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Ofsted criteria

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by joedoggyuk, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. joedoggyuk

    joedoggyuk New commenter

    Apologies: this has nothing to do with behaviour, but I value the views of people on this forum.

    Our SMT is carrying out lesson observations based on "Ofsted criteria". A few teachers that I see as being good are being labelled as satisfactory because in their lesson "students are reliant on teacher input"; this puts the progress made in the satisfactory bracket.

    Today this happened to me: despite knowing that the pupils knew more when they left the classroom than when they entered (is progress the word to describe this, perhaps?), it was "too teacher led" and the progress was categorised as satisfactory as a result.

    I would never be so arrogant as to proclaim myself as being an outstanding teacher, but I know that those kids made good progress--does it matter how that progress was made? It's not like I stood at the front and fed those kids a diet of power point: I used Q&A to build up an understanding, paired talk, modelling, got the kids to write answers to questions, and listened --giving feedback-- to those answers.

    I've been informed that to achieve "good" in progress the kids need to be learning independently or in *shudder* groups; that aint me. I struggle to think how children can independently understand Pythagorean theorem, electricity and atomic theory. I'd like to think that's why I'm in the room with them.

    I can only come to two conclusions:
    [*]-The ofsted criteria is stupid and based on political ideologies rather than based on objective evidence of what actually works.
    [*]-My school has misinterpreted the Ofsted criteria.

    I've looked for the official Ofsted lesson observation criteria but can not find it ( http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/search/apachesolr_search/lesson%20observation%20criteria ). All I can find is other people's version of it. I've emailed Ofsted asking for a copy. You'd think, what with Ofsted banging the drum about assessment, they'd make it easy to find an official copy of what teachers will be assessed against; hypocrisy?

  2. Henriettawasp

    Henriettawasp New commenter

    Yes. OFSTED don't want to see teacher-led lessons any more.
    Quite possibly.
    Sadly, no. They've got it right.
  3. Random175

    Random175 New commenter

    The criteria have been uploaded by someone onto TES resources and they are the criteria used by our school. It isn't that Ofsted no longer want to see teacher led activities but they do not want teaching from the front to dominate the classroom.
    What I really like the in the new criteria is that 'practising skills' is included.
  4. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    Grrr! This makes me so cross. When I was at school I wanted to learn and understand all the lovely stuff my teachers knew. I certainly didn't want to listen to the uneducated and ignorant opinions of my peers. When I was at university I had to read lots of books and attend lots of lectures, by eminent people who knew lots about their subject, and only then write an essay in which I would, based on a lot of research, express my opinion. Where has this absurd idea come from that teachers shouldn't teach? I loved and still love hearing someone knowledgeable talk about their subject. There are lots of lessons where there are no 'skills' (yuk. Hate that word. It should be confined to the kitchen and workshop) to be learnt but there is hard work in the form of listening and absorbing, perhaps later to be redrafted in an essay or similar.
  5. I totally agree. I have spoken to many students, my own children included, who are hungry for knowledge and understanding and look to their teachers to provide this. They find lessons based on group work and peer assessment boring and frustrating, and resent being made to contribute when actually their brains are actively engaged in digesting what they are learning about. It is outrageous that excellent teachers who have studied for years and have a passion for their subject are not allowed to teach in the way they see fit . This of course does not mean always teaching from the front, although there is a place for this, but teachers have a duty to ensure children learn, train hard to develop the skills to make this happen, and should be trusted to do their job. If results are bad of course they should be challenged. I have a colleague who, judging by student comments, is an excellent and popular teacher, gets fantastic results, and yet is labelled as barely satisfactory because his lessons don't tick the right boxes. In my school anything above a satisfactory grading involves largely subjective judgements about "enthusiasm", "motivation" and "progress" etc. The latest fuzzy buzzwords relate to the extent of "student collaboration" and how far they are able to make connections between other subjects. Why should a maths teacher need to worry about links with other subjects? And more to the point, why must he demonstrate this in an observed lesson? Intelligent young people who are taught individual subjects thoroughly will make those links for themselves. And how on earth can an observer measure such woolly concepts objectively? Lesson observations can clearly be used to back up any judgement, and sadly it seems that this is exactly what is happening. It is a disaster for our profession and for our children. Our young people are being deprived of the opportunity to acquire the collective knowledge and wisdom of older generations in favour of developing vaguely defined "skills". No wonder that British children are considered among the most poorly educated in the developed world.
  6. lardylegs

    lardylegs Occasional commenter

    Ha ha ha!! I can see a whole new thread developing here! "Please can you email me your planning format for shudder groups?"/ "I'm not sure how to develop shudder groups in my school..." Love it!
  7. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    I fear that what you fear is real. Teachers can't lead lessons too much, or Ofsted pops a cap in your a$$. I'm not joking. The myth that students don't learn from that format is as credible as the claim that they only learn collaboratively, in groups, independently, brainstorming and working on extended projects. Everything has its place.
    Too much teacher talk is bad. But then, too much of anything is bad. That's what 'too much' means. Sadly, this is beyond the bean counters, who are terrified of any dogma they cannot reference.
    The best advice I can give is to develop your own style for everyday use, but be prepared for an Ofsted Monkey Dance lesson when you are required to give one. Like dental drilling, it's over relatively quickly.
    Good luck. To all of us.
    Read more from Tom here on his blog, or follow him.

  8. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    There's a discussion about this on the languages forum, and also at my school, whereeveryone is also stressing about Ofsted (with SMT putting pressure on staff just like at your school, by the sounds of it). We learnt at last Monday's meeting that the inspectors don't want to see 'Ofsted Monkey Dance' lessons - they want to see 'progress' most of all, which is why they're heavily into Assessment and also why they ask the pupils in every lesson: 'are your lessons normally like this?' 'Do you know how you're doing in this subject?' 'Do you know what you need to do to get better?'
    My guess is that you will be absolutely fine as long as your pupils give good answers to those questions and you're good at giving feedback on how they're doing (formative comments in their books and so on).
    Oh, and they're very interested in pupils from vulnerable groups, so you need to know who they are and be seen to be supporting them.
    I'm petrified of Ofsted, by the way. Mainly because I'm not very good at AfL and NC levels and all that.
  9. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    I thought exactly like you BEFORE my last CPD observation and therefore did a bogstandard lesson for my observer. Once I got my 'good with satisfactory elements' back I was kicking myself that I didn't make the effort to just tick a few more boxes to get a better grade. It just feels so much better to get a 'pat on the back'.
  10. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    You're right of course. People don't always appreciate everything one does though.
  11. I could not agree with you more!!

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