It’s not always easy to judge how well you are doing as a teacher. Just because the kids like you and your LSAs are on your side doesn’t mean you are effective. How do your lessons stand-up under close inspection?
Meeting with your colleagues and having a benchmark against which to evaluate your lessons is a must for building an improving school, and in-house training should be high on the agenda with higher quality classroom observation being a key appraisal theme.
To help us take stock, Mediamerge has produced a pack of three Ofsted Good/Outstanding primary observation videos so you can indulge in some reflective self-evaluation, audit your performance and put your professional development in sharper focus.
There are three professionally filmed lessons on DVD, each showing a teacher’s introduction, a lesson and feedback between a teacher and an Ofsted inspector. The lessons on offer are Y2 Literacy and writing scary stories, Y5 Literacy and using complex sentences, and Y6 Maths using pictograms to represent data. Hopefully other curriculum areas will follow. There is also a CD-ROM with each DVD containing the teacher’s lesson plan, written Ofsted feedback report, CPD activities, an observation form and links to a teachers’ toolbox website.
Observing someone else’s lesson is always compelling viewing and the videos in this resource give you the chance to see colleagues from another school at work and how they do things. Watch and learn. You will already be doing some of the things shown on the videos, but there will be new ideas and in the true spirit of magpie teaching, you’ll take and use these in your own classroom nest.
On the Y2, Y5 and Y6 DVDs I watched, the teacher’s introduction and lesson are good to observe and certainly make you self-reflect. The ‘feedback between teacher and inspector’ sections were also useful, but the main focus in on the teacher answering a series of questions by the observing inspector. I was hoping to see the inspector say what is actually written down in the comprehensive, perceptive and considered report on the CD-ROM. I would also have liked to have seen an inspector having a discussion with some pupils to trace evidence of their learning against the topic focus and compare this to how well the teachers thought their lessons went and their assessments of children’s perceived learning gains. Inspection includes clear and helpful oral feedback and identifies strengths and weaknesses and areas for improvement – seeing this in action would have been helpful and offered real insight into the teaching and learning process.
Also on the CD-ROM you will find a two-page activity pack of teacher and staff training activities written by an inspector. These offer thought-provoking questions that get you to focus on learning behaviours and learning achieved as evidenced on the DVD.
Mediamerge point out that for less than the price of a one day course for a single teacher, their three DVD pack (£169) can be used to deliver effective whole-staff training. This is true as top-quality trainers don’t come cheap. However, being able to put questions to a real person is still important, so it might be an idea to combine the two to get the most out of a CPD day.