itOne of the main areas of focus within an observation is to see evidence of “learning being taken place”. It is one of the qualities that is essential to teaching. So, what does this actually mean and how do we achieve it?

The OFSTED framework (CIS) dictates that learning involves, quality of teaching, learning and assessment, personal development, behaviour and welfare and outcomes for children and other learners.

Although, the CIS has been used widely, when looking at the way teaching has begun to change, the OFSTED framework needs to be reconsidered. For example, the CIS states the importance of feedback from the teacher’s perspective. However, it does not take into consideration students feedback. Student’s feedback is as important as it helps teachers become critically effective teacher to enable personal development in terms of teaching. This has been widely documented through Brookfield’s “Becoming a critically reflective teacher” (2017), where he states “the most important pedagogic knowledge we teachers need to do good work is in awareness week in and week out of how our students experiencing learning”. How are we supposed to understand the perspective of the student if we do not ask and simply assume that they are progressing and learning?

I recently, planned a group activity in a revision lesson, which involved incorporating peer group discussion. They were put into groups and given an almost “Rag-rated” sheet where they had to rate their level of confidence for each topic that was taught. 

Capture

Each group was then given a particular question from a topic. They each discussed the theories and then the evaluation points before sharing it with the rest of the group.  At the end of the lesson, I asked the students if they found the activity useful. This is the feedback that i gained:

students

I therefore used this idea again, simply because I could tell that learning was taking place and it was helping student realise what they need to focus on in terms of their revision. If I had simply repeated the lesson because I liked it, I wouldn’t be considering learning from the people who are actually supposed to learn!

This activity also showed that learning has taken place. Not just in terms of student feedback but other factors which Biggs (2011) has highlighted. He has rated, in terms of percentages, to how people generally learn. At the low-end of the scale he commented that only 10% of people will learn through the process of just reading whereas, 70% of learning will take place when they talk it over with others such as the group activity above. He also stated that people learn the most by teaching others (90%).

Although, I planned a group discussion I did not however look at ways they could teach others. On reflection, I could have given them a question where they could peer assess, and then give feedback to each other. I could then ask why they were given that feedback. This would have added the important aspect of “teaching others”.

P1, P2, P6, PS9, PS8

OFSTED “Further Education And Skills Inspection Handbook” available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/608481/Further_education_and_skills_inspection_handbook_for_use_from_April_2017.pdf

Biggs, J. and Tang, C. (2011). Teaching For Quality Learning At University. 4th ed. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education.

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