Intuition Taster: Book review - 10 mindframes for visible learning

Sally Reeve, Teaching and Learning Manager at Lincoln College Group, reviews 10 Mindframes for Visible Learning. Teaching for Success, by John Hattie and Klaus Zierer (Routledge: paperback, 168 pages).

This book makes the large-scale meta-analysis research previously undertaken by Hattie (and explained in detail in his book, Visible Learning) accessible to practitioners of all experience levels and curriculum areas.

As the title implies, the book identifies 10 mindsets that teachers should have, or adopt,

that lead to successful learning through the implementation of effective and impactful teaching.

It is unlikely that the 10 mind frames identified will come as a surprise to most great teachers who are already focused on learners. However, the underlying aim of the book is to initiate self-reflection and practitioner collaboration. It links back to Hattie’s maxim of “know thy impact”.

This relatively compact book of 168 pages covers a massive range of topics pertinent to the education and training sector. These include assessment, feedback, progress, behaviour, relationships and learning dialogue. As a result, some topics are dealt with more briefly than others. However all sections do have ample information to inform your practice, self-reflection and collaboration.

Each section is organised in a consistent way starting with a short self-assessment questionnaire. The questionnaire is then referred to in the chapter plenary so that changes in perspectives, as a result of engaging with the chapter, are ‘visible’ to the reader. I found these questions repetitive, predictable and lacking in challenge. But there is a plethora of questions in the text that are more thought-provoking and initiate more professional discussions than the self-assessment questions.

The chapters offer various practical strategies for use in teaching sessions. And, although many of the strategies suggested are already familiar in many classrooms – for example, jigsaw activities, group puzzles etc. – reflecting on them in light of the research and information presented in each section provides a new perspective and an understanding of why they work, and why they have an impact.

For most experienced teachers, this book will not bring any great moments of enlightenment. But it will provide evidence-based confirmation that what we know does matter, and does have an impact on our learners. So it should be in every staff room, communal teaching area and on the reading lists for trainee teachers.

One final thought. Throughout the book teachers are encouraged to collaborate, reflect and plan lessons together. However, I wonder how many teachers can overcome the challenges they face in reality to make this happen. So this book also needs to be read by those in management who can influence these factors.