One of the Crain's bills.
Research is powerful. It can chime with your intuition, or shatter preconceptions.
failed to spot a gorilla enter the game.
On Monday 13th January, Professor Rob Coe gave a speech at an event
co-hosted by the Teacher Development Trust on .
It was utterly shattering in its implications for school leaders.
It turns out we are all complicit in
Ben Goldacre in demolished brain gym as a widely but uncritically adopted fad,
an unscientific and useless intervention. Tom Bennett in and Dan Willingham
have demolished others such as VAK learning styles as pervasive but unevidenced.
At ResearchEd 2013, Tom asked, what is this year’s brain gym? What are we falling for right now?
Professor Coe’s suggests it is graded observations. I agree.
It is not – two different observers who see the same lesson are unlikely to agree.
Nor is it – even if they agree that what they see is good practice, it often isn’t.
Here are Professor Coe’s killer stats:
But that’s in the robust, $50 million MET project;
most schools observations are not as robust (Strong et al, 2011)
Prof Coe is rightly scathing: ‘tossing a coin would have been better’;
‘you might as well decide you don’t like someone’ as give them unsatisfactory.
The effect sizes of observation as an intervention are also very low: 0.22 and 0.11.
As John Hattie says, setting the bar at zero is absurd; most interventions have some effect,
so his threshold for effectiveness is 0.4, which graded observations do not meet.
The evidence shows that grading lessons is not reliable, valid or useful.
But intuition and experience tells me that it is also and .
, as some of the pressure and pain they felt
after being downgraded. What if they had known the 90% probability that a second opinion
would have changed their rating?
, as David Didau shows here,
The focus on busy engagement in protocols over memorable instruction is problematic: i
t is precisely this distractor that Professor Coe says compromises validity.
Doctors take the Hippocratic oath: first, do no harm. So should school leaders.
But we are harming teachers’ professionalism by grading them out of 4, often in 20 minutes.
There’s no way a surgeon would be graded out of 4 for 20 minute observation of an operation.
We must stop grading lessons. Professor Coe says we should ‘stop doing what we’re doing’;
‘if you don’t want to use observations for grading, it may not matter that they’re not reliable.’
If we just use them formatively, teachers can focus on improving rather than being judged,
and school leaders can combine quantitative assessment data,
qualitative feedback from colleagues
and their own intuition to form nuanced judgements of teaching quality.
‘Sow the seed of the end of the judgemental approach to school leadership’ Alison Peacock said
at the , a primary head who eschews grading lessons
and instead uses lesson study for a culture of trust.
School leaders like and are trailblazing formative-only models.
It takes courage and willpower, but it can be – and is being – done.
In years to come, like BrainGym, we may well look back on grading as a travesty
and a historical curiosity. Now, though, this business of grading observations must end.
Let’s get the gorilla off our backs.
I can Turbo Charge Read a novel 6-7 times faster and remember what I’ve read.
I can TCR an instructional/academic book around 20 times faster and remember what I’ve read.
Introduction to Turbo Charged Reading YouTube
A practical overview of Turbo Charged Reading YouTube
How to choose a book. A Turbo Charged Reading YouTube
Emotions when Turbo Charged Reading YouTube
Advanced Reading Skills Perhaps you’d like to join my FaceBook group ?
Perhaps you’d like to check out my sister blogs:
www.innermindworking.blogspot.com gives many ways for you to work with the stresses of life
www.ourinnerminds.blogspot.com which takes advantage of the experience and expertise of others.
www.happyartaccidents.blogspot.com just for fun.
To quote the Dr Seuss himself, “The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn; the more places you'll go.”