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Do we need to re-think what the term outstanding means in teaching?

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by scienceteacher11, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. scienceteacher11

    scienceteacher11 New commenter

    As a trainee about to qualify with outstanding I don't have any trainee friends that aren't qualifying with the same grade. Shouldn't outstanding be something exceptional and not what the majority of people are given. I have seen in may cases lesson observations that have been fabricated and subject mentors giving people outstanding because they are good friends.
    Then on the topic of outstanding qualified teachers, teachers being criticised constantly for not being 'outstanding' seems ridiculous. At my school teachers are told the aim is to be 'outstanding every lesson' and subject leaders who haven't been deemed outstanding have been pushed out of their posts. Surely outstanding shouldn't be achievable every lesson, isn't that the point? Satisfactory should be good enough not seen as something to be ashamed of and good should be good, as the word suggests!
    Just feel like the obsession without outstanding has got a bit of hand, the word is beginning to loose meaning?!
    Thoughts, i'm very interested to hear other peoples views.
  2. Yes I do agree, obviously every teacher should strive to reach 'outstanding', but with so many being rewarded the distinction within that term is vast. And what about if a truly exeptional lesson is delivered, yet the banding is the same as a lesson which was not nearly half as good. Of course the personal satisfaction of working to achieve the best of your ability it always prevelent, but perhaps the grading incentive is a little faded, as achieving outstanding is commonplace. Satisfactory also does denote that a lesson has covered key aspects and the children are being taught and managed well enough, so as you say it should not be frowned upon. Sometimes heightening marks leads to a lazyness almost, a thought of why should I push myself to improve if I am already at the highest level? An interesting debate.
  3. 576

    576 Established commenter

    Definition of satisfactory = satisfies the requirements / needs.
    Definition of outstanding = <u>stands out</u> from the rest.
    At some point education went nuts.

  4. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    You may well find that there is a difference between PGCE Outstanding and NQT outstanding and then again between NQT outstanding and regular Outstanding: it becomes harder and harder to acquire as the years go by!
  5. I totally agree. Managing NQTs/PGCEs for over 15 yrs now, I could not have said this better myself. More rigour is applied as you grow into our career.
  6. gruoch

    gruoch Established commenter

    NQT who has always had outstanding at my school has just been given satisfactory and is devatasted.
    I am at least 112 and have been given 1 whole outstanding in my entire career - and that was on a learning walk. To give myself credit, the whole dept then adopted the lesson and is still raving about it, but it was pure serendipity.
  7. In the schools I've worked in (both have had Outstanding Ofsted inspections for the last 15 years or so) have had the opposite problem - teachers are hardly ever given Outstanding in an observation, so teachers have given up trying to achieve it.
  8. bigpedro

    bigpedro New commenter

    I agree that its easier to get outstanding as a trainee but I think its because you're not as distracted. Believe it or not, lesson planning and prep is easier when training because you tend to have a lighter timetable, less pastoral responsibility and less paperwork **** to do constantly. There's less marking (as a result of less classes) and all this has an impact on your ability to prepare an outstanding lesson every time.
    The quality of my teaching has dipped recently due to picking up the pieces of a collegue's sustained absence, I was rated as mostly satisfactory with some good and one outstanding (for discipline) in a lesson observation today. I know It could have been better prepared and resourced but i also have a life and refuse to let school take over completely. They've had their moneys worth out of me this year by a mile! and I know that the students learned some new stuff and applied it to a task to enforce the learning. If they retain the information and skills for next week then that should be the measure of sucess not whether I effectively deployed the TA or not.
    sorry, got a bit ranty there.
  9. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    A few points
    1. Outstanding as a PGCE student does not mean that you are teaching outstanding lessons consistently, it means that you are meeting nearly all of the criteria at a high level including those that do not relate to teaching lessons
    2. The funding of Teacher Training Providers is dependent on the number of outstanding students they produce: if it drops below 50% then they have a cut in their funding
    3. No one can teach outstanding lessons all of the time (unless they have a much reduced timetable). At a HoD meeting I went to a couple of years ago we were told that we should aim to be consistently good as we had other things we would need to do
  10. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
    However it was not outstanding so OFSTED have been asked to complete a no notice inspection of heaven.

  11. I do wish teachers weren't judged by isolated lessons. I teach plenty of satisfactory lessons and yet my results are generally good and can be outstanding. How can it be??? Maybe, just maybe there is more to teaching than what goes on in individual lessons...
    I could easily teach a lesson regarded as outstanding that in no way helps the students with the 'big picture'. I have lots of experience of building understanding over many lessons - probably a majority of those lessons individually would get satisfactory...
  12. bigpedro

    bigpedro New commenter

    Try getting a decent obs with DT or Art. Sometimes theres just lessons where kids need to crack on with work and the targets are being worked towards over a few hours not 20 minutes. I can show loads of progress over 3 weeks, but not always over 20 minutes. We also have less time for questioning and different types of questioning. we check our understanding from the quality of the outcome. Decent outcome = the child understood and worked effectively. If that product is better than the last one they made, this is progress no???

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