Lesson Planning Reference



The Learning Scientists

This emphasis on thinking about what the students are learning aligns with the extremely worthwhile read: What makes great teaching? Review of the underpinning research.
Robert Coe, Cesare Aloisi, Steve Higgins and Lee Elliot Major
October 2014. And have a look at these comments from Year 9 on good maths teachers!

The Great Teaching Toolkit Evidence Review, June 2020 is an important read and part of an ongoing project.

Thinking also about observing lessons I have been reading various articles and blogs and came across David Didau’s ‘Where Lesson Observations Go Wrong’. Many of David’s comments really struck a chord with me, particularly his comment ‘no one knows my kids in my classroom like I do‘. That is so true; I think we would all like to think that any observer coming into our lesson has that in mind. If I observe a lesson in any capacity I want the teacher to know that I appreciate how well they know their students. Note David’s updates since writing that post: Ofsted has stopped grading individual lessons and his most recent post on the subject.

I do like David’s suggested questions (reproduced below – thank you David) for observation feedback – questions like this make for a good conversation between the observer and class teacher. If I have planned my lesson properly, thinking about all the aspects mentioned in the five minute plan above then I should easily be able to answer these questions and in fact be glad to be asked them. The questions emphasize quite rightly that this is but one lesson in a sequence of lessons and only a tiny snapshot of my interaction with that class.
  • Where does this lesson fit into your sequence of teaching?
  • What have students had to learn in order to get to this point?
  • What did they already know?
  • How will you develop what students have done so far?
  • How might the next lesson be adapted in light of what happened this lesson?
  • How do you know if students are making progress?
  • Why did you make the decision you made today?
  • Is there anything you might do differently?.

These questions are useful for reflection – have an imaginary conversation with yourself even if you are not being observed. Actually come to think of it – isn’t that best of all – to get really good at observing ourselves?!

And always keep Professor Robert Coe’s poor proxies for learning in mind.
Poor Proxies for Learning

Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction
Rosenshine’s ‘Principles of Instruction‘ provides a very valuable list of research strategies teachers should know about and I believe it is well worth asking ourselves if we are incorporating these strategies regularly into our lessons. This UNESCO pamphlet on the Principles offers further reading and for a very clear summary of these principles of instruction, see olicav.com, Oliver Caviglioli’s wonderful resources including poster summaries of educational ideas. Scroll through the Poster collection for Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction – Tom Sherrington has turned the ten strategies into a more powerful poster, chunked into four stages of a lesson.Oliver Caviglioli - Tom Sherrington poster

Links to resources:

What makes great teaching? A very readable review of the underpinning research. Robert Coe, Cesare Aloisi, Steve Higgins and Lee Elliot Major. October 2014

The report lists six common components suggested by research that teachers should consider when assessing teaching quality. The authors state that “This should be seen as offering a ‘starter kit’ for thinking about effective pedagogy. Good quality teaching will likely involve a combination of these attributes manifested at different times; the very best teachers are those that demonstrate all of these features.”

Research in 100 Words

Research in 100 Words from Chris Moyse who descibes this series as “Simple summaries for busy teachers”. Also from Chris, his favourite research articles in one collection.

Further Links

On Nrich, see this by Jenni Way on using questioning to stimulate mathematical thinking, with an addendum also which includes ideas for questions to use for student investigation. Not just for Maths but applicable to any subject I’d recommend very highly the Brighton and Hove Assessment for Learning  project – Questions worth asking