Black Gold School Division


  • Making Learning Visible at Black Gold

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    Visible Learning, a groundbreaking framework pioneered by renowned education researcher Professor John Hattie, is helping Black Gold teachers teach better and students learn better, so that students are actively engaged in their own learning and teachers are continuously working to improve their efficacy.

    Professor Hattie’s work is based on the culmination of over 25 years of research involving millions of students worldwide and in-depth analysis of thousands of studies to identify which teaching approaches have proven to be most effective in improving student learning.

    Hattie’s research shows that when teachers make the learning intention, or goal, easy to understand at the outset, the more likely students are to engage in the work needed to meet that goal. Similarly, when students clearly understand what success means, the better they are able to see the specific actions needed to achieve success. Lastly, the more students receive real-time feedback about progress from prior to desired outcomes, the better they are at developing positive attributes to learning.

    “As a school board, we believe that every student should experience at least one year’s growth over the course of a school year,” said Board Chair Esther Eckert. “Visible Learning can help us achieve this goal by showing our teachers how to shift the focus from what they are teaching to what students are learning in order to better assess the impact on student achievement.”

    Robina Baker Elementary School Principal Jared Coffin gives a presentation on Visible Learning to BGSD Board Vice Chair Angie Charpentier (right) and Associate Superintendent Chelsey Volkman.

    Instead of just telling students what to know, the Visible Learning approach encourages teachers to help students understand what they’re learning and why it matters. “We want our students to ask themselves: What am I learning? Why am I learning this? And how will I know that I have learned it?” said Jared Coffin, principal at Robina Baker Elementary School. “Our teachers will be there every step of the way, giving students clear feedback on progress so that they can keep improving.”

    “Recently, we surveyed our students and staff to find out what good learning looks like to them,” said Janine Woronuk, assistant principal at École Champs Vallée School (ÉCVS). “As expected, we received a wide range of responses, but most were very encouraging.”

    As all schools within the Black Gold School Division embark on their Visible Learning journeys, leaders agree that prioritizing its proven practices can enhance student engagement and motivation. “By continuously assessing the impact of their teaching practices on student learning, teachers can make informed adjustments and improvements to their instructional methods,” said Associate Superintendent Calvin Monty.

    “Good learning is when you feel that you are making progress; when you set a goal and learn what you need to reach it – and then you reach it,” said a grade 4 ÉCVS French Immersion student. “For me, learning becomes visible when something that seemed hard at first starts to feel easier.”

    The Visible Learning framework also recognizes the importance of catering to the diverse needs of students. By implementing strategies that allow for differentiation, teachers can better address individual learning styles, abilities, and interests, thereby promoting greater inclusivity and equity in their increasingly complex classrooms.

    “I know I’m learning something when I can easily answer any questions the teacher asks without having to struggle,” said a grade 8 ÉCVS student. “It makes sense in my head and I begin to think about it often. For example, if I zone out and a subject of science actually pops in my head, then I know it well.”

    Visible Learning also promotes collaboration among students, encouraging peer-to-peer interaction and learning, which helps the students better understand concepts, improve communication skills, and foster camaraderie within the classroom.

    “Through its transformative approach to education, Visible Learning holds the potential to revolutionize the educational landscape to ensure that all students have the opportunity to exceed what they thought was possible, and equip them for success in a rapidly changing world,” said Superintendent of Schools Michael Borgfjord.

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