Officially, an 'outstanding' lesson starts with the teacher sharing his or her objectives with the students. Most of the time I tend to do this in a completely informal way, simply reminding them what we did last time and stating where we're going. Quickly. However, when The Inspectors are calling, I write three objectives on the board.
Thus, during our last inspection I found myself writing on the board the bizarre phrase:
'Secret third objective.'
I really can't remember what objectives one and two were. But the point of the last part of the lesson was for students to realise the necessity for something (it was an IT lesson.) I wanted them to understand that this thing was necessary because they had discovered the need for it themselves. The lesson was an adventure, a discovery, a confrontation. At the climactic moment, one of them would, I hope, say 'But this isn't working.' I would then have said 'OK, let's try and work out what will!' I hoped that a lesson learned this way would be a profound learning experience. If I had put the objectives on the board, there would have been no opportunity for them to make that leap for themselves.
How often we lose our collective nerve in our forced attempts to quantify everything: a good lesson must be X, must be Y, must contain Z. This is just a tiny example but it should make us question the recipes and formulae that we are often forced to use as we try to create good quality learning experiences.
The reason I mention this today is that I have just read this article on the very same matter. Go Philip Beadle!
PS The Inspectors didn't come in to that lesson. Wish I could say I was disappointed.