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Sunday, 16 November 2014

Marking - Keeping it Simple

Teaching is a rewarding and challenging profession. Teachers are instrumental in the type of future their pupils will have, it is an influential profession. Teachers are therefore understandably scrutinised. The problem is this scrutiny has been incessant. It seems everyone has an opinion on the subject of teaching with study after study, recommendations on teaching and learning, changes to the curriculum, new teaching standards, changes to Ofsted inspections, lesson gradings and the gradings of teaching. It is not surprising therefore that many teachers are at best confused and at worst stressed and burnt out.    

In a recent blog post Are we Overthinking Teaching? I suggested that we should leave teachers to choose their own teaching style, to trust them as professionals to teach the way they teach and not to conform to a certain teaching style. In fact Ofsted we were told, as of the new academic year 2014 would no longer grade individual lessons.  

Could this be true? Teachers across the country cautiously celebrated. They were right to be cautious. The new 'push', 'drive' to improve teaching and learning is here ...... Marking and Feedback. Teachers have always marked pupils work so what is the problem? 

The opinions, suggestions, studies ........... Yet again teachers need to be told how to mark, how much to mark, to allow their pupils time to feedback on the marking, to ensure the marking is informative, provides next steps. The list is yet again endless. Again teachers become confused and unsure of how best to do something they have done well for years.

Teacher call for marking guidance from Ofsted

Teacher Swamped by Marking Heads Claim

Sadly all of this not only leads to teachers disillusionment but is also makes teachers look like moaners, constant complainers! Perhaps they are, perhaps though this is again because of the over scrutiny. Why oh why cant teachers be trusted, taken out of the spotlight for a while? Let teachers catch their breath, get a handle on the new curriculum and do what they do best, TEACH!

This government is emphatically on the side of teachers. We are freeing teachers from the constraints of government bureaucracy - and we want to go even further. We have challenged the orthodoxies that have undermined the teaching profession; and we are working to put evidence right at the heart of our education system to free teachers from having to kow-tow to such orthodoxies.