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The best-laid plans aren't plans at all

Lesson-planning is a skill required of all teachers. Yet of the many lesson plans I saw in my career as both headteacher and local authority adviser, very few were effective in advancing pupils' learning. Indeed, the best plans were often the shortest: just outlining the intended outcomes and sketchy routes towards these. Successful lessons are ones where the teacher reacts to the pupils' responses, guiding them carefully in the direction of desired outcomes.

The emphasis on bespoke planning in recent times has led to an almost universal abandoning of textbook use. At a recent conference about maths teaching in Singapore, I learned how textbooks can be used effectively to support all teachers and learners equally. So maybe we need to look again at how textbooks can help, not least in saving teachers many hours of lesson planning, which often don't deliver good learning for pupils.

Frederick Sandall

Retired headteacher and local authority adviser

Short and tweet

Kids from Newmains Primary asking about my job. Thought my job title was First Minister. Sorry, @NicolaSturgeon!

@revlornascot

Sorry, not allowed to send any more pictures of Wizard of Oz - rehearsals in lockdown! #lookinggood #hottestticketintown

@StBrigidsPS

P6 had a brilliant day at Bellahouston Academy. #smoothtransition

@MossparkPS

Great start to the day picking up my dissertation and then an interesting discussion about benefitpoint of homework with @royjosephharris.

@estherbmcmillan

Sam's exam tips 33: Once they're finished, forget them. Have a great summer. You've earned it.

@mysqa_sam

Best first year at @CofGcollege with incredible lecturers for hospitality management, and incredible classmates, too.

@OighrigM

As usual, conferences are about the connections you make with people, not the agenda. Thanks to everyone I met and bumped into at #edutechau.

@tombarrett

Letters for publication in TESS should arrive by 10am Monday. Send your letters, ideally of no more than 250 words in length, including contact address and phone number, by email to scotletters@tesglobal.com or by post to TES Scotland, Thistle House, 21-23 Thistle Street, Edinburgh EH2 1DF. Letters may be edited

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