Focused learning walks can sharpen good teachers within days 

“No one is using lesson objectives correctly!” Cried the Director of Learning repeatedly at Leadership.
“We must target this now before bad habits form!”

And so we did.

Get a snapshot
Knowing this concern was not going to go away on its own, I decided to visit the classes whom I line manage in our quest to improve challenge and  ensure lessons have a clear focus and students clearly understand what the focus of the lesson is.

Be transparent … ish
And so I emailed my team of 10 and informed them I’d be visiting lessons over the next 2 weeks to see how the new Key Stage 3 curriculum was looking and offered to feedback on anything of their choice. A few responded. Only the team leader had an inkling about my real focus.

Collecting data
Using a concise check-list of expectations for effective learning objectives, I spent 25 mins in every lesson, tallying the things I observed, the answers I heard, the story in books and the patterns I experienced.

Eight days later, I had my data.

Transfer ownership
In my line management meeting, the team leader and I looked at individual and collective team data from my observations, spotting very clear trends, both positive and negative.
Enjoying the analysis, the team leader was quick to take ownership of the snapshot and plan the CPD to address the current  trends.

Sharing the data
By providing every teacher with an individual profile of their observed lesson and only sharing the team profile collectively, staff were keen to discuss how they could weave their objectives more regularly into lessons, improve book looks and use questions to increase the challenge of the learning objective and its relevance throughout the lesson.

A quick transformation 
Two weeks later I visited classes again, the same check-list in tow. Lessons were focused, students were engaged and teachers were confident. Small changes were having a significant impact and they knew it. As expected, the new data showed a vast improvement individually and across the team creating the perfect platform for praise.

Short lived or long lasting?
Teachers have to juggle so much every lesson, sometimes they just let some of the basics slide. By visually sharing the impact of an observational snapshot and letting teams lead their own CPD, staff feel less pressured and more supported.

The same system has been used since by the team leader to create consistency with standards of discipline, and AFL. For an example of the resources used, look at my middle leadership programme at: www.teacherscpd.co.uk, CPD written by teachers, for teachers to adapt and make their own.

By visually presenting the data from my focused learning walk, staff felt the value of my visits… you could do the same.

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