Expert Teachers vs.
What's the Difference?
In John Hattie’s 2012 book, Visible Learning for Teachers, he makes the statement that Expert Teachers are different from Experienced Teachers – and he backs it up with some research. Let’s take a look at the differences and then point out ways to develop more expertise.
Inspired & Passionate Teaching
Hattie and colleagues put these two categories of teachers within the framework of inspired and passionate teaching. In fact, in building this culture of instructional excellence, Hattie says that all adults in the school should recognize: 1) that teachers are different in their impact; 2) that all are working toward having a positive effect on all students; and 3) all are vigilant about expert ways to develop student achievement. He makes the further point that if a school has passionate and inspired teachers then that should be their major promotional value. Thus, he shows that developing more Expert Teachers, not just Experienced Teachers, is fundamental to this school-wide goal.
1. “Expert teachers can identify the most important ways in which to represent the subject they teach.”
Hattie found that Expert and Experienced Teachers presented the same amount of content, but the Expert Teachers have a more integrated approach in organizing and using the content knowledge. This deeper understanding allows them to apply more strategies, predict student errors, and adapt to student responses in a more effective way.
2. “Expert teachers are proficient at creating an optimal classroom climate for learning.”
The key value in this type of classroom is trust, according to Hattie. This means that it’s okay for students to make errors because that’s the essence of learning. Students have to try out new concepts and adapt their thinking. They can’t be fearful of being belittled by their peers. Essentially, this kind of classroom emphasizes that learning is cool and everyone is involved in the process.
3. “Expert teachers monitor learning and provide feedback.”
These teachers are more able to “think on their feet.” By consistently monitoring the effect they are having on the students, they can be more flexible and improvisational with their lessons.
4. “Expert teachers believe that all students can reach the success criteria.”
Too often, teachers blame the home environment or other conditions for the students’ inability to learn. But the expert teacher, according to Hattie, believes all students can succeed. These teachers are involved with and respectful of their students. They feel responsible that their students learn, and this passion is apparent to their students.
5. “Expert teachers influence surface and deep student outcomes.”
Hattie says, “The fundamental quality of an expert teacher is the ability to have a positive influence on student outcomes.” Expert teachers expect their students to learn in many ways, to have respect for others, and to develop into active citizens. To do this, these teachers set challenging goals and engage students in reaching for these goals.
So what’s the
Hattie found that Expert Teachers offered the students more challenge and had a deeper grasp of the content. The surface-level achievement outcomes were about the same between Expert and Experienced Teachers, but the major difference was in the deeper understanding. He found that 74% of work samples in classrooms of expert teachers showed a deeper understanding, whereas only 29% did in Experienced Teacher classrooms. Students taught by Expert teachers had a better understanding of concepts and were able to think more coherently and abstractly.
Hattie also itemized some things that inspired Expert teachers do NOT do.
- They do not punish with grades
- They do not mix up behavior with academic progress.
- They do not value compliance to assignments.
- They do not have low expectations.
- They do not evaluate their impact by how much content is covered.
- They do not prefer homework success over risk-taking on an assignment.
Hattie’s conclusion is that “the ultimate requirement is for teachers to develop the skill of evaluating the effect that they have on their students.”
How to Develop More
Expertise as a Teacher
Dataworks’ Explicit Direct Instruction (EDI) approach to teaching offers teachers at least four ways to boost their expertise along the lines Hattie mentions.
1. Metacognitive Teaching.
Because EDI designs lessons around the seven components of effective teaching, teachers are able to know “why” they are teaching each part of the lesson. They know to start with an Objective, connect to prior knowledge with APK, bring out the Concept with bulletproof definitions and examples, use the Rule of Two for Skill Development and Guided Practice, explain the relevance of the lesson, and provide a closure before attempting independent practice or homework. This provides the deeper understanding that will influence the student to dig deeper.
EDI relies on eight engagement norms to create an interactive classroom experience. This sets consistent expectations for students to use the content and the academic language many times a day. It also gives teachers insight into students’ needs.
3. Checking for Understanding.
EDI uses the TAPPLE method of checking for understanding. This gives the teacher immediate feedback on whether students are learning or not. It helps the teacher monitor the learning in real-time and adjust the lesson as needed to better meet the needs of the students. Usually, higher-order questions are used for CFUs, and this enables the student to engage at a deeper, more abstract level.
4. Effective Feedback.
EDI offers 7 ways to give students feedback for incorrect answers. This ranges from cueing and prompting to de-escalation to explaining your thinking to pair-sharing. This in-class interaction with the content is critical for monitoring the effectiveness of teaching and expecting all students to progress. Another technique is calling on random students. This ensures that every student is considering the answer to the question; students are expected to engage with the academic content.
Developing a culture of instructional excellence in your school relies on developing inspired, passionate teachers who have become experts. EDI is a proven approach to achieving that goal.
To set your expectations for this level of expertise, contact Joel at firstname.lastname@example.org and inquire about Professional Development.