What makes an outstanding lesson?

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This blog post is delivered to you by the number 1 UK teacher recruitment agency, Engage Education.

How does OFSTED define an outstanding lesson?

OFSTED defines an outstanding lesson as one in which pupils are:

  1. Inspired, engaged and motivated
  2. Challenged
  3. Making progress
  4. Keen to contribute to the lesson, asking relevant questions and debating the topic with enthusiasm
  5. Interacting productively with each other as well as the teacher
  6. Able to explain what they are doing and why
  7. Proud of their achievements during the lesson

The OFSTED definition also states, in an outstanding lesson, teachers will be:

  1. Experts in their subject
  2. Involving every one of their students in the learning process
  3. Setting imaginative tasks that challenge and inspire pupils
  4. Utilising a wide range of approaches and learning resources in order to target different pupils with different abilities and learning styles
  5. Facilitating independent learning and pupil evaluation
  6. Checking progress towards objectives in a non-disruptive way

In order to be classed as outstanding, teachers also have to comply with guidelines such as:

  1. Recapping the previous lesson at the start
  2. Providing clear lesson objectives which are revisited and revised during the lesson
  3. Explaining information clearly using appropriate language
  4. Providing feedback on the progress of their pupils

Enthusiasm is outstanding

Any OFSTED inspector will tell you that there is no exact recipe for an outstanding lesson; they simply know one when they see it. The one vital ingredient is enthusiasm – from both from pupils and from teachers – whose body language speaks volumes about how engaged they are.

Chief inspector of OFSTED Amanda Spielman has spoken out against the single-minded focus on exam results at the expense of a rounded, enjoyable education. An outstanding lesson is no longer measured by academic success only, but by the engagement of its pupils. As a result many teachers are turning from the traditional classroom methods in favour of more progressive learning methods, such as flipped lessons.

What is a flipped lesson?

A flipped lesson mimics the university learning model, in which students learn about a topic (by means of reading, online lectures or other research) prior to a class. The lesson itself takes the form of a collaborative discussion and/or activity learning, promoting a personalised learner-centred instruction model.

Flipped lessons are by no means the only method by which a teacher can create a engaged and enthusiastic classroom environment, but the success of the flipped classroom illustrates the need to combine a variety of teaching methods, beyond the classic lesson model. Prioritise your pupils’ passion for the subject equally with results and think outside the box for an outstanding OFSTED result.

How can I make my lessons OFSTED-friendly?

Establishing tasks that fulfil OFSTED’s objectives for an outstanding lesson and rehearsing them with your class is a good way to create a dynamic learning environment without needing to take risks during the inspection itself.

Getting your classes used to high risk tasks so that they become routine will go a long way towards reducing OFSTED stress as you have prepared everything beforehand.

Easy ways to incorporate OFSTED objectives into your classroom routine include:

  1. Standing at the door as your pupils enter the classroom, greeting each one and talking briefly about your objectives for the day. Don’t wait for your whole class to come in and settle down. Start preparing each pupil for learning as soon as they arrive
  2. Showing that children leave your class with questions and ideas. During the lesson, ask your pupils to write any questions or ideas you want them to take away on stickers and as they leave, take the stickers with them
  3. Standing at the door at the end of a lesson and asking each pupil to relate something they learned and how it corresponds to one of the lesson objectives before bidding them goodbye.

 

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