Dylan Wiliam - The Two Most Important Levers for Improving Education
Updated: Aug 6
In partnership with the Medway Teaching School Alliance (MTSA), we were delighted to have been able host Professor Dylan William on the 9th March 2020 at the Strood Academy, Rochester.
The way teachers approach their curriculum and class strategies is a catalyst for student knowledge retention and engagement. Dylan Wiliam presented a enlightening training session that enriched the lives of educators, focusing deeply on improving student achievement rates. During this training, Dylan went over what the two most impactful and essential components are for improving education that tend to be overlooked.
“What I have been trying to do in this workshop is help leaders focus on the things that give the biggest pay-off for students. There are lots of things that people can do to raise educational achievements, but not all of them are possible to implement. Some are more expensive than others, and not all of them will have the same impact on student achievement. When we go through the research evidence, what we find is the two things that have the biggest impact on student achievement are paying attention to the curriculum and improving teaching capacity in terms of classroom pedagogy.”
Lever #1 - Pay Attention to Curriculum
The first topic that Dylan covers is how to pay attention to the curriculum and tailor it to fit well with how the human mind works in regards to retaining memories. By changing and balancing the curriculum to reflect what students need to learn and choosing both informed and appropriate tradeoffs can significantly increase the likelihood that students will have better achievement. For example, Dylan suggested that at a macro level, the curriculum should be rigorous, coherent, appropriate, relevant, and condensed to fit in all necessary elements. The topics should also be revisited often, following "short but frequent" intervals, students can retain the information more effectively.
Lever #2 - Assessment for Learning
Dylan emphasis's how important it is to pay attention to what is going on in a student's head and finding clear evidence if the curriculum set in place is working or not.
“Better evidence, better decisions, better learning."
Many teachers base their curriculum efforts on asking questions and seeing if the students can answer the questions correctly. Judging the success of a lesson's based on one or two students' answers is not an accurate depiction for the entire class of 30 or more. Dylan then breaks it down some more, providing a series of sophisticated ways to obtain evidence students reaching full understanding of content.
· First, educators need to have a clear objective of what the outcome should be.
· Next, observe and gain evidence that the students are absorbing the information.
· Activate students to become learners for one another. Allow them to help each other succeed.
· Last, and most importantly, activate each student to be in charge of themselves and their own learning. Let them immerse themselves in self-regulation because, ultimately, they and they only are the controllers of themselves.
What Attendees Learned
"What research shows is that when teachers pay attention to curriculum and student assessment, we see that substantial improvements in student achievement are possible."
Training session participators were able to gain immense insight into the importance of paying attention to both their curriculum and assessing what is going on in their student’s minds. They were able to discover areas that they could improve upon and dive deep into understanding the two main elements that promote improved education. Dylan was able to work with the participants and give them the essential frameworks to establish and execute rich, ambitious, and improved education environments that guarantee enhanced student achievement.
What The Attendees Have To Say
“The sessions are really informative with current research ideas/results. They also link with daily practice, so I will be able to use it immediately.”
“Great presentation. Time to reflect during the session. Very informative with many things to take back to school.”
“The incredible knowledge and engaging delivery of Dylan. Very insightful and clearly based on research and validated data to underpin the content.”