David Hopkins and Powerful Learning

Professor David Hopkins was hosted by ACEL for a one day workshop in Auckland that I was fortunate enough to attend. David has had a range of educational experience as both a researcher, civil servant involved in policy and as a practitioner. It is this combination of experiences and the work he has done as in the English educational system with the Blair government that makes him an authoritative voice on education.

Key learnings from the Workshop:

Session 1 – School and System Reform

Under pinning all efforts in education is a moral purpose. Every student can reach their potential (Equity)

Under the right conditions, every student can achieve. Those conditions include having the task the student is presented with being in their Zone of Proximal Development:

School development happens in Phases. Each phase needs different ‘ingredients’ and management styles. Successful strategies include:

  • Bottom up target setting
  • Inside out change

Session 2 – Teaching and Learning

Use instructional rounds (see a description by Robert Marzano) to deprivatise the classroom. Use these to identify ‘theories of action’. Over many of these instructional rounds, Hopkins identified 10 common ones:

Theories of action for the whole school
1. Prioritising high expectations and authentic relationships
2. Emphasising enquiry focused teaching
3. Adopting consistent teaching protocols
4. Adopting consistent learning protocols
Theories of action for the teacher
5. Harnessing learning intentions, narrative and pace
6. Setting challenging learning tasks
7. Framing higher order questions
8. Connecting feedback to data
9. Committing to assessment for learning
10. Implementing co-operative groups

What good teachers do – assign students appropriate and engaging learnings tasks within their ZPD (in an average class this may be 4 different tasks.

Think like a doctor – diagnose the problem, apply a suitable treatment.

Improving outcomes for students is linked with shifting teachers to increase their ‘circle of competence’. The driver is intrinsic motivation which is made up (according to Dan Pink) of autonomy, mastery and purpose.

Five conditions for building intrinsic motivation among teachers

  1. Maintain structures for scaffolding teacher development
  2. Make peer coaching ubiquitous
  3. Create protocols for both teacher and learning
  4. Incentivise teacher teams
  5. Ensure classroom observation focuses on learning

Peer coaching:

  • In triads rotating around turns at doing the observations
  • Theory-> Demonstrate->Practice->Feedback->Coaching
  • Example of Pat Cash coaching Shane Warne:

Session 3 – Leadership

The playbook for success:

  • get early wins
  • decide on non-negotiables (related to the moral purpose) and secure resources
  • install capable and like minded people
  • deeply engage with stakeholders

The narrative + a credible plan + moral purpose = action

Strategic acumen: the actions you take tomorrow as a leader contribute to where you want to be next year

Leadership style – varies with what stage the organisation is at.

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