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Great Lessons

This category contains 10 posts

Great Lessons 10: Joy

This series on teaching Great Lessons is all about the habits of day-to-day teaching; our instincts; our default-mode…. the things we do automatically.   I want to suggest that one of the most important habits of a Great Teacher teaching Great Lessons is to find joy in what they’re doing and in what the students … Continue reading

Great Lessons 9: Possibilities

“The sky’s the limit”…… It’s a wonderful motivating phrase.  It suggests that anything is possible; that there are no limits.  To infinity and beyond and all that….   As I’ve discussed already in Differentiation and Challenge and Journeys, the straight-jacket of one-size-fits-all learning activities is deadly.  In Great Lessons, it should be our default-setting to think … Continue reading

Great Lessons 8: Awe

Take a look at this image. The Hubble Ultra Deep Field, photographed over several days in 2003-4. As explained by Professor Brian Cox, in this patch of sky, the size of a thumbnail placed 75 feet away, there are over 10,000 objects, invisible to the naked eye. Each object is not a star..but a galaxy, … Continue reading

Great Lessons 7: Agility

I spent a while thinking of one word that could capture the spirit of this post. AGILITY. It does the job. It’s all about the ability to adapt, to change course, to respond, to deal with multiple simultaneous demands, to keep up with all the individual students’ journeys, to be spontaneous and flexible and to … Continue reading

Great Lessons 6: Explaining

At the core of a great teacher’s skill-set is the ability to explain the concepts, theories and techniques that make up their subject.  On the reputational scale, there is no doubt that teachers who explain things well, making the complex simple, score highly as Great Teachers.  I’ve observed countless lessons where the teacher exposition accelerated … Continue reading

Great Lessons 5: Journeys

This series of posts is about the habits of excellent practice; the things we do every day in the classroom; the attitudes and dispositions we need to have in order to embed excellent practice into our routines – our default mode. This post is about journeys.  In terms of learning, students are continually on the … Continue reading

Great Lessons 4: Differentiation

The aim of this series of posts is to focus on the habits of excellent practice; our default mode.  As I have said elsewhere, every class is a mixed ability class so, regardless of our views on selection or setting, all teachers need to cater for students with a range of skills, aptitudes and dispositions.  … Continue reading

Great Lessons 3: Challenge

Number 3 in the Great Lessons series: Great Lessons 1: Probing   Great Lessons 2: Rigour These posts focus on the habits of great teaching; not one-off strategies but the things we do every day. 3. Challenge: Subtitle 1:  The thrill of the chase. Subtitle 2:  No struggle; no learning Subtitle 3:  Beware the Buzz that … Continue reading

Great Lessons 2: Rigour

This series of posts is about the habits of teaching; the things we do every day; the strategies and attitudes that define our default mode. These are the characteristics of lessons that feel outstanding as soon as you walk in… no tricks, no gizmos, just embedded routine practice. The first was about Probing Questions.  This … Continue reading

Great Lessons 1: Probing

Introduction In all the talk of improving teaching and learning, sometimes – no often – there is too much talk about the model OfSTED lesson.  Too often this leads teachers into thinking of idealised lessons than can only be turned out in special circumstances or that Outstanding lessons require us to devise an elaborate box … Continue reading

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