Month: June 2013
Link to a blog on discussions with an HMI.
The main issue of concern is the idea that progress can be shown during a 20 slice of a lesson.
The above link contains a discussion with an HMI that makes it clear that is not a feature of the evidence collection by Ofsted.
So where has this idea come from and why does it have such currency? It comes, I believe, from the conflation of a number of statements, some slight ambiguity in the Ofsted instructions, and the lack of clarity in some schools about the purpose of schools as places of learning as their core role. Without the single minded focus on learning some schools are willing to be swayed from this core purpose to try to jump through hoops to meet what they “think” and have “heard” that Ofsted want. There is then the local authority network of advisors and some of the consultancy industry who run INSETs on these erroneous hoop jumping. Remember, hoop jumping if for trained dogs, not for professional educators. Woof, woof!
What are these statements?
The first is that Ofsted will judge progress. They will. It is the main judgement to be made. Great progress and, probably, outstanding school.
The second is that, clearly, progress is “progress with learning”. I know other bits matter but learning progress is what really matters. progress is measure in two main ways. Data is number one. End of Key Stage results and examination results will feature highly. Progress will also be evidenced by looking in students’ book. Over time, what are they learning.
The next element is Ofsted reports that say things like, “Progress is secure because of the good teaching in lessons.” This is a reason for good progress and NOT a description of the erroneous short term progress in a lesson while teachers are teaching. It is a bit of an obvious statement really. Over time, consistently good teaching produces consistently good, secure learning. Progress is made.
The next is the fact that some observations will be for only 20 minutes of a lesson.
So add that lot together an done can see how Ofsted might be saying, “We will be judging progress in 20 minutes of a lesson.”
Come on, leadership teams. Think about it. Get tough and be professional. Is it really possible to show secured learning in 20 minutes every time you go into a lesson. progress will be evidenced by matching the start of a level with the end of a level. Can that happen in 20 minutes? No way!
What you need to get your teachers to do is teach great lessons. Get them to plan so that learning is visible to the teacher, and to the students. That visibility of the learning will be enough to allow any inspector or observer to see that learning is happening. But the reason for making learning visible is NOT to jump, dog like, through an observational hoop. It is because making the learning visible is what correlates with great lessons.
Now Merlin, my Belgian Shepherd, where’s that hoop?
High expectations based on data plus a bit.
An expectation that teachers need to be allowed to teach.
A firm policy that stopping others learning was a real issue to be sorted.
An intelligent, pragmatic approach that worked for us.
A willingness to try and find something that worked.
Involving parents etc
Only jumping on bandwagons to get the cash! Staying on if it worked.
Keeping going for long enough to make something work but getting out of it if it did not work for us.
What is a PEF?
What is best is that children learn as much as possible, as well as possible in the time they have available in the lesson. That could be through lots of teacher talk or not a lot of teacher talk.
Finally, let’s just take a quick look at the learning style kinesthetic. First, focus on the learning, the stuff you want the children to learn. Card sorts, making hand movements, and anything else you might call kinesthetic is not. It is probably visual. It is not the moving of a card that allows a child to remember the contents of the card. Moving blocks to represent a mathematical equation is a kinesthetic activity, but the learning is because it allows the learner to visualise. Just think about it. How can it be that we remember all the movements we made? Moving the blocks allows us to make the visual more concrete – most of us are not able to play blind chess, where we don’t look at he chess board. We need the physical board and pieces to be able to play! Chess is not a kinesthetic activity. You know it makes sense.