One of Australia’s leaders in education is Professor John Hattie from the Melbourne University Graduate School of Education. John is also the Chair of AITSL, the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, one of the nation’s most powerful and influential bodies currently, due to the ongoing debates around the large amounts of school funding distributed to schools. Much of the debate is around school or student ‘performance’ in what makes a real difference in educating children for better outcomes. John’s early research examined over 40,000 students’ results and the findings examined what really does make a difference to getting a ‘better education’ with improved outcomes for children. Last week he stated that schools’ aims should be focussed on what will help students exceed beyond their expectations, not just making use of their talent, or ‘being the best you can be’, etc. John’s point is that young people are incredibly able, and they can achieve great things if they have the desire and the motivation. Hattie had five key points that make a difference for children’s learning in a class, and most of this revolves around the Teacher and their approach to each child. His points were: 1. Respect each child; 2. Trust the children as thinking and responsible people, who can achieve, if motivated; 3. Optimise the environment to facilitate learning and thinking opportunities; 4. Have Intentionality in lessons, meaning that each lesson is planned deliberately to maximise impact and learning (routine, mundane lessons are out); and teach with emotional support for each child. Detailed feedback for a child from the Teacher is crucial to these points above.

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