LESSON OBSERVATIONS – TOP TIPS TO FOLLOW DURING AN OFSTED INSPECTION
Ofsted have announced a new framework, which takes effect from September 2012 onwards. We have updated our suite of products to reflect the changes to the inspection framework and are sharing our top ten tips to follow during an inspection..
There are many criteria against which judgements are made when deciding the effectiveness of a teaching session. There are some things which are absolutely crucial to get right. Although related to Ofsted, these should be part of everyday teaching behaviours.
Plan to meet the needs of all
Plan the learning and related activities to meet the needs of all pupils, including the most and least able so that they learn well and make good progress against previous learning.
Outline the Learning Objectives
Ensure that the learning objectives are made clear to the learners at the start of the session. Remind them about previous learning and link to what they will be doing in the future.
Discuss Success Criteria
Share these. Not to be confused with learning objectives these are how you (and the pupils) will know they have succeeded in what they were intended to do during the session.
Don’t talk too much
During an inspection teachers often make the mistake of talking for long periods at the start. Be very clear about the parts of the lesson where input is required and ensure that pupils are engaged in their tasks as quickly as possible.
Check progress regularly
Carry out mini plenaries to check that all are on task so that you can make interventions with a group or the whole class as appropriate. This is a form of ongoing assessment linked to questioning below.
Use effective questioning/assessment
At whole class, group or individual levels, use skilful questioning to ascertain understanding and enable you to reshape a task or give further explanation if necessary. Done well this also means that pupils are clear about how they are doing and what they have to do next.
Always be aware about what all pupils are doing. Even if working with a focus or guided group constantly remind other pupils about your expectations and give time reminders to keep on task.
Use a variety of teaching and learning strategies
Don’t always stick to one strategy. Use a variety chosen for the appropriateness of the learning you have planned and to cater for different learning styles. For example teachers can draw on techniques such as presenting, instruction, explaining, demonstration, discussion, modelling and get learners to investigate, research, problem solve, apply etc.
All classes will have challenging pupils. You must manage this so that the learning of others is not adversely affected. High expectations of work and behaviour should be evident at all times. Class rules and routines should be clearly known and consistently applied.
Ensure that safe practices are always adopted
Use the final plenary to check learning against the objectives and the success criteria. Remember the crucial question is, “What have we learned during this session?” If you run out of time for this ensure that you remind pupils that this is normal practice and that learning from the session will be reviewed at the start of the next lesson.