Visible Learning and the Science of How we Learn. Hattie & Yates

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A huge collection of research!

In 2009 John Hattie published a book called Visible Learning, which is a huge collection of research about how to improve children’s learning. It talks about what really works in schools and has become a ‘bible’ for educationalists all over the world. Visible Learning and the Science of How We Learn is a follow on from this.

Visible learning

Hattie got together with cognitive psychologist, Gregory Yates, and compiled a book that tells us about how we learn and how we should be teaching in our schools.

This is where you will find all the latest ideas, information, and research. Hattie and Yates are not at all sentimental and if they think a method or idea does not work, or is not all it’s cracked up to be, then they reject it. No matter how popular it is or how much teachers depend on it!

They show us how teachers can be most helpful to their students, and show learners the best way they can help themselves to learn.

It is organized in a very accessible way with 31 short chapters, which are accounts of research, but because it does not have jargon, references, or citations in the text, its style is perfect for laymen. Each chapter ends with a useful summary and a list of the research it referrers to.

The first chapter really does set the tone of the whole book. It asks the question, ‘Why don’t students like learning at school?’ and tells us that it’s because our mind ‘is not designed for thinking.’ It challenges all sorts of ideas and concepts like multitasking for example, and I’m sure the answers it presents will displease some of you tremendously, but rest assured that they are all based on current research!

Excellent for staff training

If you are looking for a book for staff training, then this is excellent because the chapters are short and succinct, and so perfect for a busy staff. Teacher will really appreciate this, as finding time to catch up with this kind of reading when you have a busy schedule is very difficult and so it very often gets neglected.

There are questions at the end of chapters too that are designed to encourage thought and a lot of debate. These help SENCOs and in-service training organizers, who of course are busy people too!

In conclusion:

Hattie and Yates have written a very engaging book that held my interest entirely.

Hettie speaks about relevant and current issues and is full of surprising and often annoying conclusions. I did not enjoy reading that children don’t learn at school! But I was very pleased to hear that multi-tasking is a myth and no your child cannot do their homework while watching the TV!

It explains why learning can be so easy one minute and so very difficult another. Fascinating stuff and a must for teachers, parents, and students alike.

If you have time do watch the video below. John Hettie is very engaging and is explaining how we should teach in schools and why it is so important that we change our methods.



Active learning is what we should be doing. Quit the talking!

Who am I?

I am a special needs teacher with a specialism in dyslexia. I have taught in London for many years. I started teaching drama but soon became interested in children who were struggling to learn and so I retrained in special needs.

Here’s an article I have written called ‘How to Help your Dyslexic child with Self-Esteem, Homework, and Dealing with School’

Are you are school teacher, parent or student? Please leave a comment. Thanks very much indeed for your visit.


Giovanna Sanguinetti has been a teacher for many years and loves teaching dyslexic children. She is a qualified and experienced teacher of drama and theatre arts too. Her big love is theatre directing. She lives in London and is currently embarking on a very exciting project home educating her son through his exams years of school. While she does this she will continue writing online about education. Giovanna also loves adventure travel and is passionate about responsible and sustainable travel. She enjoys writing about this and has her own brand-new website. She is also the Travel Feature Editor on Tastes Magazine.

Author: Jackie Jackson

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