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What's the difference between a "good" and an "outstanding" lesson?

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by ianj6, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. ianj6

    ianj6 New commenter

    As the title suggests, are there any bullet points that are needed to move up,
    I've got the differentiated LOs, differentiated tasks, differentiated marking, kids being aware of their levels and how to improve, these get me to "good", but even when I ask the OFSTED inspector how I can make the same lesson "outstanding" they don't answer. This has happened several times.

    Any hints?
  2. Are they being done to? Or doing the doing?
    Is it just teacher led with them doing the activities in groups/pairs, then going back to whole class stuff? Then on to the next one? Basically just a series of activities one after another.
    Do you ask them why? Do you recap on what has been covered so far before moving on to next step and enhancing?
    Are the students really engaged with the tasks and lessons orjust going through the motions?
    Do you interact with them when doing the work?
    When you've been observed for PM what have you had? What feedback is given as to how you can improve?
    Does your school not have a document that outlines certain criteria that makes a lesson good or outstanding (though sometimes this is about as clear as mud and is a difference in using the word very and really)

    I'm sure you do do all this and are still probably thinking "why then still only a good?" If that's the
    case then I really don;t know the answer!!
  3. spsmith45

    spsmith45 New commenter

    If you are interested I wrote something about this on my blog recently after we had discussed the issue in our department. One factor in giving a lesson that added extra is the personality of the teacher himself or herself. That is hard to measure, though, and there is an element of fashion and subjectivity in what inspectors choose to call "outstanding" (dubious word).

  4. maa09

    maa09 New commenter

    When my colleague asked this question to an Ofsted inspector last November she was told that if she had asked every pupil to show using five fingers how confident they felt about each learning objective she would have got an outstanding. She just asked a sample of pupils. This is to do with the issue of showing that the pupils have made progress. Obviously this is just anecdotal but I have tried to build this or a similar concept into my lessons at KS3 & 4.

    Another big deal with Ofsted currently is independent work - by this they seem to mean not too much teaching from the front. Pairwork and groupwork seem to a current favourite with Ofsted!

    It's also worth looking at the recent report published by Ofsted about inspections of MFL teaching 2007-10. It flags up the use of TL in particular as being important.
  5. mpc


    In a recent inspection, I was told my lesson was a solid 'good' as it was missing a certain something (undefined). I think the outstanding tag is quite subjective and seems to pertain slightly to an inspector really connecting with an activity.
    I would agree that personalized learning and students leading the learning are important for the outstanding category but would also say that sometimes simplest is best.
    If I were you, I wouldn't beat myself up over it, tbh. We all do what we do and what is now deemed 'satisfactory' (Lord I hate that word) is the equivalent to what used to be deemed 'very good' some years ago. Move that bar, move that bar....
  6. The key to outstanding, according to my old HT, is that va-va-voom, that je-ne-sais-quoi that is hard to quantify but you recognise because you get "that" feeling....[​IMG]

  7. Random175

    Random175 New commenter

    We have been told it is largely down to the engagement of the children. Over 90% engagement over 90% of the time, and that is with children largely doing most of it. In our school teachers think that the same lesson taught to one class at a certain time of day will be outstanding and the same lesson taught to the same class after lunch would probably be good or even adequate!
  8. spsmith45

    spsmith45 New commenter

    Ha ha! Then a long dictation, corrected by the children, is fine! That's a relief. Actually, I get a bit bored with being told all the time what is "satisfactory", "good" or "outstanding".
    A colleague went on a course with a fellow called Dylan William who claimed that if you want children to achieve well in exams, lecturing is very good.
    I strongly feel that we cannot be too prescriptive about teaching. Much has to do with the teacher's personality, preferred style and their way of angaging with classes. Some are good at teacher-led stuff, some do better"facilitating", some are very creative but not amazingly effective, some are solid and traditional, but highly effective.
  9. marmot.morveux

    marmot.morveux New commenter

    Our English and PE departments seem to have achieved outstanding lessons through the effective use of lead learners as part of a multitude of strategies.
  10. ianj6

    ianj6 New commenter

    Thank you very much for your replies.
    My position is that I've been teaching for 14 years, and am nearly always rated as "good" but in all that time I've only ever been observed as "outstanding" once (and that wasn't even in my subject speialism"!) and also had "outstanding features" once in MFL, and I really don't understand what needs to happen to move up. (When I've cracked it and am more regularly "outstanding" then I will feel ready for looking at management)
    We are also seeing the increase in emphasis on group work, the difficulty I have with this is how much time is spent learning and how much is gassing. I got a maths colleague to observe me to help with this and the conclusion seemed to be that if the time boundaries are kept tight then more time is spent on task.
    The character of the teacher, or va va voom, is not really a fair criteria, (espesially as I don't have a personality!)

    I like the idea of the 90%, that would be a tangible target, and the "fist of 5" as an AfL strategy is also useful. I've also started to get the children to grade my lessons and give areas to improve, that is giving some really good feedback both ways as the kids will reflect on their learning and helps my planning, not sure if would fit in with an OFSTED critieria though.
    Thanks again for your help and replies, please keep them coming
  11. ianj6

    ianj6 New commenter

    Hi Steve,
    Just read your blog, you talk a lot of sense!!! I really like your thoughts on whether simple, learning activities can achieve an outstanding!
    Well worth reading, (because it contains the word blog, I thought our filters would bar it)

  12. "when I ...am more reularly outstanding...I will feel ready for...management"
    Nice to see you think you have to be an outstanding teacher to be a manager; which should be the way. Unfortunately in my experience managers tend to be quite poor teachers! And let's not even talk about Ofsted inspectors, which is probably why they are not answering your question on how to be outstanding in the first place.
    I agree that outstanding is quite subjective and depending very much on the observer. I had a Y7 lesson in TL, with students led activities, 100% (or 99.9%) participation; that was Good because I did not write the objective on the board. ( I asked in French). Then a lesson which I thought was ok, got an outstanding (first and probably only time).
  13. Random175

    Random175 New commenter

    You were lucky, when I was training my otherwise very good lesson failed because the LO was not on the board!
  14. mpc


    And that, Random175, shows how daft the 'system' is!

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