Margin Notes

The Talking-Writing Connection


A few weeks ago we hosted a supper meeting for a group of teachers who had been provided with a copy of Teaching Literacy in the Visible Learning Classroom. The premise of the book is that, “Every student deserves a great teacher, not by chance, but by design” and that we (teachers) need to know the effect of what we are doing in our classrooms in regards to student achievement. For example, the effect size for class size is 0.21 and the effect size for metacognitive strategies is 0.69. Hattie states that teachers should consider classroom work with an effect size of 0.40 and above when designing learning for students. Teaching is hard work. And if the hard work isn’t leading to an increase in student achievement, then we need to ask ourselves why we are doing it.

During our meeting, one point of discussion was the link between talk and writing. As explained by Hattie et al, as students improve their ability to have effective academic talk with their peers, their writing becomes more sophisticated. The researchers write, “After all, if students don’t get to verbally explain, pose questions, and narrate routinely, it’s going to be much more difficult for them to do so in writing.” The effect size of (more…)