During an INSET session today a group of teachers from different subjects met in a ‘Learning Development Group’ to discuss outstanding teaching. What does it look like and what do outstanding teachers do?
I have tried to summarise the discussion here:
- They keep their students engaged throughout the lesson, from beginning to end. This is done by combining creative teaching strategies with brilliant relationships with students. As students step into the room, there is something for them to do.
- They are creative and reflective. If something isn’t working, they will change it.
- Their teaching has variety and maintains the element of surprise. They will always try out new things……and make them their own……or ditch it!
- They know their students. They know where they are in their learning, where they need to go and how they are going to get there – and do so effortlessly.
- This can happen because of an excellent knowledge of the curriculum and assessment structure.
- Activities are planned that relate directly to the learning objectives – these activities will allow students to actively demonstrate their learning.
- The learning objectives demonstrate high expectations. These high expectations are maintained throughout the lesson – in terms of learning, behaviour and achievement. Students will always live up (or down!) to our expectations!
- They give excellent feedback – verbal and written. The feedback is regular, focused and easy to understand by the students.
- Skilled questioning involves all of the class and moves students from surface learning to deep thinking. Students are not allowed to get away with non-participation or shallow answers!
- They encourage their students to ask good questions.
- They give students the tools to work independently e.g. the 5Bs but also in groups.
- Teacher talk is minimal and student activity and learning is maximised.
- Lessons are high challenge and low stress for all. Differentiation occurs throughout the lesson by a range of strategies including different tasks, groupings, questioning etc. As a result, all students feel success.
- They are not afraid to deviate from the lesson plan, if that’s where the learning is going.
- Pace is judged just right – not too fast, students need to time to consolidate learning, but not too slow – so they don’t drift off task. This is skillfully judged.
- Learning is monitored and the teacher will intervene swiftly and effectively – with individual, groups or the whole class.
- An ongoing dialogue about the success criteria allows students to peer and self asses with great effect – students own the learning and know how to move it on.
- Opportunities to develop important skills such as literacy and numeracy are fully exploited – but not falsely!
- No-one gets left behind and ‘stuckness’ is minimised!
- They like young people, value their learning, want them to succeed and believe that they can.
- They enjoy teaching……..as a result students enjoy learning (though they may need some convicing of this, some of the time!)
Put together, this can’t fail to result in ‘rapid and sustained progress’!
Have I missed anything?