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Mike Fleetham Mike's Thinking Classroom Blog


Judging Outstanding Lessons

Last year I ran a session for one of Northern Ireland's top performing grammar schools. The brief was around 'Outstanding Lessons'. In preparation I asked for a copy of the criteria by which the ETI would judge a lesson to be so.

I waited, asked again, waited, asked someone I knew at the CCEA , waited some more, then eventually got the response, "Outstanding is just something you know when you walk in the lesson".

My first thought was that surely this couldn't be right? Surely you needed a tick list of carefully hewn and rigorously evidenced criteria? Surely a 'gut feel' was wooly and subjective and therefore misleading?

My second thought (and it took a few weeks to think it) was that it's not gut feel OR tick list. It's gut feel AND tick list, integrated and meshed together. The gut feel about a lesson, the ethos in a room, and the intuitive a-ha! about the teacher are signs and signals that point towards the criteria on the clipboard.

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