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Elevating Expertise: Why Teachers Are the Single Most Important Classroom Factor In a Child’s Learning Achievement

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We are sometimes asked about the science behind our materials and the research that influenced our design for literacy instruction. Educators often want to be able to point to the ways in which our resources are explicit and systematic, and to see specific evidence to show they lead to literacy success for students across the country. Today we are launching the second of a 4-post blog series to do just that. Please join us over the next several weeks as we unpack the pedagogy, research base, and evidence of efficacy that sit behind the Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ brand.

Blog 1: Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™: Where Research Meets Practice
Blog 2: Elevating Expertise: Why Teachers Are the Single Most Important Classroom Factor In a Child’s Learning Achievement
Blog 3: Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™: Systematic, Explicit, and Sequential
Blog 4: Responsive Teaching: Meeting Our Students’ Needs Through Comprehensive, Differentiated Instruction

Blog 2: Elevating Expertise: Why Teachers Are the Single Most Important Classroom Factor in a Child’s Learning Achievement

Research shows that teachers are the single most important classroom factor in a child’s learning achievement. John Hattie synthesized 1000 research reviews of 50,000 studies and found that the greatest influence on student progression in learning is having highly expert, inspired and passionate teachers and school leaders working together to maximize the effect of their teaching on all students in their care (Hattie 2015, p 2; Hattie 2017). In fact, collective teacher efficacy has a stronger influence on achievement than ANY OTHER FACTOR at the school, teacher, or student level.

Though a teacher may lean on a lesson to deliver instruction, the teacher is always the most critical factor in determining what a child can achieve in the classroom. No lesson plan or program will singlehandedly identify and impact a child’s achievement and progress. No matter how well a teacher plans and structures learning tasks, it is the teacher’s ability to make different decisions for different students at different times that informs the power and effectiveness of the instruction. The moment-to-moment instructional decisions teachers make based on their observations and analysis of children’s learning behaviors are significant. The teacher teaches the child, not the book or program.

We have long believed that teachers have the power to make a real difference for each student in their classroom, and have designed Fountas & Pinnell Literacy™ (FPL) resources to rely on and contribute to elevated teacher expertise. We have built extensive professional learning tools into each FPL system to help teachers to continuously develop their craft, strengthen instructional decision-making, and deliver high-impact literacy instruction. Simply using the materials helps teachers to grow their expertise in observing and responding to the students in front of them, contributing to overall teacher agency and efficacy.

We invite you to visit our site to learn more about the embedded and optional professional learning opportunities that are included with each of our resources. And to hear more from our users about how FPL materials have helped transform teacher expertise in their districts.

 - Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell

• • •


Hattie, J. (2017). Hattie Ranking: 252 Influences And Effect Sizes Related To Student Achievement. (link)

Hattie, J. (2015). What Works Best in Education: The Politics of Collaborative Expertise. London, UK: Pearson.


Topics: Fountas & Pinnell Classroom™, LLI, Phonics Word Study, Research, Intervention, Professional Development, Featured Posts, Home

Fri, Nov 6, '20

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