My Observation Checklist. The structure of our BlueSky lesson observation reports.
Simple. Ok. The title is misleading. RSA Essays: Licensed to Create? Incentives for improving teacher quality. Today, the RSA has published a collection of 10 essays on the theme of improving teacher quality and the concept of licensing.
This has been, in part, stimulated by Tristram Hunt’s policy proposals. I was delighted to have been invited to contribute an essay and I have included mine in full below. Interestingly, the content of these essays echoes much of the material that we discussed at the Sutton-Gates Washington Summit, which is encouraging. The full report can be accessed via the RSA website alongside a new animation created to accompany the report. Graded Lesson Observations: Alive and Kicking? 'Outstanding Teacher Programme' - Don't Believe the Hype. It is a truth universally acknowledged, if something sounds too good to be true it probably is.
If a teacher training course promises a teacher can move from ‘good to outstanding‘ (let’s ignore the huge issue with those judgements for a moment) in a day – for a mere £500 – and over the course of ten lessons or so – it is likely exaggerating its benefits. It may well be able to foster a few timely gimmicks (no doubt centred around the de rigueur OFSTED-related term: progress), but it will not change the core habits of a teacher, nor make them a truly great teacher over the longer term. It may promise long-term support, but it will inevitably focus on short-term ‘results’. I do that already. Teaching is a complex act.
Couple this to the fact that we often want to talk about teaching in decontextualized ways – for example so that teachers of different subjects may interact during professional development – and we have the common problem of being too general; too vague. And this really is a problem. Most of us tend to seek confirmatory evidence; we like the idea that we’re already doing the right thing and that there is no need to make an effort to change. A culture of lesson observations by @adam_snell.
Almost three months have now passed since Ofsted announced the ground-breaking news, that inspectors would no longer be grading individual lessons.
Except that it wasn’t that ground-breaking. Apparently this had been their instructions since 2009. Who knew? Getting it right: The importance of observations by @TeacherToolkit (Part 1/2) The role of observations over the last few weeks, if not months, has debated the purpose of observations; the place – if any – for 20 minute observations; progress over time; one-off, snapshot judgements; the purpose of OFSTED and so forth and so forth.
Context: What we have been trying to do within our school, is begin the dialogue with our own leadership team about the latest Ofsted headlines published 6 week ago in February 2014. The Visible Classroom. Our schools are full of great teachers, but often the specifics of what they do to make great learning happen remain hidden. In his Visible Learning series of books, Professor John Hattie has argued that we need tools and research to make visible how the best teachers teach in order to support all teachers have the most positive impact possible on children’s learning. Nesta is working with the University of Melbourne and technology provider Ai Media UK to explore the potential of real time captioning and transcripts of lessons to support teachers’ professional development.
Teachers and their students will be provided with a real time text display of the teacher’s explanations and questions, which they can review during and after the lesson. Scale: CPD, research, and getting the basics right. In our quest for a deeper understanding of our work as educators, across all the debates, conferences and blogs, I sometimes think that we lose perspective on the relative scale of different aspects of raising achievement in schools.
There are hundreds of variables and we’re rarely able to make like-for-like comparisons that help to identify the relative importance of different factors. A lot of the time we are guessing. A teacher could spend hours working on a new feedback strategy gleaned from an INSET day, blog or research journal. How would you like to be observed? by. As Ofsted continue to face yet more challenges over the validity of lesson observations, I discuss how best we can develop as teachers and ask the reader, ‘how would you like to be observed?’
Context: An article I wrote was published in The Guardian on 27th May 2014. Mrs P Teach: Very Late Thoughts on the Observation Game. Ever since OfSTEd, at a meeting with education bloggers, confirmed that in most cases inspectors should not be giving judgements on individual lessons, I have deliberated again and again about my thoughts on the matter.
I read the blogs of those in the meeting, followed by Mike Cladingbowl’s Guardian article and then the blogs of “mere mortal” teachers, those of us in the classroom day in and day out. As I read each article, the same question went through my head – is this a good idea or a bad idea? When I had two PGCE students in March, I came to think about observations again. Their university required me to give four lesson judgements and a judgement per standard in two separate reports.
Do you want to engage with research to become a better teacher/leader? Just taken the lead on research in our Teaching School Alliance.
This means we are expected to: “-build on existing research and contribute to alliance and wider priorities - base new initiatives within your alliance on existing evidence and ensure you can measure them - work with other teaching schools in your area, or nationally, where appropriate ensure that your staff use existing evidence - allow your staff the time and support they need take part in research and development activities - share learning from research and development work with the wider school system.”The Department for Education Things I have been doing to help us 1.
Talking about teaching in a world without lesson grades. Images: @jasonramasami Teaching is a lonely profession. Outsiders rarely understand this. Hearts of darkness: another voice against graded observations. 10 tips for Tweeting Teachers by. Teacher Professional Development - IRIS Connect.
Classroom observation: it’s harder than you think - CEM Blog - Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring. Professor Robert Coe We’ve all done it: observed another teacher’s lesson and made a judgement about how effective the teaching was. GoodCPDGuide Training, consultancy, INSET, and courses for teachers and education staff in schools and colleges. Excellence & Growth Schools Network. Events. National Teacher Enquiry Network. There is huge pressure on schools and colleges to improve the quality of teaching and create better learning outcomes for young people. Research shows that the most effective way to achieve these goals, while also improving staff morale and engagement, is through high quality professional development.
Lesson Observations. My thoughts. Fear/support. The primary head's blog. So this week’s Guardian secret teacher hates lesson observations: oh well. Beyond lesson observation grades? Archimedean leadership (1): What problems could leverage observation solve? Secret Teacher: schools have got lesson observations all wrong. Professional Development for Quality Teaching.