What does an Outstanding lesson plan look like?


As an INSET trainer I get asked this question all the time. When teachers attend courses or are observed by me as part of my consultancy work in schools they quite rightly want to take away more than ideas, they want strategies and resources and the “outstanding lesson plan” is like the Golden Fleece in that regard.

Lessons of course should we well planned. Inspectors and other observers are looking to see that teachers have used assessment to understand exactly where their pupils are and that this has informed their planning, after all this is what any mentor would teach a PGCE, GTP or NQT, but can this be judged by the plan?
Outstanding lessons feature activities that are fit for purpose. Under previous frameworks teaching was the prime focus not learning and so teachers were expected to perform like circus acts. OFSTED still expects the lesson to be engaging, but the activities must be relevant. Unless an activity has a good chance of leading accurately and quickly to what needs to be learned then there is little point in doing it.
So where can you find outstanding lesson plans to share with your department? There are plenty of publications out there that claim to fit the bill, as well as resources on the TES kindly provided by colleagues who are keen to share best practice; if you were to teach one of these would the observer be likely to judge you as outstanding? In a word – no! They may give you a few ideas, but there is no such thing as a standard format for a grade 1 lesson, teachers are judged on the quality of the decisions they make.
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