Let’s Talk About Teaching by @TeacherToolkit

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Let's Talk About Teaching


Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
Read more about @TeacherToolkit

Today, I delivered one of my first CPD sessions to all teaching staff at my school. This blog shares the key headlines and the resource in full.

Back in May 2014, I blogged about Peer-to-peer ‘fear or hear’ CPD and explained that Peer to peer hear, is akin to the current model of TeachMeets and what most digital-savvy teachers have all grown to love. Sharing and hearing from other colleagues on CPD that matters is slowly starting to filter into staff training sessions in schools. Peer-to-peer fear is a TeachMeet style training event organised by teachers or by a CPD leader for their staff only; within your own school. I’m sure there will be variations (from readers), such as a keynote speaker and a TeachMeet concept tied into the end of a typical INSET day and so forth, but the peer-to-peer fear event put simply; is all staff attending and sharing in front of their peers – and attached to this model, is a fear of doing so.

This can be a nerving experience for many colleagues and is one challenge I’d like all staff to overcome as we move towards an open, transparent and equitable process to support teaching and learning and staff development. Today, I think I struck a fine balance between both models of CPD as I pitched some very pertinent questions to my colleagues.

  1. What is a Good Teacher?
  2. How do you know?
  3. How do you evidence this?
  4. What is Progress Over Time?

Over the course of the coming term, I’d like colleagues to answer these questions and develop a common framework that is supportive and also raises standards. The Powerpoint resource I have attached, converted into a PDF, shares our full discussion. This was the launch of our first 2014-15 CPD session that will take place every week. The questions posed above are no more than what they are, until we establish what we would like to do as a group of staff to develop teaching and learning to support our students in our school. We discussed the fine balance between the need to raise standards, yet support all members of staff in their own professional development.

The key questions raised, provoked the validity and reliability of one-off lesson judgements, as well as the important Open versus Closed methodology of observing teaching and learning I have previously blogged about in my 2-part ‘Getting It Right’ series on lesson observations without gradings.


The resource was delivered over 1 hour 30 minutes. It is supported with 8 handouts and 4 video clips. I have copied the 4 videos below and indicated on what slide they feature. As for the resources, if you would like a copy of what I shared with staff in each envelope, then please get in touch.


  1. Blank piece of paper.
  2. Teacher Standards 2012.
  3. The 5 Minute Marking Plan.
  4. The 5 Minute Lesson Plan
  5. A free IPEVO camera for classrooms.
  6. Improving the quality of marking via @headguruteacher’s blog, Making Feedback Count.
  7. The 5 Minute Lesson Review.
  8. An Open Classroom sign for classroom doors. Preview here.
  9. And some further reading. What is a Good teacher?

Click to download the presentation What is a Good teacher? by @TeacherToolkit. It is a very large file, so it may take a moment to download. Alternatively, click the image below.

What is a Good Teacher

Video references:

There are 4 videos associated with various pages:

Video 1 / Slide 29: What is a Good Teacher? Play this from 0.58 seconds up until 3 minutes 25 seconds.


Video 2 / Slide 128

This is a new piece of lesson planning software we are using this year. MINT class offers an online seating plan platform for tracking students across the school from teacher to teacher.

MINT class


Video 3 / Slide 136: This is a snippet from one of my own lesson observations of myself, and is from my bank of IRIS Connect footage – Lesson reflection and review by @TeacherToolkit. Click the image to play the file. The context for the video can be found in the prior weblink.

Using IRIS Connect in class
Using IRIS Connect in class


Video 4 / Slide 139: And finally on the 3rd to last slide, this fabulous video by Taylor Malik; ‘What Teachers Make?’ is a great summary about what teachers do and the impact they make on children, every single day. It’s the perfect motivational end if you have not yet seen it.


Do let me know if you need anything explained.

Regarding Ofsted and lesson gradings, having just experienced Ofsted and the customer end of no-more grades, I have set up plans with Ofsted’s @MCladingbowl and ASCL’s @BrianLightman to organise a session for schools, leaders and teachers before the end of the Autumn term. Watch this space …


6 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Teaching by @TeacherToolkit

  1. Pingback: Education Panorama (October ’14) by @TeacherToolkit | @TeacherToolkit
  2. The video from Taylor Mali made me cry! Thank you I will share this is our staff meeting as we are in a bit of a post OFSTED slump at the moment.

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