The Qualities of an Outstanding Teacher
How to be graded outstanding in teaching observations and give the maximum to your students.
An outstanding lesson isn't what the teacher does; it's what the student learns.
Ofsted defines an outstanding lesson as containing these three components:
- Are all pupils challenged?
- Are all pupils making progress?
- Are all pupils at least engaged and at best inspired?
In order to accomplish these three criteria you need to ensure your lesson is planned well. You then need to perform to the best of your ability once in the classroom. Behaviour of students is irrelevant. What is relevant is how you challenge and deal with that behaviour.
Planning the Lesson
When planning a lesson, you need to consider what the students are learning, not what they are doing. Are they acquiring new knowledge? You need to help the students make links between previous learning and new learning. To gain that outstanding grade you need to show the progress of learning and how you track this.
This does not need to be a complicated process. This could be as simple as a five-minute lesson plan, as long as you have a plan for the students' learning.
Starting a Lesson
Be in control from the very start of the lesson. Ensure you have set the class up before the students enter. Remember, this is your environment they are entering. Make sure the environment you have provided is a good teaching environment. It is important to establish a routine in your lessons at the start of the year. Ensure the students appear comfortable with this routine.
Having an effective starter to every lesson is essential. The starter should be stimulating, quick, and should prepare the students' minds for learning. These are quick tasks related to the subject. A surprising aspect is always a good starter. You can also use the starter to check the prior knowledge of the students.
Every lesson must have a good pace. Tasks should be differentiated to the individuals within your class. Every lesson should include some investigation and self-learning. The more teaching methods you use, the more engaged your students will be. Using questions allows the tutor to assess learning. Encourage independent learning, and allow students to research their own information.
Other factors you need to take into consideration when teaching the lesson are:
- Most importantly, be enthusiastic about your topic.
- Manage behaviour effectively
- Ignore bad behaviour and reward good behaviour
- Sit down if possible in a confrontation to seem less threatening
- Remember, some students have a fear of success
- Be consistent in your approach
- Use a quiet voice
- Use your teaching assistants effectively in the classroom to minimize behaviour
It is important to check learning throughout the lesson, but ensure you also check at the end. We use a simple three-question approach with our students.
- What do you know well at the end of the session?
- What do you want to learn more about next session?
- What do you not understand?
These are in sticker-form, and fix into the student's book at the end of every session. The insufficient learning areas can then inform your next lesson.
At this point, you should be annotating your scheme of work. Include what needs to be developed and studied further. Ofsted does not want to see a clean never-touched Scheme of Work; they want to see a battered and written working copy.
Once the day is over, you should reflect on your lesson. Reflect on what went well and what you could change in the future.
My best advice is to do this with a nice cup of tea or coffee, and a biscuit.
Once again if needed, annotate the scheme of work. Fill in any tracking and student reports, and then get prepared for the new day, tomorrow.