Wednesday, February 19, 2014

My latest lesson observation feedback

This was the outcome of my latest lesson observation - I received Good with Outstanding features (whatever that actually means). The form is based on the 2013 Ofsted criteria for a whole school observation, such criteria is not meant to be used to grade individual lessons so why are schools doing exactly that?

To achieve an Outstanding grade on this form I would have needed to do the following in the length of time the lesson observation took place. 
  1. Almost all pupils make rapid and sustained progress across the curriculum
  2. Marking and feedback from the teacher and pupils is frequent and of consistently high quality
  3. Teaching of reading, writing, communication and maths is exceptional
  4. Use of well judged and often imaginative teaching strategies that match individual needs
  5. Time taken to develop skills in other subjects
  6. Appropriate and regular homework
Now to pick some of these apart.
  1. No teacher can possibly be expected to ensure all pupils make sustained and rapid progress across THE CURRICULUM in one lesson.
  2. To ensure marking is of an effective and high quality it takes more time than one observed lesson affords.
  3. I'd like to see this actually happening, a teacher teaching all of these exceptionally in ONE observed lesson.
  4. So if there are 25 children in my class, do I need to provide 25 individually well judged and imaginative teaching strategies? I didn't think so.
  5. During one observed lesson a teacher has barely enough time to breath never mind develop skills in other subjects
  6. This is just nonsense.

Teachers and pupils deserve better than this. 

Once again, WHY do schools resort to a rehashed version of whole school Ofsted inspection criteria to grade individual lessons? 

Does your school use a similar type of lesson observation form? Perhaps you teach at a school that has developed an observation system that teachers look forward to, I would love to know.

Note - I spent no additional time preparing for the above lesson, I prepared no additional resources nor did I go through my previously planned lesson with a fine comb to ensure grade descriptors were met. My 'lesson' was barely 20 minutes long as I teach in EYFS. Make your own mind up.

Ofsted’s grade criteria state: “These descriptors should not be used as a checklist. They must be applied adopting a ‘best fit’ approach which relies on the professional judgement of the inspection team.”

Additional Reading
I recommend you read the following blog posts (and blogs on a regular basis)
'Meeting Ofsted : The game has changed' by Tom Sherrington (@headguruteacher)
'On grading lesson observations' by Alex Quigley (@huntingenglish)
'Has lesson observation become the new brain gym?' by David Didau (@learningspy)

'Beyond lesson observation grades' by Mary Myatt (@marymyatt)