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What makes an "outstanding" lesson

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by RebelX, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. Tandy

    Tandy New commenter

    Because it is not true to say that teachers in such schools have zero chance of delivering outstanding lessons, and I think that it belittles the great work of thousands of teachers delivering excellent lessons in hard schools day in day out
    Then we will disagree, that's fine. I will base my statement on the hundreds of inspections that I have carried out and the outstanding lessons that I have had the pleasure of seeing
    I'm sure you'll get over it.

    I think if you believe there is zero chance of delivering outstanding lessons, then that does equate to giving up.

    My post, by the way, had nothing at all to do with OfSTED, which is where this conversations seems to have turned. I don't consider outstanding lessons the same thing as being graded outstanding in an inspection.

  2. Tandy

    Tandy New commenter

    Jeez... who are these inspectors? They deserve to be sacked if this actually happened.
  3. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    I have to agree with penco. to teach an outstanding lesson requires outstanding students with a commitment to learning etc.etc.
    However teachers who jake Jo Bloggs from bash street and teach them anything at all are also outstanding and can (be in my experience are far less likely) to be judged so.
  4. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    I might add that (and I dont know so am willing to be corrected) that pre judgements based on statistics are made that affect decisions - i.e. if progress is outstanding then they expect to see outstanding lessons and have a bias towards this grade vice versa.
    (I am not necessarily saying this is wrong just that i believe it to be true)
    Where it is wrong (IMO) is if the poor progress results from certain circumstances that have existed previously - with th relatively new teacher being held responsible.
  5. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    And my biggest gripe of all is that they take no account of the background of the class etc.
    They are frequently incapable even of realising that 30 disruptive kids just happen to be not in school on that day etc.
    Any simple check of attendance agaimst school discipline records would be very enlightening in my opinion.
  6. Whilst I was preparing my department for an OFSTED inspection, I was given this set of pointers:
    At the beginning:
    Is the class quiet?
    Have you dealt with late-comers sufficiently?

    During the lesson:
    Have you explained clearly what to do?
    Have you told them how long to spend on an activity?
    Have you maintained control over class?
    Is everyone on-task?
    What are the weak students doing?
    What are the strong students doing?

    At the end:
    Have you referred back to the learning objectives?
    Have you checked whether learning objectives have been met?
    Have you told them what level they are working at?
    Have you told them how to go up a level?
    Have you set homework?
    Common sense stuff really, but you'd be surprised how many teachers simply do not do this, and then are surprised when they get poor ratings. You can plan the most amazing, whizz-bang lesson in the world - what counts is your routines, and your delivery. All the exciting 'fun' (ugh) activities count for nothing if you don't deliver them right - or have the character to carry them off.
    I agree that in many cases OFSTED simply slap an outstanding tag on a highly-performing school. It annoys me to see so much good work go to waste because a lot of inspectors won't see beyond the figures. That said, you do find inspectors who will and 9 times out of 10 they have taught relatively recently and in tough schools. I also find it helps that the more information you provide an inspector upon their entry into your lesson the more you show your awareness of the class.
    I may appear to be coming from a sympathetic point of view towards OFSTED but that is simply not the case. I find that when it comes to OFSTED inspections it's a case of rolling your sleeves up and getting on with it - making sure you present yourself in the best light possible. It is hard work.
    The documents that previous posters have linked I have found very useful too.
  7. OFSTED routine
    1 Look at previous year's outcomes
    2 Reach a decision about school performance
    3 Visit school to find evidence to support 2)
    4 Reach decision forseen at 2)
    No amount of preparation is going to change that!
  8. bigkid

    bigkid New commenter

    Next time you do an observation using OFSTED criteria go in looking for problems.
    Then go in looking for positives.
    See how much difference it makes...
    If you know in advance that the results are good and the progress is good then you will be looking for positives that explain the results.
    The reverse is also true. If you observe a class/school that is not making progress then your instinct might well be to look for reasons why.
  9. Thankfully, THAT is something I will never have to do.....
    ... and it was ALWAYS something I ignored ....
    ... I never cared tuppence for what any observer thought of my lessons!
  10. afterdark

    afterdark Lead commenter

    Err...no it does not.
    I find this leap bizarre. Unless you consider satifactory to be outstanding....

    Oh there it is.

  11. I'm sorry but I have to agree with Tandy here.
    Simply thinking 'I'm never going to get an outstanding rating so why bother trying' is disenfranchising your pupils.
    I said before that most of the things that OFSTED look for as a structure for a good lesson is pretty much common sense. Anything beyond that takes more effort but then being outstanding shouldn't be a case of rolling up and doing the standard lesson you deliver every time.
    I have also said that the outstanding rating for lessons can be influenced by the school's overall achievement and impression given - however that is not always the case and I feel there is a sea change towards looking beyond initial impressions (well, in my experience anyway).
    It is difficult to obtain outstanding - I'd say that expecting to deliver an outstanding lesson every time is frankly madness - but to say 'why bother' is petty.
  12. afterdark

    afterdark Lead commenter

    There is a difference between giving up and trying to achieve the unachieveable.
    I don't that this is very common.
    Seldom ?
    No to try and give a great lesson that you know is going to get a good is fine. But when the criteria is that the students make outstanding progressm that is where whole thing has gone wrong.
    the OFSTED use of the word outstanding is insane
    According to the COED Outstanding simply means
    1 exceptionally good.
    2 clearly noticeable.
    3 not yet done or paid.
    In some school Forall the pupils in one class to make good progress is increadible not just difficult.
    You folks are repeatedly making the jump from ''not trying to get an outstanding" to "not trying at all".
    You see the problem is with the Woodhead-esque definiton of outstanding. Years ago it was the "teaching was inspirational".
    To say all pupils made good progress is a measure of the children not specifically the teacher.
    Do you not see the difference?
    This statement makes it more explicit. It shows how arbitrary OFSTED inspection has become. you can point to who you like and say my colleague in St Sheets got outstanding but you are simply not being fair to those folks who, through no fault of their own, are trying to teach the unteachable.
    It is a form of we're all right jack.
    Again jumping from the sublime to the ridiculous.
    Did I say <u>never</u> bother? Now compare with every.
    Who said never bother?
    Who said never bother at all?
    'twas not me...

  13. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    Thing is though, not all of those things make sense in every lesson.
    In particular, the fixation on levels.
    We're expected to boost them by 2 levels per key stage - 1 level every year and a bit.
    3 lessons a week... 40ish weeks.. so they should be making a progression, on average of a 120th of a level a lesson.
    How is that supposed to be measured??
  14. I think the idea is that they should know the level that they are working at rather than how much 'level' progress they have made.
  15. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    I haven't entered into the what is and isn't outstanding debate. Any judgement is going to be very subjective.
    I do think that this obsession with "progress" has meant that students don't get enough practice to ensure that their skills are retained and embedded. Not a good thing.
  16. I very much agree with bombaysapphire's point about embedding learining. There is simply not enough consolidation opportunity. That said, is this a facet of very broad year by year schemes of wok rather than specific, ability focused schemes?
  17. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    I have seen the amazing progress my niece has made in Maths by doing Kumon. The progress appears slow because it is all about lots and lots of practice. Over a period of time though the results are impressive.
    A big contributor to the lack of practice is that there is too much content in the NC.
  18. afterdark

    afterdark Lead commenter

    Hers is another reason why this is piffle.
    from over in personal

  19. So I had my observation and it was described as a fail. Absolutely staggered. Perfect behaviour, lesson went almost as planned, class came out knowing what they were supposed to know... :(

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