This week I’ve been working on a project exploring the potential impact of giving teachers verbatim transcripts of their lessons as a tool for professional development. We kicked off the project today with our first cohort of teachers, and as part of the training John Hattie talked to us about the lessons from his ‘Visible Learning’ work.
I’ve written about a key message of his work before on this blog and in my book, but today he said something else that really struck me; we talk so often about how effective teaching is, but so rarely about efficiency.
It really hit me when I did a demo lesson to show teachers the live transcription technology. Looking back over transcripts or watching videos of lessons I have done before I’ve been struck that I tend to ask key questions, or make key points and then over explain them in an attempt to drive the point home. Many times when I was teaching in school and at university I would set the class off on a task only to have to stop them very soon to re-explain and re-focus them on my instructions.
Today, with the live subtitles of what I was saying appearing behind me, I found myself consciously trying to quash the urge to ramble on in order to leave those key questions as the points that lingered on the projected screen behind me as the group began their task.
The concept of teaching ‘efficiently’ on the face of can sound dry, but there is clarity in focus and opportunity in the space that can be freed from both the over explanation itself and the moments of confusion it results in.
Perhaps a focus on teaching efficiently is much more exciting than it first seems.