Excellence in the UK classroom

image of students in room Article

Excellence in the UK classroom

What does good teaching look like in English classrooms?

Teachers can often find themselves in a ‘catch-22’ situation when it comes to lesson planning. Delivering high-quality lessons requires careful preparation and detailed planning especially if you’re adjusting to the curriculum. However, while managing international relocation as well as a challenging workload, teachers might find planning to be time-consuming and burdensome.

For the past few years Ofsted, the English regulator, and the Department for Education have taken the view that school staff should focus on what matters most in their jobs, and continue to be passionate about giving students the best start in life. They agree that the best teachers don’t spend too much of their  time and energy planning. They suggest that the key to a successful lesson is the way it responds to student need, and how the teacher fills the gaps in their learning.

Starting with the basics, breaking the lesson down into manageable portions is a must. Set the scene with an entry task to introduce your topic and establish the correct tone for the lesson.

Pacing the lesson correctly is also crucial. Every teacher must take into account the needs of the most able in contrast with those who struggle to grasp the concepts.

Some teachers prepare too much content – they aim to occupy and challenge students constantly. It can be a mistake, though, to leap from one activity to the next. You may think your students are engaged and productive, but without time to think and reflect, you may actually restrict their progression.

Fortunately, many teachers in the UK have been using ‘The 5 Minute Lesson Plan’ since 2007. The universally relevant, A4 plan, complete with graphic prompts, was developed by Ross Morrison McGill, an education blogger with more than 4 million readers. 

The helpful plan provides context by asking how does the lesson fit into the scheme of work and taking into account what knowledge pupils have already. It also highlights the importance of an engaging ‘hook’ to draw pupils in – luring them into the lesson. 

There’s space to jot down Assessment for Learning strategies which, used properly will allow students to see progress.  @TeacherToolkit introduces a Winnie the Pooh-inspired strategy – ‘pose, pause, pounce, bounce’ as a discussion starter and resource for open questions.

Since the initial 5 Minute Lesson Plan, Morrison McGill has made regular amendments. In 2016, literacy and numeracy prompts were added, to reflect their importance. In 2019 it was relaunched with a focus on desktop or handheld devices in order to speed up the process.

Morrison McGill, Hourglass and Pertemps Education, invite you to join the thousands of teachers in over 140 countries who have given his plan a go.  

Get in Touch

Don’t forget that we would also be interested to hear whether it works for you – drop us a line to let us know.  In the meantime, good luck and happy planning!