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The latest Opening Minds Action Research explores the connections between planning and delivery for OM lessons and achieving outstanding lessons. It also looked at how schools can best assess the development of competences. Through interviews, focus groups and observations in five schools, the study revealed several common features of OM lessons that had the potential to contribute to outstanding learning and teaching.

There emerged several common features of OM lessons which had the potential to contribute to outstanding teaching and learning. In addition, several teacher behaviours were identified as having link to outstanding criteria.

This action research project was successful in answering two questions that were identified as important for developing the practice within other schools:

 1) What can we learn about the connections between planning and delivery for OM lessons and achieving outstanding lesson?

2) How can schools best asses development of competencies?

In conclusion, the project illustrated a range of approaches to balancing content and skills, and also that OM based research and professional development activity has the power to surface important issues and to demonstrate how issues can be overcome in their own and in other OM contexts. 

The project illustrated a range of approaches to balancing content and skills and identified a number of factors that have the potential to contribute to achieving an outstanding lesson including: 

  • In-depth analysis of the interaction between teachers and students in relation to Ofsted criteria for outstanding lessons;

  • Collaborative target-setting, self-assessment and peer-assessment to establish clearly what practice worked and what needed to change; and 

  • Opportunities to extend staff confidence and understanding of all competences.

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