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What is ‘outstanding’ teaching?

Watch this video on what makes outstanding teaching and learning and some of the controversy around defining such a concept.
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You have already thought about your best teachers from school and why you enjoyed or remembered their lessons. But your reasons for liking these teachers are really varied. We cannot just decide how good a teacher is by how much their pupils enjoyed their lessons, as nice as that may be. Fun lessons where everyone is having a good time probably won’t actually bring about the best academic attainment. But if the teacher is too focused on academic attainment, and the children are not engaged, then again, the outcomes might not be great. There are many factors that determine what makes a good or an outstanding teacher. In England, we have a system called the Teaching Standards. Most other countries have something similar.
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These are an agreed set of criteria to make judgments about teachers. You can usually find these online, and it might be useful to read them before you apply for teaching.
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In England, we have eight teaching standards. These include having high expectations for our learners and their progress, having good subject knowledge, being able to plan lessons, and then adapt our teaching for different types of learners. Being able to assess pupils, being able to manage their behaviour, and then all of our wider professional responsibilities. Many of these actually overlap. For example, you can’t plan a good lesson if you haven’t got the right subject knowledge, and you can’t ensure pupil progress if you don’t ever carry out any assessment. If the level of work is too hard or too difficult, the children might misbehave, and then if it’s too easy, they might get bored.
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As a result, some people dispute the belief that it’s possible to grade teachers effectively on such a set of criteria. The most outstanding teachers are those that reflect honestly on their practice and they take on board feedback and ideas from others. Those teachers constantly ask themselves the difficult questions about the pupil progress, the pupil engagement, and their own input into the lesson. As a result of their reflection, they revise their practice and keep developing all the time. An outstanding teacher is never a finished article, but one who is constantly striving to do their best for their learners. One way to consider this is called the teaching and learning cycle. Plans something, teach it, assess it, and then evaluate and adapt.
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As all children are individual, and there are so many factors that can impact on what helps them to learn, the best teachers are always those who reflect. By working on this course, you are already taking a thoughtful and a reflective approach to teaching, which will give you a fantastic head start.
Ellie Overland outlines the different measures that can be used to make judgements about the effectiveness of teachers. She also goes on to explain the importance of reflection and how the best teachers are always reviewing and developing their practice.
Watch this video and think about how you might become an outstanding teacher yourself.
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