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'If only all inspectors were acquainted with this' – Ofsted attempts to bust five teaching myths

Cramming lessons with lots of activities and drawing up “excessively detailed” lesson plans will not help teachers win the approval of inspectors, Ofsted has claimed.

In a new blog post for TES Connect, the watchdog has attempted to bust several myths about what its inspectors want to see at the chalkface – and the shattering of some widespread preconceptions look set to serve as a wake-up call for school leaders and teachers alike.

The first misconception Ofsted tackles is that inspectors have an obsession with the pace of a lesson. “Some believe,” it writes, “that the faster the lesson, the better the learning. While pace is important – pupils may lose concentration in a slow lesson – teachers can sometimes concentrate too often on the pace of the activity rather than the amount of learning.”

Similarly, many teachers labour under the belief that inspectors are keen to see lessons packed with as many different activities as possible.

Not so, the blog insists. “This is often counterproductive, as activities are changed so often that pupils do not complete tasks and learning is not consolidated or extended.”

“Excessively detailed and bureaucratic lesson plans” are also a no-no: they can “cause teachers to lose sight of the central focus on pupils’ learning”.

Employing a set structure for all lesson plans also falls foul of Ofsted’s requirements.  “The key consideration,” according to the latest blog, “should be the development of pupils’ learning rather than sticking rigidly to a format”.

And schools that stubbornly insist on forcing pupils to assess their own progress before the ink has dried on their classwork are also set to come a cropper, the blog concludes.

“In many lessons, much time is spent by teachers getting pupils to articulate their learning before they’ve completed enough work. Ofsted inspectors have observed lessons where pupils were asked to self or peer assess work before they had been able to complete a sentence or two.”

Ofsted has asked TES Connect readers to offer feedback on its suggestions. Perhaps not surprisingly, the initial response has been appreciative, if somewhat suspicious.

“It would be really sweet if every inspector were acquainted with this and if [these] myths were dispelled,” writes Siegen81to82.

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