I hope you are enjoying the burst of beautiful sunshine we are having at the moment; autumn in the Adelaide Hills is truly magnificent.
As usual we have hit the ground running this term. I am back in the role as Acting Principal and will be here until later in the term. It is a real pleasure to be back at your lovely school, and although it has been action packed, I am enjoying it. I had the pleasure of attending the Governing Council meeting Wednesday night and was very impressed with the collaborative and enthusiastic way the Governing Council works.
At GC we discussed Visible Learning, which is the professional development program that Crafers has elected to be a part of for the next three years (along with nine other schools within our local partnership).
Visible Learning is a framework that is based on the work of John Hattie, an educational researcher, who has spent the last 15 years researching what actually works in schools to improve learning.
Hattie has also used the findings of Carol Dweck (Fixed and Growth mindsets) and Dylan Wiliam (Assessment for Learning) to be the key drivers for Visible Learning. The basic unit of Hattie’s analysis is 900+ meta-analyses involving a specific outcome (i.e. achievement) and identifying an influence on that outcome (e.g. homework). In general there are two major types of effect size: comparisons between groups (such as comparing those who did get homework with those that didn’t) or comparisons over time.
What I really like about Hattie’s work is that it allows for opportunities to investigate our practice as teachers and as a school. The data we gather will highlight areas in which the school can develop and will give us evidence to assess programs that perhaps may require high levels of resourcing but have a low effect size. For example, homework has an effect size of 0.29, therefore the effect of homework is small. This is not a big issue in regards to resourcing as the cost is negligible. However, it can be viewed as an invitation to look at the way we do homework, to try something different. This doesn’t mean we throw homework out the window, but it opens up discussion about what impact homework has on student learning and how we can approach it differently so the impact size increases. We are very excited about embarking on this Visible Learning journey and you will be hearing more about Visible Learning as the year goes by.
At GC Wednesday night two Student Free Days were endorsed: Monday 3/7/17 (Week 10) and the first Monday back after the holidays, 24/7/17 (Term 3, Week 1). Please contact OSHC if you need child care for those days.