What Does It Mean To Be A Successful Teacher?

What really makes a difference?

Professor John Hattie gave the keynote address at Education Week’s 2018 Leaders to Learn From event held on April 12.

He said we have to stop asking what works but focus on what works best.

He emphasised the importance of identifying and fostering expertise among educators.

We have incredible expertise out there that we don’t use, sometimes because the hierarchy of our school is so dependent on experience and not on expertise.

Hattie says,

It’s not about the kids, it’s not about the structure, it’s not about the curriculum…it’s about the expertise.

Hattie said that among the top factors that improve student achievement, most are related to teacher and school leader expertise:

  1. Teachers and students, working together, as evaluators of impact = .90
  2. All having high expectations = .90
  3. All moving towards explicit success criteria = .77
  4. Using the Goldliocks principles of challenge = .74
  5. Errors and trust are welcomed as opportunities to learn = .72
  6. Maximise feedback to teachers about their impact = .72
  7. A focus on learning: The right proportions of surface to deep = .69

Hattie argues that it is the constant little improvements that make the difference for teachers and this is achieved through constant self-evaluations.

The bottom-line for Hattie is this:

teachers should view learning through their students’ eyes while helping students see themselves as their own teachers.

He talks about having ‘10 Mindframes‘ for visible learning and teaching for success involves saying to yourself:


1. I am an evaluator of my impact

2. I see assessment as feedback to me

3. I collaborate re. my conceptions of progress and my impact

Change and challenge 

4. I am a change agent

5. I strive for challenge

Learning Focus

6. I give and help students understand feedback

7. I engage as much in dialogue as in monologue

8. I explicitly inform students what successful impact looks like

9. I build relationships and trust

10. I focus on the language of learning


For his superb keynote lecture then go to Education Week’s page here.

Hattie also participated in a Facebook Live interview with Commentary Editor Elizabeth Rich.

Take a what Hattie had to say in the following video:

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: