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What an outstanding History lesson looks like


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#1 Ms Ali

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 05:39 PM

Exactly as it says in the title.

I have not seen one for the last four years. I haven't been observed by a specialist history teacher for four years.

The Inner London consensus seems to be that Ofsted want to see levelled learning objectives, progress checks every ten minutes, minimal teacher input, group work, self assessment, extended writing .... am not sure where the History fits in anymore.

Please fill me in on what constitutes outstanding History these days. Any real life examples appreciated. I feel I have been transported to an ideological wasteland where History teaching itself is peripheral.

#2 Ed Waller

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 06:54 PM

an ideological wasteland where History teaching itself is peripheral.

and where "teachers" therefore are no longer necessary in their current (expensive??) guise, and will be replaced by HLTAs then by TAs at a third of the cost... Although of course their title will need changing.

The Outstanding lesson you describe above is very much in keeping wit Ofsted speak - creative learning (I'd always thought creative history was fiction, done in the English department, or the stuff of Time Team where we never let the facts get in the way of a good story). But through extensive use of PLTS, our brave and battle-hardened students will be factory-compliant denizens ready to take us to the next Apprentice roll-out nationwide job opportunities.
A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. - Groucho Marx

#3 Ms Ali

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 07:33 PM

I am saddened by the current state of confusion. It has become impossible to ask a genuine pedagogical question (or answer it) without being political. This reflects the reality of what we do every day though, doesn't it?

What I describe as an Ofsted 'Outstanding' is mechanical, artless and easily (frequently) devoid of historical learning (not to mention dull as dishwater). But my question is genuine: what does a genuinely outstanding History lesson look like? Currently spinning through the interview mill - which is now invariably composed of round 1, lesson, followed by round 2, interview if your lesson fits the bill - I am baffled by the enormous gulf between teaching the way I describe, and the way I see real learning take place. I mean, do schools really want to see the 'monkey tricks' at interview? Any answers appreciated!

#4 Ed Waller

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 07:48 PM

I am saddened by the current state of confusion. It has become impossible to ask a genuine pedagogical question (or answer it) without being political. This reflects the reality of what we do every day though, doesn't it?

What I describe as an Ofsted 'Outstanding' is mechanical, artless and easily (frequently) devoid of historical learning (not to mention dull as dishwater). But my question is genuine: what does a genuinely outstanding History lesson look like? Currently spinning through the interview mill - which is now invariably composed of round 1, lesson, followed by round 2, interview if your lesson fits the bill - I am baffled by the enormous gulf between teaching the way I describe, and the way I see real learning take place. I mean, do schools really want to see the 'monkey tricks' at interview? Any answers appreciated!

To be honest, this is what schools want to see. They have become tick-box institutions, and want Ofsted to rate them outstanding, which requires lessons as you describe. So you have to be able to demonstrate on interview that you can deliver such a lesson.

Once employed, you have to deliver such lessons when observed (by internal or external people). Day to day, you do the job and use a range of techniques and styles so that the kids actually do learn as you know they should. We all know that these (occasional) lessons without progress will not endear you to your management, not your management to Ofsted.
A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. - Groucho Marx

#5 Ms Ali

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 07:56 PM

Thank you. This is as I thought (you have reminded me that I missed out the key features of 'progress' and 'blaaaaah' in my synopsis!), although my faith has been shaken somewhat by a recent encounter with a Free School who seemed to have a different set of ideas still about what a lesson ought to do. Twenty days to go, let's see if I can put this into practice!

#6 Tony Fox

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 08:41 PM

I no-longer feel I can go to the excellent SHP conference (I have missed the last two); for a decade I came away with a head full of wonderful ideas to stimulate real Historical understanding, but gradually, year upon year, found it more and more difficult to implement the ideas, as the school focussed upon AFL and all the other tick box, soul-destroying mundanity, it saddens me to see so many excellent enthusiastic teachers stripped of their creativity, and questioning why we do it, does an Ofsted 'outstanding' lesson really help my students develop or does it demonstrate to them the absurdity of the inspection process? I know what my students were thinking a few years ago.
"A parent can bring a child into this world, but a child can bring a parent into the world to come." - from the Talmud

"Had Churchill been a stable and equable man, he could never have inspired the nation. In 1940, when all the odds were against Britain, a leader of sober judgement might well have concluded we were finished. - Anthony Storr

#7 Jenjane

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 04:30 PM

The key message that we are getting from SMT at the moment is about having evidence that you do things over the long-term, not just for that lesson eg students know the classroom routines and it doesn't require indepth clarification as your expectations are consistently high, by looking in your exercise books and seeing lots of complete tasks, clear comments on how to improve throughout the students are told regularly how to improve and there is evidence for it there, this can be a 'tipping point' to persuade someone that you are a strong teacher and consistently so.
I have to say that I now have the policy of teaching what I consider to be an excellent lesson when observed and if it only judged 'good' / with outstanding features rather than outstanding overall, then so be it. In my opinion, if my classes generally get good teaching and it is outstanding sometimes then I am happy.
Jane

#8 KatKlunder

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 06:20 PM

We have recently been inspected and I thought I had prepared a pretty decent observation lesson with year 10s.

I had evidence of long term learning and progression (each student has an exam file with front cover for marks and student comments on their progress, plus section for parent feedback, and all practice exam questions they do over the year go into the folder). Their books are my best marked, I spend hours marking them and the comments are always lengthy. Students had these on their desks and the inspector did not even look at them which was pretty gutting.

The lesson had clear differentiation, paired group and whole class discussion (our school is very much into kagan cooperative learning and it is great for getting all students participating), AfL which included marking model answers and peer assessment (the inspector said that the students were marking accurately and I explained that they peer assess regularly so are comfortable with it), plus I had 'learning checks' thorughout which all students participated in using whiteboards.

I ended up with a good, (which maybe I could have been happy with - let's face it, in what other profession does someone say 'that was good' and you walk away feeling disappointed?!), but during the feedback session I asked how I could have made my lesson outstanding and the inspector couldn't give me an answer. This was annoying after trying to jump through all the hoops, and I was left wondering what I had missed.

Anyway - onwards and upwards, at least the rest of the staff pulled it out of the bag!

Edited by KatKlunder, 13 May 2012 - 06:37 PM.


#9 stephanie

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 07:23 PM

I also asked how I could have made my lesson outstanding during a recent 'mocksted and the inspector said he didn't know! :crazy:

@_miss_moss_


#10 Ed Waller

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 07:44 PM

I also asked how I could have made my lesson outstanding during a recent 'mocksted and the inspector said he didn't know! :crazy:

So at that point you said, "Oh, if it could not be better, it must have been outstanding. Please regrade. Thank you."?
A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. - Groucho Marx

#11 Ms Ali

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 08:14 PM

http://www.guardian....ce-talent-drain

I wonder why morale is so low ...

#12 stephanie

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 08:32 PM

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I also asked how I could have made my lesson outstanding during a recent 'mocksted and the inspector said he didn't know! :crazy:

So at that point you said, "Oh, if it could not be better, it must have been outstanding. Please regrade. Thank you."?


No, I thanked him Posted Image

@_miss_moss_


#13 ANNAHC

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 05:15 AM

i was aobsevred by ofsted a few years ago and he gave me a good but no comments on how I could improve despite me asking then wondering aloud wether it was an outstanding if nothing could be improved. We are being observed again wed and thurs this week its just a history Ofsted with the HMI in. Im hoping the feedback off this ofsted inspector will be more productive.

#14 ewallace

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 07:56 PM

I was observed teaching an ECM lesson and received a 'good'. The lesson was one of those 'if you were stuck on a desert island...' style lessons not within my subject area. When I questioned what I could have done to receive an outstanding, I was told showing them a picture of a desert island would have done it!

#15 ANNAHC

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 04:51 PM

I got a good again today by the history HMI inspector - its still elusive for me - a colleague received a satisfactory because they had deviated from the lesson plan in respobnse to a pupil question! he said if that person had stuck to the lesson plan it would have been good!




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