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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds SPEAKER 1: In this video, we’re going to introduce the concept of activation and explore in further depth diagnosis. During the video, we will need to be thinking about the extent to which you engage in the process of activation and diagnosis, and if and how this process could be relevant for your practice. The idea of activation is based on John Hattie’s meta-analysis of 800 different studies. These studies were drawn from a range of subject areas, including English, and maths, science, and P.E. The aim of this meta-analysis was to find out what had the greatest impact on students’ learning and achievement. This study showed that, aside from the students, the greatest source of variance, was the teaches.

Skip to 0 minutes and 58 seconds Therefore, what teachers say, act, do, and how they organize and manage learning is important. When further looking at the role of the teacher, John Hattie identified key characteristics about what teachers did that had the greatest influence, and this is where he came to the idea of activation. A teacher who is the activator of learning is suggested to have the greatest impact. Specifically, an activator was suggested to be someone who can see learning through the eyes of their students, and where they can promote a learning environment where students become their own teachers. Dean Dudley and I took John Hattie’s work and applied it to physical education and began to look at the evidence in P.E. around teacher behavior.

Skip to 1 minute and 45 seconds In linking John Hattie’s work and some of the arguments around teachers being facilitators of learning, we identified a three-step process for teachers to become activators of learning and have maximum impact on students’ learning. These three steps were diagnosis, responding, and evaluating, and this week is focused on diagnosis.

Skip to 2 minutes and 9 seconds So diagnosis. Diagnosis means focusing what students do, first of all, and then learning needs. Now these needs might be explicit and be seen straight in front of you, or they might be hidden. The key thing about diagnosis is that when we plan lessons, when we think about pedagogical approach, when we think about the structure of lessons, we need to be identifying our students’ learning needs first. So students are at the center of our practices. So here comes the challenge. You are probably thinking that in an ideal world it would be possible to focus on our students’ learning needs first.

Skip to 2 minutes and 47 seconds And you might be thinking that we’re a bit daft or bonkers to be suggesting that we should always be starting with our students. Why? Because what we do is constrained daily. It is constrained by the expectations of the school context. And it’s constrained by expectations of national and international curricula. And it is constrained by, perhaps, inspectors who judge the effectiveness on our teaching both on attainment or one of observation. So once you want to focus on students’ learning needs, this is often challenged.

Skip to 3 minutes and 20 seconds But if we go back to John Hattie’s meta-analysis, that showed that the teachers that have the greatest impact on students’ learning needs are those who focus on their students and have their students’ needs in the center of their practice. So surely we need to be pushing some boundaries and thinking about what we can do, and what is thinkable, or even possible, for our students. In the tasks that follow, we are going to push you to consider how you might diagnose your students’ learning needs. And later in the videos of this week, you’ll be seeing some key content areas that will further push you and perhaps identify some students’ diverse needs.

Activating learning

An activator is able to design effective and impactful learning experiences. ‘An activator can see learning through the eyes of their students’.

The process of activation has three distinct steps: diagnosing, responding and evaluating.

In this video we will explore the process of activation and discuss, in further detail, the key characteristics of diagnosing – the key focus of learning for this week.

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This video is from the free online course:

Outstanding Physical Education Lessons

University of Birmingham