What Lockdown can teach us about collective teacher efficacy

John Hattie’s “new number one” influence.

Collective Teacher Efficacy is the collective belief of teachers in their ability to positively affect students. With an effect size of d=1.57 Collective Teacher Efficacy is strongly correlated with student achievement.

Much has already been written of the silver linings of lockdown. As educators we’ve all had to adapt to an online curriculum in a matter of minutes, ridden the highs and lows of student engagement, desperately tried to alleviate barriers, suffered an unpleasant dose of teacher bashing, zapped, zoomed and loomed, and felt the painful cry of the Black Lives Matter movement, holding our breaths in hope that it could really be a turning point this time.

As we lurch forward to the end of the school year (can it really have moved this quickly!?), our thoughts turn to September, and talk abounds of the disadvantage gap, the recovery curriculum, summer catch up…..how we will fix all those  knowledge gaps, which despite a gargantuan effort, weigh heavily on all our minds. Now more than ever, we face some of the biggest challenges of our careers.

I certainly wouldn’t claim to have all the answers. But one thing this experience has certainly taught me as a leader is the power of John Hattie’s words about collective teacher efficacy.

Just as lockdown has turned the volume up on many important aspects of education, none more so that our responsibility as educators to the wellbeing of our community, it has also increased the volume on the power we can have to affect change when we all pull together. This for me is the real silver lining.

There are many things we have achieved as a school that I am proud of: our teachers’ amazing ability to adapt, the quality of their online tutorials, the care and compassion of the pastoral system, the allegiance to high standards despite the odds, burning the midnight oil working out how to use loom to mention a few.

However, what I am most proud of is the way we have come together as a school to serve our community, and the belief that even under the most difficult circumstances, we are now more than ever passionate, united and determined that we can positively affect much needed change if we work together.

So, it doesn’t so much matter that we don’t have all the answers. What matters more is we have felt the power of collective teacher efficacy and I for one am an addict.  Addicted to maintaining our common sense of purpose. Addicted to constantly promoting the power of collaboration in providing the best education we can. Addicted to doing better in forging an anti- racist society. Addicted to securing long term change because we owe it to the Black Lives Matter Movement to do nothing less.

Published by elainenlong

English teacher 15 years, Assistant Principal for T&L. All views my own.

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