Thursday, 19 April 2012

Outstanding lesson plans?

There is a thread on the TES MFL forum called "Outstanding lesson plan" in which a GTP student asked for an example of an outstanding lesson plan.

Obviously, this teacher is ambitious and wants to do a good job and I applaud her for this.

The thing I can't quite get my head around is the fact that a trainee teacher is expecting, or being expected by someone, to plan, and teach, outstanding lessons.

Teaching is not something you can just turn up and do and be brilliant at.

I could produce a lesson plan and tell you that I followed it and was deemed outstanding. Another teacher could follow it to the letter and be deemed satisfactory, or worse.

If I follow Jamie Oliver's soufflé recipe to the letter will I become an outstanding chef?

Of course, not.

Can you learn to ride a bike by reading a book called, "How to ride a bike"?


There is no holy grail of lesson plans. There's no quick fix. It's hard work.

Becoming a good teacher takes a lot of time and experience.

On the odd occasion when I have taught an outstanding lesson, there have still been parts of it I have been not too happy about and would change for the next time.

Like many teachers, I am my own worst critic.

Teaching is a vocation in which, I would hope, we are all constantly learning and trying to improve.

Don't try to plan outstanding lessons. Try to plan lessons where the students do the most of the work, prove that they have understood, are showing progression, and enjoying themselves.

If you really want to know if your lesson was OK, ask yourself this: "Would I be happy if my child had been in that lesson?"

Then ask yourself, "Why?"


swissie said...

Spot on, Dom. You've summarised exactly what I was thinking. But people (especially inexperienced or insecure) will always be looking for shortcuts - I guess at least they are looking into perfecting themselves, which is better than accepting mediocrity or being unaware of it.
The problem is when management start demanding outstanding lesson plans and outstanding SOW, and you have to explain to them that there's no such thing...

Dom said...

Thanks for your comment, swissie. It's nice to know I'm not alone.

José Picardo said...

I really couldn't agree more. On all counts.

jonthom66 said...

The key bit for lesson-planning is the para near the end starting "don't try to plan outstanding lessons" - good summary.

Aurelie said...

I was quite shocked when I saw this too. As if there was a holy grail. I do understand why people are so keen to be outstanding as my union rep told me of a teacher who was dismissed through competency though he had satisfactory lessons constantly!

Isabelle Jones said...

Thanks for writing this, Dom. Likewise, an outstanding lesson does not necessarily make you an outstanding teacher. Maybe we should all stop to try and get the badge and focus on the long run...

Anonymous said...

This idea & thread on the TES has some really interesting and thought provoking comments. There are arguments for each side, I agree that we're all learning all the time and I doubt I'll ever 'get there' but I like to think I'm heading in some sort of direction!
I like how you sum up what to focus on.

Dom said...

Thanks to all of you for the comments. It's nice to know I'm not alone in my thinking.

Unknown said...

Just discovered this! Brilliant. Will follow in future, as I'm getting the hang of this technology stuff now. Any good recipes for Christmas leftovers? French and German teacher, Leicester - recently psychologically separated from job but now in LOVE with it again.

Dom said...

Thanks for the comment, Carol. It's great to know people are actually reading this. As for the leftovers, I give mine to the dogs ;)