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Outstanding teaching and learning INSET training

Training day refresh of ideas to help you be Outstanding!! Fantastic!

1st day of a new half term, for many of us the most tiring half term in the run up to the Xmas holiday. The session was run by the excellent Robert Powell.

Refreshingly Robert Powell started with the reminder that to have outstanding teaching and learning you don’t need to use the formulaic approach to teaching ‘starter, main, plenary’. You need to find ways to engage the minds, hearts and emotions of students to get them engaged.

Starters don’t need to be a list of objectives and an activity that doesn’t relate well to the rest of the lesson, they can be imaginative stimulus, or well constructed feedback allowing students to simply come in and get on with making their own progress.

Another timely reminder was to think about the questions we ask in class, and how our phrasing of questions related to the answers we receive. If you ask a class “Do you all understand? Are you all able to get on?” are you not potentially asking “Those of you too stupid to understand what I’ve said please identify your selves now!” – No wonder almost every time you’ll get a class full of nodding heads when you ask ” Do you know what to do”. It’s worth thinking of other ways to check students understand what they have to do and make sure you’ve been as clear as you could be in presenting your expectations to them.

Robert’s brilliant reminder that we have students who have 3 responses to questioning was fun and important to be reminded of; those who always want to answer (weather right or wrong) those who’ll look around to see who else is answering, and then those who’ll avoid eye contact to not answer!

The session covered a reange of useful activities, real ‘pick that up and use it tomorrow’ things! (Great type of INSET for a 1st day back) and some thoughtful suggestions about our use of questioning, our classroom environments and the way we design and use group work. All of which is covered in his excellent book, the most benefit I feel must come from hearing him talk in person!!

As an end to the day our department highlighted a list of things from the session we’d take away to explore, they were;

Excellent, inspiring start to the new half term!


  1. This is a really useful form of ‘echo’ of the day. My own experience of the day was clouded by my hearing impairment but your blog has successfully captured the essences of the day and swept aside my subjective responses…! Thanks for sharing your reflections and cartoon skills with us!


    • Pleased you found it useful Rob, as with all training days there are more useful moments than others but I must admit this one was productive & well timed in the year 🙂

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