In their book 10 Mindframes for Visible Learning, John Hattie and Klaus Zierer provide a list of mindframes for educators that provide teacher clarity. Teacher clarity is all about narrowing and focusing your activities. It happens when teachers cut away the aspects of instruction that don’t really help their students learn and instead identify the critical instructional parts: learning intentions, success criteria, and learning progressions.
Here are 5 mindframes for teacher clarity:
1. You’re an evaluator of your impact on student learning.
We all know there’s more to teaching than just making sure your students pass their next text. Teachers who constantly evaluate their own impact on their students’ learning are more likely to have students who succeed. A crucial part of teacher clarity is continuing to evaluate how our actions positively or negatively affect our students.
2. You engage in dialogue as much as monologue.
Great teachers don’t just monologue. We all know that sometimes you just have to get the days’ lesson to your students, however teacher clarity is all about explaining and identifying. When we communicate with our students rather than at our students we better understand what they’re learning, not learning, engaged with, and not engaged with.
3. You believe all students can improve.
As educators it’s important that we truly act as change agents for the students in our classrooms. Teacher clarity involves having a mindset that says all students can improve. It involves actively working with all of your students to ensure their success.
4. You explicitly inform students what successful impact looks like from the outset.
Teacher clarity involves a lot of things, but primarily it centers on clear learning intentions and success criteria. It’s important that we explicitly let our students know how they can be successful. This means identifying what they should know by the end of the lesson, and how they can specifically show that they know this crucial information.
5. You build trusting relationships where your students are free to make mistakes.
We all make mistakes, but often we act as if our students shouldn’t make mistakes. Mistakes are part of the learning process though! We learn best through trial and error from getting something wrong and then having someone explain why it isn’t accurate and help with next steps. When we build trusting relationships we support our students when they mess up and encourage them to try again. They understand that nobody will judge them and that their mistakes are a healthy part of the learning process!