Great expectations...

...and judicious setting of homework are both vital to fulfilling students' potential. Jon Slater reports.

THE seven groups of teaching skills identified in the HayMcBer report (see left) will already be familiar to teachers - they are the headings the Office for Standards in Education uses in school inspections.

But the report goes further, breaking these down into 35 "micro-behaviours" - phrased as key questions - which it says, have a significant impact on pupils' progress.

According to the report, high expectations and setting homework are key skills at both primary and secondary level.

On average, outstanding primary school teachers scored higher than their colleagues in four out of the even clusters of skills: high expectations, time and resource management, assessment and homework.

At secondary level, HayMcBer found more difference between teachers' skills in all clusters. But the difference was particularly marked in high expectations, planning and homework.

The report also emphasises the importance of "the way the lesson is structured and flows, and the number of pupils who are on task through the course of the lesson".

Effective teachers managed to get well over 90 per cent of their pupils "on task" (doing the intended exercise), the report says. And their lessons achieved an "appropriate" balance between different teaching styles, flowing naturally between them.

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