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‘The nightmare of graded lesson observations is ending, at last – and some good can come out of it'

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Nov 25, 2016.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

  2. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    Lesson observations suck, I'm just glad I'm out of it.
    I feel for teachers who are still stuck with it.
     
    Compassman likes this.
  3. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Thank you for your comment @irs1054.
     
  4. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    The article implies things have changed. That's not the impression I get from reading posts here - unless perhaps the pressure is greater and the stakes higher.
     
  5. whitestag

    whitestag Senior commenter

    This is certainly not my experience of how lesson observations are going. If anything, they're becoming even more high-stakes and pressured. The observer actually sits there in your lessons with a grading sheet created by the LA aligned to the Ofsted criteria for quality of teaching. If your ticks and highlighting are in the wrong boxes, you're in trouble, despite a track record of years and years of effective teaching and good results.

    It's very frustrating.
     
    Anonymity likes this.
  6. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    Our observations are no longer graded, oh no they are "fine" graded.....

    I had an observation recently that wasn't part of PM or OFSTED inspection or the like. I found it quite strange as it was .......supportive.
     
  7. applecrumblebumble

    applecrumblebumble Lead commenter

    The trouble is the culture that has set in will still make you think 'yes but what do you really think'. Will the long knives come and get me later, what are they saying to the management but not to me - god I'm messed up!
    Maybe it's safe to say "do you know what I am a good teacher and I do care how well I do my job"
     
  8. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    Not sure where the idea that they've ended comes from.
     
  9. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Star commenter

    Watch your back!
     
  10. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    Lesson observations are entirely destructive, and never judged anything other than how confidently a teacher could perform in front of a SMT audiance
     
  11. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    They are still a heavily used tool at my school. The observing team (at least two people most of the time) storm into the room mid-lesson with clipboards and tick away as they sagely walk around the room. I hate observations. They are very subjective, have been used to get rid of unwanted, ageing or expensive teachers, are used to pile pressure onto teachers to constantly 'do more' and 'up their game' and do nothing to raise standards.
     
  12. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

  13. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    I remember the hostility I was met with when I used to tell people that grading lessons was unscientific nonsense.

    It's all very well Ofsted changing their mind when they had no other course of action if they wanted to retain some credibility, but the problems are:
    a) it should never have happened in the first place
    b) it should have been stopped much earlier
    c) people have had careers destroyed using the mechanism of observation
    d) it should come with an apology for the three things above.

    And now they need to man up and penalise schools that still do it, instead of washing their hands of all the stupid they've created and saying "we don't want to see it, but we won't stop anyone doing it". The way I see it is if it's been fine for them to do things that have been detrimental to teachers for years and destroyed careers in the process, the least they can do is now is penalise schools that still do those things
     
    nervousned and whitestag like this.
  14. whitestag

    whitestag Senior commenter

    What an excellent post.

    Ofsted are just trying to appear like they're not grading lessons or looking for in-depth marking. Anyone who has experienced an inspection in the last 5 years knows that the reality is completely different.

    They need to go much further and start pulling management up on policies that are ridiculous and designed to show off and look good - the same policies that drive teachers away from the profession, rather than (pathetically) hiding behind the old "It must follow the policy" nonsense. Well, how about actually looking at those policies properly, Ofsted? Or is that too much work for you?
     
    Scintillant likes this.
  15. secretsiren

    secretsiren Star commenter

    My school still grades lessons although it would claim it doesn't. But the four columns headed 1-4 give the game away, really.
    I've never found lesson observations helpful. The presence of another adult inevitably changes the behaviour of the students who either behave much better than they normally would or play up to the new audience. The feedback seems to focus on the fact that there has to be a target - the observer can't possibly just say 'I really enjoyed that, thanks'. The Ofsted ones I've had were particularly unhelpful with the observers not really understanding what was happening and unable to give clear feedback. I hate doing lesson observations too, especially giving feedback. I'd much rather just come and have a wander into a classroom if the teacher asks me to, have a constructive conversation about it with no judgement, and enjoy seeing someone else's practice. I've taught lessons where I know the kids didn't get it, and been judged Good, and taught dull but effective lessons which would be Inadequate if I was daft enough to teach them in front of a witness but which massively improved progress.
    The problem is that the observer can only judge one thing: their own view of what makes good teaching. And if that doesn't match the style of the teacher in front of them...well, someone has to be punished. The lesson observations are designed to push us through a cookie cutter - we should all be doing group work or all be teaching in rows or all having kids teach lessons or all use differentiation in a certain way...no feeling that actually teachers should stick to what works for them.
     
    Anonymity and PeterQuint like this.
  16. install

    install Star commenter

    Many schools and LAs still have Performance Management Policies that state a teacher must get 'Good' or better for 2 consecutive cycles ....

    Grading of teachers lessons has - and in many schools still is- a tool used to bully and intimidate and scare teachers .
     
  17. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

  18. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    My mate works in an academy one authority over from where I live. In their school, I think in their whole trust, if you get two RI/Inadequates in a row, whether that's work scrutiny or observation, you're put on a support programme, followed by capability and the sack.

    People put on stage 1 are leaving pretty quickly, apparently none to other schools. These are staff who, by any other measure (results, behaviour), are very good teachers. But the system is blind. No matter what the observer thinks, if the lesson doesn't tick the boxes, it's a 'fail'.

    The crisis is costing the nation a fortune. The DfE and Ofsted are apparently trying to stem the flow by making announcements, but it's clearly not working.

    They need to do something else, because pretty soon there'll be no one left.
     
    schoolsout4summer and Yoda- like this.
  19. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Star commenter

    "Come with an apology"? Compensation more like.
     
    Scintillant likes this.
  20. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Very true. Some people will have a very good case.
     

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