Good Teacher Behaviour : What inspectors value

Teacher Behaviour

In looking back over previous blogs I found this article about what makes a good teacher and I have decided to repost it as I full agree with the teacher behaviour described by Sir Michael here and we expand on these in our Outstanding lessons INSET training 

John Medlicott, Director JMC

What are good teacher behaviours?

Teacher Behaviour #1 Well Planned


Firstly, planning was everything for them. They planned their lessons so that they knew what they were going to do; knew what resources they were going to deploy, and knew roughly how long each activity would take. But they also understood that planning shouldn’t be too detailed. It was a framework to give them the necessary flexibility to adapt to a different way of teaching at key moments in the lesson when the mood of the class, as it inevitably does, changes. They recognised that the worst lessons are those where the teacher ploughs through the lesson plan irrespective of how well or badly the lesson is going. OFSTED won’t necessarily require a lesson plan when inspectors observe, but they will want to see a planned lesson and there is a difference.

Teacher Behaviour #2 Reflection

Secondly, these two people I’ve mentioned were incredibly reflective teachers who would adapt their lesson plan when things didn’t go well; so at the end of the lesson, or the end of the day, they’d go back to the lesson plan and change it. Because they were reflective people, they knew that they didn’t have the answers to everything and were prepared to learn from others although they were acknowledged by the school to be outstanding teachers. This meant that they talked a lot about their teaching to others, were happy to go into other teachers’ classrooms and were only too willing for other teachers to go into their classrooms. They acknowledged that, no matter how experienced they were, teaching was a learning experience.

Teacher Behaviour #3 Responsive

Thirdly, they were very perceptive people who understood the dynamics of the classroom. They quickly noticed when the pace of the lesson had dropped and when students had become disengaged and children’s attention has started to slacken. They were quick to notice when the classroom hubbub had reached an unacceptable level and Jack the lad was messing about at the back of the room. At the same time, they were quick to spot when a youngster found it difficult to understand the work and needed more help. In other words, they were highly interventionist teachers and knew how to dictate the pace of the lesson.

Teacher Behaviour #4 Understanding progress

Fourthly, they understood the maxim that nothing is taught unless it’s learned. They measured their success, therefore, on whether children were learning and making progress and because they were hugely successful teachers this meant rapid progress. Whenever I observed them teach, they would stop the class at regular intervals and say “I just want to check that you’ve learnt this”. They were all great at picking out the inattentive child to ensure that he or she understood the importance of keeping up.

Teacher Behaviour #5 Resilience

Finally, they were incredibly resilient people who withstood the slings and arrows and the occasional paper dart unflinchingly. They never let failure get the better of them; they learnt from it and came back stronger, tougher and better teachers. They were all in their different ways fierce characters; fierce, not in a repressive or bullying way, but tough on standards. They weren’t authoritarians but they were authoritative. In other words they made sure youngsters knew who was in charge and who was setting the boundaries for acceptable behaviour. Both took a lead in professionally developing others and supported the school’s training programme. Both of them would have said that the leadership of teaching was the most important quality in headship and, of course, I endorse that view. Headship is about leading teaching first and foremost. A good head understands this and is, therefore, more outside his or her office than inside, patrolling the corridor, entering classrooms and engaging teachers and children throughout the school day. Good management is always secondary to good leadership of teaching. I knew both of these teachers well because I did that as a head.

This is a transcript from an interview with Michael Wilshaw HMCI

Tel: +44208 5314182

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