What do Outstanding Lessons Look Like?

Outstanding lessons tend to be the ones that students enjoy the most.  It is often during these lessons that their hunger for learning is awakened and they are fully engaged.

Below, I have outlined some of the key elements of outstanding lessons to help you to incorporate or expand on some of these ideas in the lessons that you teach.

Set the Context:

The lesson should almost always begin with a recap of the previous lesson or an introduction to the new unit.  This ensures that students are fully up to speed and ready for the topic that will be covered in today’s lesson.

Set Clear Lesson Objectives:

It is vital that you know exactly what you are trying to achieve during the course of the lesson.  These objectives should be shared with students in a way that they can understand.  The objectives should be revisited during the lesson, allowing students to chart their progress and enabling you to ensure that the lesson is on track.

Use Clear Explanations:

Language should be a tool for communication, not a barrier.  Be careful to use accessible language whilst developing subject vocabulary and revisit the meanings of new words as often as is necessary to make every student comfortable with their use.

Assessment:

Carry out appropriate assessment of understanding and progress throughout your lessons.  This may be brief and informal but it should never be missing.  Without assessing progress regularly it is impossible to ensure that your lesson is providing a valuable learning opportunity to your students.

Feedback:

Give your students regular and unambiguous feedback on their progress whether this is better, worse, or equal to what you would have expected.  You can feedback to the whole class, to groups or to individuals as appropriate.

Variety:

Outstanding lessons will invariably draw on a wide range of teaching and learning activities in order to tap into the learning styles of the different students in the class.  A variety of activities will also keep your students engaged and motivated and help them to approach the same topic in a variety of different ways and gain new viewpoints on it.

Evaluate:

Take time at the end of the lesson to evaluate with your students, to what extent the lesson objectives have been achieved.  You can also talk to them a little about what will be covered in the next lesson to begin to form a bridge for their continuous learning.

Do you think there is anything missing from this list?  Please share your ideas and good practice by commenting.

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