John Hattie and Robert Marzano – 8 Best Teaching Strategies
Strategy 1: A Clear Focus for the Lesson
Strategy 2: Offer Overt Instruction
Robert Marzano claims it is important to explicitly teach your students the things they need to learn. His review of research actually revealed it was the most important factor (teacher controlled) affecting students’ success. You need to tell them what they need to know and show them how to do things they must be able to do for themselves.
John Hattie did not review explicit teaching per se, but he did find that Direct Instruction was very effective. Instruction involves explicitly teaching a carefully sequenced curriculum, with built in cumulative practice.
Furthermore, Hattie highlighted the power of giving students worked examples when explaining how to multi-step tasks. Marzano also highlights the importance of giving examples and non-examples (similarities and differences) of the concept you are teaching. For example, when teaching prime numbers it would be useful to highlight 2 as an example, and 9, 15 and 21 as non-examples to avoid confusion with odd numbers.
Marzano also found that you can explicitly teach deeper levels of understanding by using graphic organizers you should use graphic organizers to show how different ideas were related to each other (e.g. steps, cause-effect, hierarchy, lists, comparisons, etc.).
Neither Hattie nor Marzano believes that great teaching is nothing more than standing out the front of the class and imparting knowledge. However, both agree that telling students what they need to know and showing students what they need to be able to do are essential aspects of teaching.
Strategy 3: Get the Students to Engage With the Content
Marzano and Hattie agree that this starts with students actively linking your newly provided information with their prior knowledge of the topic. Students need to engage with the content as soon as they hear it by:
Robert Marzano also found several ways for students to engage with the material in ways that help them deepen their understanding beyond surface knowledge. These include the use of graphic organizers that show how information is connected (e.g. steps, cause-effect, in comparison to, hierarchical classification). It also includes the use of analogies, such as:
Strategy 4: Give Feedback
It is important that you give your students feedback after they engage with any new material. This:
Robert Marzano highlighted that students need to be given feedback while there is still time to improve (i.e. before finishing a topic or assigning a formal assessment task). John Hattie agreed with this but went further, showing that novice or struggling students need immediate feedback, while more experienced students do better when they receive delayed feedback.
Strategy 5: Multiple Exposures
If you want students to internalize new information, you need to expose them to it several times.
When exploring how to enhance students’ vocabulary, Robert Marzano found that it was critical for teachers expose students to the same word multiple times. When each exposure was coupled with an explicit comment about the word and its meaning, students’ vocabulary acquisition doubled.
John Hattie picks up on the significance of multiple exposures by revealing the critical importance of techniques such as rehearsal and review. Put simply, rehearsal means going over material until you can remember it, while review involves going over things you have learnt previously.
He also stresses the merit of giving students time to practice doing the things they have learned to do. When spaced out over time, Hattie found that having students practice things led to a 26 percentile improvement in their marks.
On a more cautious note, Hattie warned that practice without feedback can be dangerous as it leads to students internalizing the wrong things.
Strategy 6: Have Students Apply Their Knowledge
Robert Marzano found that helping students apply their knowledge deepens their understanding.
Knowledge application is a deductive process whereby students apply general principles to specific case studies or problems. Marzano found that teaching students how to think deductively and giving them guided practice in doing so helps them generalize their learning beyond the particular topic or task at hand. Hattie confirmed that deductive processes (i.e. general principle applied to specific situation) is much more effective than inductive teaching (i.e. asking students to discover general principles from observing specific situations).
Knowledge application also involves problem-solving. Robert Marzano’s synthesis of research revealed that problem-solving had a large effect (d = 0.54) on students’ understanding. Marzano believes that problems should require students to apply previously learned knowledge and skills – and Hattie agrees. When problem-solving is used in this way, Hattie found a similar effect size (d = 0.61) to Marzano. However, when a problem is used to stimulate discovery learning, the opposite is true (d = 0.15). Hattie also emphasized the importance of teaching students how to solve problems, e.g. understand the problem → come up with a plan of action → implement the plan→ review the results.
Strategy 7: Get Students Working Together
Robert Marzano and John Hattie both agree that getting students to work with each other helps them to achieve better results. The use of cooperative learning groups adds value to whole-class instruction (d = 0.41) and to individual work (d = 0.59-0.78).
They also agree that inter-group competition can increase the effect of cooperative learning even more.
However, neither Marzano nor Hattie believes that cooperative learning should replace whole-class instruction or individual learning activities.
Strategy 8: Build Students’ Self-Efficacy
Self-efficacy refers to a student’s belief about their ability to successfully complete a task. It is situation specific. For example, a student may feel confident that they can dance well on stage but be insecure about public speaking.
Hattie & Marzano both found that students’ self-efficacy had a substantial impact on their subsequent achievement. Students who believed they would master fractions were more likely to do so, while students who saw themselves as poor readers were less likely to improve their reading.
Marzano’s review of research showed that you can build students’ self-efficacy through praise, and expressing your belief that they can do well. However, to be effective, such praise must:
As Carol Dweck noted, if you praise lavishly and liberally, you end up praising mediocrity, which in turn sends a message that you believe that is all you think they are capable of.
Hattie highlighted the fact that the link between self-efficacy and achievement is reciprocal. That is, achieving genuine success has as much impact on subsequent self-efficacy, as self-efficacy has on subsequent achievement.