See Itslife Library for other reading
(With particular thanks to Rose Smeeton and other staff who have contributed)
We would wish to encourage all teachers in the Lifelong Learning sector to:
What constitutes ‘Outstanding Teaching’ or ‘Teaching Excellence’ is not an uncontested area, as is often the case in Education.
The ‘Collegenet’ web site (2005)used an analysis of over 300 OfSTED inspection reports of FE colleges to describe a ‘Grade 1 Lesson’ as one during which a teacher will:
Ensure an upbeat, enthusiastic welcome. Recap using an active learning technique and involve all.
Set clear aims or a maximum of three key learning points. Link to the syllabus / exam and highlight key skills / Skills for life.
Introduce the topic with a short exposition.
Aim to challenge and inspire and to build rapport.
Use up-to-date information, latest research findings or current commercial activity.
Support with some visuals, handouts, ILT and appropriate resources.
Check for learning and ensure key points are recorded.
Set an individual, paired or group activity to build key skills / skills for life and to help all consolidate learning.
Use planned questions to ensure differentiation and seek answers from all.
Offer positives and praise to each learner.
Summarise learning with an appropriate transition activity (i.e. visual memory aids).
Repeat learning cycle or end with an overall lesson summation.
Conduct a final check on learning against expressed aims.
Set formal homework task or an extended learning task.
Aim to consolidate learning or to introduce a bridge to the next lesson.
Providing a teaching session like this, including all of the above points every time you teach is clearly a very challenging proposition!
The Institute of Education (2007), in a discussion document relating to teaching excellence, outline a more comprehensive view which suggests that “All those engaged in teaching, including research supervision, … are expected to
use a range of pedagogical resources and approaches for teaching and assessment based on an understanding of how students learn, in a way that promotes serious engagement with the curriculum, using student-centred, interactive methodologies that promote independence of thought at all levels, whatever teaching mode is adopted, taking into account student diversity in ability, background and national origin.
and ensure transparency and equity throughout their teaching by:
following the Equal Opportunity policy, including making all reasonable adjustments for students with disabilities;
establishing explicit learning outcomes for student learning;
having a clear and equitable system for students to contact them outside of teaching sessions;
providing timely, detailed formative feedback;
supporting students who encounter difficulty in their learning for any reason;
evaluating their teaching performance regularly via peer feedback, and enhancing teaching and learning as a result;
regularly taking advantage of professional development opportunities.
In addition to this excellent teachers will:
demonstrate creativity and innovation in the design and planning of learning activities;
have excellent communication skills;
demonstrate commitment to scholarship in learning and teaching by publication in this area;
champion learning and teaching in the organisation;
support and collaborate with colleagues so as to share and promote good practice.”
The Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching at the University of Northern Iowa has a nice definition and statement of key principles of teaching and they are below:
Excellent teaching empowers significant student learning about oneself, others, and the world in high-quality learning environments that embody a genuine sense of community.
High-quality learning environments: A learning environment encompasses the physical and social-cultural context within which students and teachers interact. The classroom can be described as a learning environment, but so also can a study room, a residence hall, the campus as whole, or settings beyond the university. Teachers and other students are the most important influences upon student learning environments within the university.
A genuine sense of community: A community is a group of individuals who have shared purposes, values, and/or beliefs. A community connects individuals to one another and to the rest of the world. A learning community can refer to students and teachers in a course or program, a department, a college, a residence hall, the university itself, or groups beyond the university. A genuine sense of community is a feeling that one belongs and is appreciated by other members of the community. A learning community makes connections among teachers, students, subject matter, educational purposes and goals, the university as a whole, and the larger world.
Two general statements identify and summarize significant student learning in terms of undergraduate education and the role of the teacher:
1) "Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education" (AAHE Bulletin, March 1987):
- Encourage student-faculty contact.
- Encourage cooperation among students (sharing backgrounds, use of study groups, peer tutoring).
- Encourage active learning (students may summarize to the class, use role playing or simulations, use field trips or internships).
- Give prompt feedback (prompt, detailed evaluations on performance).
- Emphasize time on task (clarify class preparation expectations, emphasize the need for studying).
- Communicate high expectations.
- Respect different learning styles and talents (create a safe environment where students can ask questions; discourage uncivil remarks; use diverse teaching activities to encompass different learning styles). As quoted in Wilbert J. McKeachie, Teaching Tips (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999), pp. 265-266.
2) The Nature of Teaching:
"A teacher knows something not understood by others, presumably the students. The teacher can transform understanding, performance skills, or desired attitudes or values into pedagogical representations and actions. These are ways of talking, showing, enacting, or otherwise representing ideas so that the unknowing can come to know, those without understanding can comprehend and discern, and the unskilled can become more adept.
"Thus, teaching necessarily begins with a teacher’s understanding of what is to be learned and how it is taught. It proceeds through a series of activities during which the students are provided specific instruction and opportunities for learning, though the learning itself ultimately remains the responsibility of the students. Teaching must properly be understood to be more than the enhancement of understanding [because it also must emphasize reasoning, transformation, and reflection]...." Lee S. Shulman, President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, (February, 1987). “Knowledge and Teaching: Foundations of the New Reform” in Harvard Educational Review 57 (1), p. 7
EXAMPLES OF EXCELLENT / OUTSTANDING TEACHING
Frankie Goldspink and Chris Slann - Hot Learning - from the QIA Excellence Gateway, and well worth looking at. Starts at http://excellence.qia.org.uk/page.aspx?o=130721