This is the introduction to our first Learning and Teaching Journal – The Montsaye Approach:
This is a great time to be a teacher. After years of graded observations and fads that suggested every lesson needed to be differentiated for every single student or that we needed to plan lessons that always incorporated the three – or even seven, eight or nine – differing learning styles we are returning to an environment where professionals are trusted to act professionally.
Ofsted has been blamed for much of the nonsense that has been purveyed as ‘advice’ over the last few years, although I think that much of this was really driven by Senior Leadership Teams trying to second guess what Ofsted wanted to see. This month Ofsted has released an update on the Inspection Handbook for School Inspectors that says that they will:
- Review … how Ofsted reports are written to avoid creating ‘fads’ in certain practices
This seems a pretty unequivocal invocation for teachers to do what they think is best. John Hattie, a professor of Education from New Zealand – more of him later in this bulletin – says that the most important thing for a teacher is to ‘know thy impact’: don’t do what you think is right, do that which you can prove makes a difference.
This is definitely not a suggestion that we should not have concern for what we have learnt about teaching over the last twenty years of increasing prescription, but it is a plea to keep asking ourselves WHY we are doing it not HOW we should do it. Our lessons should:
- Have a good pace for learning
- Allow for all learners in the class to make progress
- Intrigue and engage from the start
- Share in an appropriate manner the learning objectives
- Regularly check the progress made by all students
- Be characterised by outstanding relationships
But, of course, the way that we do this cannot be standardised and is dependent upon the students, the subject and the topic. And, of course, the teacher.