‘However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results’ (Winston Churchill)
This week twitter has taken me to various blog posts from an array of teachers on the features of outstanding lessons, how to embed new technologies and tales of recent Ofsted inspections. All of this has made fascinating reading and is always incredibly useful in allowing me to both reflect on the quality of my own lessons as well as coach and mentor others.
One particular blog post by Graham Warnock argued the need for schools to be less prescriptive regarding what teachers must do in lessons in order to allow them the freedom to reach the level of outstanding. It was this blog post that highlighted to me once again that discussions concerning suggested provision and methodology will only be useful if they continually consider the impact of them on student learning and student achievement. It is for this reason that the ‘freedom’ is necessary because otherwise methodologies are included just for the sake of including them without any real teacher consideration of the impact that they will have in any particular lesson or series of lessons.
Decisions concerning which provision to use should be solely based upon the potential impact that they will have on learning and achievement and should be evaluated using this same criteria. At all times it should be considered the extent to which educational provision is furthering skills, knowledge and understanding as well as challenging students to capacity.Teachers should be empowered to continually analyse the effect that provision may have and how they will know the impact it did have.
It is for this reason that discussions in Teaching and Learning Communities are so powerful. These collaborative discussions allow staff to use the expertise of each other when problem solving in identified areas. In these communities teachers design interventions with the aim of furthering learning and achievement in areas where they have identified that they can be even greater. Thus methodologies are not discussed and chosen without considering their impact. Furthermore, at future community meetings, chosen methodologies are then evaluated and tweaked according to a measured impact. Within these discussions staff can and should, in a non-judgemental way, ask colleagues: ‘What impact did this methodology have?’ and ‘How do you know?’
Lesson observation feedback, teaching and learning initiatives and new technologies (to name but a few) should all be introduced and evaluated based on their IMPACT upon learning and achievement and nothing else.
What impact will you have this week? How will you know?