|HITS - What Research Says|
What research says and does not say about High Impact Strategies…
Teaching for Student Achievement Guidebook (2005). The New Teacher Project.
This guidebook provides teacher candidates with the eight most popular HITS. The guidebook quotes and uses the work of Robert J. Marzano, cofounder and CEO of Marzano Research Laboratory in Denver, Colorado and author of more than 30 books and 150 articles regarding education, to make its point of the significance of using HITS in the classroom to increase student achievement. Teaching for Student Achievement Guidebook elaborates on the HITS by providing a percentage of student achievement gains by each individual HIT and it also provides specific activities and ways to incorporate the HITS into instruction. In chapter 5 of the guidebook you can find information about all eight HITS.
Breaux, A., L. (2003). 101 “answers” for new teachers and their mentors: effective teaching tips for daily classroom use. Larchmont: Eye on Education.
The author of this book, Annette L. Breaux, is dedicated to the field of education. Recently, she teamed up to Dr. Harry K. Wong to write a book about teacher induction. In this book, Breaux specifically supports three of the eight HITS – Cooperative Learning, Activating Prior Knowledge, and Homework. Breaux (2003) recognizes that cooperative learning allows students to “develop problem-solving skills, develop better social skills, and achieve at higher levels” (p. 54). Breaux (2003) also explains how to more effectively incorporate cooperative learning into classrooms by having effective classroom management procedures in place. Regarding, activating prior knowledge Breaux gives an explanation of the importance of helping students to make a real-life connection to every single lesson. On the topic of homework, Breaux explains the limitations, controversies and considerations teachers must have when assigning homework. Finally, there is one “tip” dedicated to encourage teachers to vary teaching strategies. Breaux (2003) explains the power of being unpredictable with lessons and “moving quickly from exciting explanations to inviting discussions to interesting hands-on learning activities to class projects to students demonstrations of skills, and so on” (p. 69). 1o1 “Answers” for New Teachers and Their Mentors is not only a great resource about the HITS but the rest of the “tips” also provide a wide range of topics helpful to new and veteran teachers.
Lemov, D. (2010). Teach like a champion: 49 techniques that put students on the path to college.
Among his 49 techniques, Lemov (2010) makes reference to two of the HITS: Summarizing and note taking and reinforcing effort and providing recognition. Lemov refers to note taking as a technique called “Board = Paper.” Lemov (2010) describes note taking as “one of the most complex and critical aspects of being a student” (p. 82). Lemov suggests that the first step is for students to make an exact replica of what is on the board. For this to happen, he suggests teachers make copies of what is on the board and students fill in the black as the teacher is lecturing. This method should continue and the teacher should gradually allow students to make notes on their own. But before this happens, note taking has to be explicitly taught and guided. Another technique that supports reflects HIT summarizing and note taking is “Everybody Writes.” This technique is used to allow all students to write down answers/ideas when a question or prompt is provided by the teacher. “Everybody Writes” serves as a starting point to engage in discussions, allows all students to answer the same question, improves the quality of students’ ideas and writing, and students remember twice as much when they write something. In regards to HIT reinforcing effort and providing recognition, Lemov (2010) labels it as “Precise Praise.” Lemov (2010) cautions readers to differentiate between acknowledgement and praise. Acknowledgement merely serves to recognize and thank a student who has met expectations. However, praise is meant to recognize students who have done exceptionally. Lemov (2010) also mentions research that shows the different results for praising students for their effort and praising them for being smart. Obviously, praise that is effective focuses on what students can control: effort. Finally, Lemov (2010) concludes that “Precise Praise” needs to be genuine. Lemov delivers an outstanding set of 49 techniques that go above and beyond the HITS!
Marzano, R., J. (2009). Setting the record straight on “high-yield” strategies. [Electronic version].
In this article, Marzano (2009), the original researcher and publisher of the HITS discusses the three major mistakes by schools when implementing and overemphasizing the nine most common “high-yield” strategies. Marzano (2009) identifies the first mistake as the focus on the narrow range of strategies; there are many other strategies that need to be implemented in a classroom. The second mistake is assuming and requiring that the HITS be used in every classroom; not all the HITS are appropriate at all times and during all lessons. Teachers have to use the HITS wisely and incorporate them into the lessons that fit better. Finally, the third mistake is to assume that high-yield strategies will always work. It goes against any research that some strategies always work; sometimes even the best strategies will yield negative results. Marzano (2009) reminds the reader that he has avoided calling these strategies “high-yield” instead he has called them “high probability” strategies. Marzano (2009) concludes by advising school districts and schools three ways to leave the monotony of consistently and unsuccessfully using the same strategies over and over again. Marzano (2009) says “first, a district or school should have a common language of instruction – a way to talk about instruction that’s shared by everyone in the district or school” (p. 35). In other words, there needs to be a comprehensible and consistent way of doing things; come up with lists that focus on instructional, management and assessment strategies as a initial step. Second, the newly developed common language of instruction should be the basis of discussion and feedback in order to develop expertise. Finally, the purpose of strategies is student knowledge gain; the job of a school or teacher is to find out if a strategy is working based on student achievement. If there is no evidence of student growth, that strategy perhaps needs not be used in certain grade level/content area.
Whitaker, T. (2004) What great teachers do differently: fourteen things that matter most.
Recognizing effort and providing recognition is one of the HITS. In his book, Whitaker (2004) defines this HIT simply as “praise.” However, Whitaker takes the reader to recognize that providing praise is not always an easy task. In chapter 7, Whitaker gives specific ways to make praise effective. For praise to be effective it “must be: authentic, specific, immediate, clean, and private” (Whitaker, 2004, p. 47). First, for praise to be authentic it has to be genuine or in other words: true. Second, praise needs to be specific; students need to know exactly what they are being praised for so they themselves recognize that their effort was worth it. Third, for praise to be effective it has to be immediate; in other words praise needs to happen within a timely manner. Fourth, Whitaker (2004) says “praise must be clean” (p. 48). This involves two facets. One, praise should not be used to manipulate students to continue to do something in the future – something different and unrelated. Two, for praise to be clean it must not involve the word “but.” What this means is that praise should not include criticism. Finally, for praise to be effective it must be private. Praising students is not just a matter of saying “Good job!” Students will ask themselves, “Good job for what?” Praising effectively involves specific steps which Whitaker successfully provides in his book.