In the modern world of teaching, with formal observations, OFSTED and 'outstanding progress lessons, it is far too easy for lessons to become a tick box exercise where various features have to be observed to be taking place in order for the lesson to receive a positive judgement. However, if we strip the performance of observations back and look at the core features, we can ask what are the foundations that make great learning happen? Here are 7 key parts to lessons and learning that form the 'Teaching Essentials'.
•Learning is checked during the lessons at appropriate intervals and, where appropriate, feedback is given.
•Students receive feedback on their learning which celebrates successes and identifies next steps. Pupils respond to these at an age appropriate level.
•Students are aware of what they are achieving at key points in the lesson and make reference to the success criteria when self and peer assessing.
Resources for Learning
•Adults support and improve learning through focused and appropriate interventions within lessons.
•Selected resources (including digital) are used when appropriate to scaffold, support and enhance learning.
•Displays track, motivate and support learning by visualising expectations/examples and share additional resources that pupils regularly interact with.
•Classroom design (tables, groupings, learning stations) is organised appropriately to suit planned learning.
•Links are made between the key questions and the students' lives, to provide context and purpose.
•Where possible cultural and community links are embedded within learning experiences.
•Hooks are used to engage students during lessons.
•Problem solving/critical thinking opportunities allow students to use and apply the skills developed in a real-life setting.
Questions to Further Learning
•Every lesson has key questions which focus and stimulate learning.
•Teachers plan and utilise a variety of differentiated questioning strategies using the Question Matrix and subject specific command terms (Blooms Taxonomy).
•Students are encouraged to create their own key questions, where appropriate.
•Students ask their own questions to further their learning and that of others.
•Classroom routines and high expectations are clearly established and embedded.
•Lessons are planned to allow students to further develop their competency of learning skills. Teachers comment specifically on attributes to model and support the development of these.
•A positive working environment is evident where all students feel safe, valued and positively interact with everyone in the room.
•Teachers promote growth mindset and the language used by students and adults help to raise their expectations of themselves and others.
•All students are actively involved in the learning process upon arrival at the lesson.
•The pace and variety of activities allow all students to meet and exceed planned learning outcomes.
•Students work harder than teachers during lessons.
•Teachers are adaptable and are free to draw on unplanned events within lessons.
•Students make independent decision within lessons.
Challenge for All
•Teachers are aware of, and lessons are planned to meet, the learning needs of all students.
•Higher order thinking skills are developed through lessons; students are presented with a progression of challenging activities that deepen understanding.
•Students prior learning is assessed and used to influence lesson pace and starting points for each pupil.
•Success criteria and key questions highlight high expectations for each child within their learning and students use these to set their own goals.
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