Educational researcher John Hattie notes in both his 2015 book The Applicability of Visible Learning to Higher Education and his 2011 book Visible Learning for Teachers that student participation in classroom discussions, specifically ones focused on learning, have an effect size of 0.82 (Waack). Considering that Hattie identifies an effect size of .40 to be the ‘hinge point’—the point of average academic growth—with “anything above such an effect size [having] more of an impact than just a typical year of academic experience” and “an effect size of 1.0…[being] equivalent to advancing [a] student’s achievement level by approximately a full grade” (Wiggins)…well, 0.82 is notably significant. Combined with the knowledge that cooperative learning (vs. individualistic) has an effect size of 0.55-0.59 (Waack), and it becomes a no-brainer that as teachers we want to provide more opportunities for students to talk in our classrooms.
For this reason, I am always looking out for new, easy-to-implement, instructional dialogue strategies that can be applied in any classroom. Strategies that I can weave into my own instruction—strategies that I can share with you. So, this past week, when I was lucky enough to attend the ASCD Conference on Educational Leadership, I kept my eyes peeled. Even though the foci of the conference were instructional leadership, leveraging resources, and supporting staff and students—and not on instructional best practices—I lucked out. I experienced two new-to-me structures that assist students (and teachers) in peer-to-peer instructional conversations.
A | B Partner Pyramid
A twist on A | B Partners (details on that strategy can be found here), this strategy is great for engagement and getting all students talking about their learning. When I participated in this activity, instantly the energy shifted: suddenly everyone in the room was engaged and having fun while learning.
Suggestions & Modifications:
Perhaps what I love most about this strategy was its simplicity. If structured well, a generic version of this could be used for virtually every unit one teaches, so it takes very little prep time but still has a large effect size. Also, it gives introverts and internal processors a chance to think before sharing, helping to ensure an all-do-all structure.
Suggestions & Modifications:
If you would like to try either of these in your classroom, let me know: I would love to see your students in action. Likewise, if you would like to discuss Hattie’s work, please consider reaching out. Either way, I would love to help you help your students.
This post brought to you by Heather Lyke, Secondary Implementation Associate
Waack, Sebastian. “Hattie Ranking: 195 Influences and Effect Sizes Related to Student Achievement.” Visible Learning. 1 Nov. 2017.
Wiggins, Grant. “What Works in Education—Hattie’s List of the Greatest Effects and Why it Matters.” Granted, And… 7 Jan. 2012.
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