Valuing progress before success in order to learn to learn, and to learn for pleasure

“I would like every school to be an inviting place where students come to learn,” says researcher John Hattie. If this statement seems to go without saying for anyone who works in education, he develops it by pointing out certain things which could be considered differently. Let's take a closer look!

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with the collaboration of Audrey Miller and Stéphanie Dionne.

"I would like each school to be an inviting place where students come to learn", wishes John hattie. If this statement seems to go without saying for anyone who works in education, the researcher develops it by pointing out certain things which could be considered differently. 

On February 25, 2021, Mr. John Hattie, live from New Zealand, gave an engaging virtual conference attended by over 400 people. The event was organized by the Association québécoise du personnel de direction des écoles (AQPDE). The Minister of Education of Quebec, Mr. Jean-François Roberge, was also present for the occasion. 

For more than two decades, this researcher has devoted his work to the analysis of scientific research and studies on teaching and learning from all over the planet. It is notably known for measuring the effect size of various factors associated with more effective teaching, with the aim of informing decision-making as to the changes to be considered as a priority, those which are deemed to have the best impact on success, regardless of the specific characteristics of the environment

Our team attended this conference and offers you its report. Find part 1 here

“I would like every school to be an inviting place where students come to learn. "
@john_hattie

If this statement seems to go without saying for anyone who works in education, the researcher John Hattie develops it by pointing out some things which could be considered differently. 

For example, a benevolent classroom climate, where the pupil feels in full confidence to make mistakes in order to learn, is a solid foundation for John Hattie, who however recalls that it is much more difficult to establish than it is. 'air. When you really succeed, a feeling of psychological security sets in, which allows you to take risks, name your mistakes and move on to the next step without fear of failure. 

For him, the teacher should be able to perceive his own teaching through the eyes of a student, and encourage students to see themselves as their own teacher, to trust themselves and to develop their ability to teach. certain concepts to other students. This observation is not trivial and moves away, he specifies all the same, from a purely constructivist conception. The proof for him: since the start of the pandemic and the establishment of the distance school, we have observed more success among students who are able to be their own teacher, to self-regulate. 

And learning should especially not be reduced to an accumulation of knowledge. Too many students still think that success comes when you know "a lot". This should include knowledge, of course, but the pupil must above all be able to make connections between what he is learning and what he already knows. “For knowledge, there is Google today. We must now know how to go further ”.

Although he did not comment at length on issues related to digital, he nonetheless put forward this interesting parallel, which we should think about more at length according to him:

“In class, it's about knowing all, looking good in front of peers and teachers. On social media, it's about what we don't know or understand. "
@john_hattie

Value progress before success?

In the world of education, everything converges on success. Parents look for the school where young people have the best grades, statistics show success, politicians want to increase success. Yet John Hattie wonders: "Shouldn't we be focusing on the importance of progress instead?" It is not because we succeed that we progress, and it is not because we do not succeed that we cannot progress ”. 

Too often, school is seen as rewarding for those “who already know”, those students who systematically raise their hands when the teacher asks a question. But, in the end, it's better not to know, since school is made for learning, he recalls, adding that this message should be sent directly to students. However, he stresses the importance for the teacher to have high expectations for the whole class. But for him, high expectations don't just equate to success. 

Indeed, he deplores the fact that young people who are successful too often find themselves "surfing" on their achievements; they no longer progress and lose their motivation. On the other hand, students who have more difficulty focus on the fact that they "don't succeed", they don't see the progress they are making. This is why we must keep traces of progress in order to be able to underline them.

Young people who are successful too often find themselves "surfing" on what they have learned, they no longer make progress and lose their motivation. On the other hand, students who have more difficulty focus on the fact that they "don't succeed", they don't see the progress they are making. 

The pandemic will probably have an impact on this aspect since it has forced the school community to do otherwise and to focus on the progress of students. Even parents who accompany their children home have been able to perceive this aspect better. Professor Hattie hopes that this will be a gain for the school world, even after the pandemic.

In a future article, we conclude the report of this particularly rich conference by addressing the importance of feedback, commitment and collaboration. To be continued! 

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About the Author

Martine Rioux
Martine Rioux
After studying public communication, Martine worked as a journalist for various publications, before pursuing her career as an interactive communications consultant at La Capitale, a financial group, then at Québec Numérique, an organization she took over as general manager before making the jump. as political advisor in the office of the Minister for Digital Government Transformation. Today she is the online Editor-in-Chief and Special Projects Manager at l'École branchée. Her dream: that everyone has access to technology and can use it as a tool for learning and opening up to the world.

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