Small Goals, Big Impact


Matt Tiplin, the VP of ONVU Learning and former MAT senior leader, teacher and Ofsted inspector emphasises that small, attainable goals in teacher development enhance education quality, contrasting big changes with incremental improvements. 


In the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, educational focus is growing due to economic diversification. For instance, the UAE education market is projected to grow by 9.45% in four years. 


Small-scale professional development, like regular workshops and self-reflection, can effectively improve teaching, helping teachers adapt and support diverse student needs. 


This approach, inspired by Sir Dave Brailsford’s marginal gains philosophy in British Cycling, fosters sustainable growth and addresses challenges in recruiting and retaining teachers, especially in a competitive market.


Where I went wrong with my lesson observations


ONVU Learning’s Matt Tiplin, a former MAT senior leader, Teacher and Ofsted inspector, critiques traditional lesson observations in education, highlighting their inefficiency in truly fostering teacher and student improvement.


He points out that these observations often add unnecessary stress to teachers, misaligning with the aim of enhancing teaching practices. From his experience, Matt identifies the main issue as the lack of alignment between the observation’s goals and the teacher’s development needs. He suggests that simplifying the objectives and fostering a collaborative approach to setting these goals can lead to more meaningful feedback and teacher development.


Additionally, Matt challenges the effectiveness of traditional observation structures and the assumptions made about learning during these sessions. He argues that snapshots provided by infrequent observations fail to capture the nuanced and dynamic nature of teaching, leading to potentially inaccurate judgments about a teacher’s effectiveness. Matt also notes the Hawthorne Effect’s impact, where the observer’s presence influences teacher and student behaviour, further questioning the reliability of traditional observation methods.


Advocating for a shift towards more frequent, focused observations, Matt believes in empowering teachers through constructive feedback, ultimately aiming for authentic teaching and learning experiences that drive real improvement.


Classroom Life: An eye on CPD

The article discusses the innovative approach taken by Aston University Engineering Academy (AUEA) for teacher development, emphasising teacher autonomy and practical insights into teaching methods.


The academy, led by David Chapman, has implemented classroom camera technology from ONVU Learning, giving teachers control over recording their lessons. This tool allows them to reflect on their teaching, understand why certain methods work for some pupils but not others, and identify areas for improvement.


The technology helps teachers spot subtle indicators of student engagement and understanding, which can be overlooked during live teaching enabling their teachers to adjust their lessons to maintain student engagement or take steps to manage a challenging group of students more effectively.


The article underscores the importance of teacher-led analysis in improving teaching practices. By focusing more on learning than teaching, teachers at AUEA have been able to refine their methods, leading to increased student engagement and more effective lessons. This approach has fostered a more positive, collaborative, and self-reflective culture among teachers, enhancing their professional development.


Click the link below and go to pages 24-25 to access the complete article.