-scale and expensive educational reform.