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Improve Your Teaching | What Makes An Oustanding Lesson?

| Tuesday March 25, 2014

Categories: Hot Entries, Starters & Teaching Ideas, Improve Your Teaching

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Ofsted Inspections: What Makes An Outstanding Lesson?

For many teachers the anxiety and worry of being observed is all too real. With new government initiatives such as the fact that pay is linked to performance, and the new Ofsted Framework (2012) breathing down our necks, it could enhance these worries and fears even more. It was therefore thought that it will be helpful to provide some guidance in terms of what makes an outstanding lesson. I was fortunate enough to participate in a project where we looked into whether videoing can be used to grade lessons accurately. We worked closely alongside a lead Ofsted inspector, and it is needless to say that it was felt that videoing will never be able to provide a true reflection of what happens in a classroom; however, what made this exercise work, while was the fact that we were able to tap into his expertise in terms of what will be deemed as a good lesson. (However,  the outcome of the study might not rule out the fact that videoing might at some point be used to observe in a more cost effective way.) After 4 hours of watching lessons and discussing what we thought should be the lesson grade, we all felt that we had a real handle on what is expected of us, and had a more confident approach to lessons planning and grading with the new Ofsted Framework in mind.

The first point that the inspector made regarding lessons was that the teacher and the lesson was not judged, however, what was judged was the pupils’ learning and progress. They therefore needed to make progress as soon as possible. Most Ofsted observations will perhaps only last for 20 minutes, and in that time you will need to demonstrate real progress, and pupils need to be learning.

The second point was that lessons must also reflect the national priorities as outlined in the White Paper (2010). It is interesting, when talking to teachers that they often don’t know what the national...


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