On average most of our 1-to-1 Maths lessons get taught thousands of times. In the run up to SATs week when we’ve got up to 6,000 pupils plugging gaps, and developing their fluency, reasoning and problem solving with us, we might see a particular lesson has been chosen by teachers or recommended by our diagnostic tools, up to 500 times in a week. So we need to make sure these lessons aren’t just good but great lessons.
We feel very privileged to be able to teach so many pupils each week, but it also means we have a responsibility to make sure our lessons are the best they can be.
Every teacher knows what it’s like to teach a bad lesson once in a while, and inevitably you feel guilty when your class of 30 clearly haven’t ‘got it’ by the end, but generally the damage is fairly contained.
If we were to get a lesson wrong however at Third Space, the impact could be huge.
Fortunately I can confidently say we’ve never got a lesson ‘wrong’, but we’ve definitely had some lessons which weren’t achieving the same remarkable levels of progress (double expected in many cases) as others.
What To Do When A Lesson Needs Improvement
Generally when you feel you’ve taught a less than excellent lesson, unless it’s been observed, you, and potentially your teaching partner, are free to work on it together to improve it and try better next time.
For us, working with so many different schools and tutors, there are more moving parts, so we’ve had to create a very robust process to make sure that for any lesson that doesn’t meet our stringent success criteria can be improved, and improved rapidly.
So to give you more detail on the process, I thought it might be interesting to share a recent piece of work I undertook to improve our Year 6 Lesson on Long Division.