David Didau’s ‘Perfect’ Lesson Checklist

In this guest post, adapted from his book, ‘The Perfect Ofsted English Lesson’, David provides some little question prompts for when you are designing an outstanding learning experience for our students.

I visited David a few months ago way back in June at his new school, Clevedon Community School.  Upon leaving it was clear that he left an impressionable mark on my teaching and learning philosophies and practises, including upskilling me in the ways of SOLO taxonomy, the Learning Loop and Triple Impact Marking.

David’s approach when working with teachers is that they not only leave with an armful of exciting new ideas to try out in their classrooms combined with an understanding of what underpins those ideas but also a sound understanding of why they should use them.

David is also an Independent Thinking associate, where he is described as a ‘Thinking Teacher’s Teacher’.  Here is his perfect lesson checklist…

The Perfect Lesson Checklist

  • Does the lesson plan relate to the sequence of teaching?
  • Does the planning demonstrate high expectations and challenge?
  • Is the plan appropriate for the learning needs of all groups of students?
  • Is there a safe learning environment?

Start of the lesson:

  • Does the lesson get off to a flying start?
  • Is there a recap of previous learning
  • Are the learning objectives (LO) clear and appropriate in number?
  • Are the LO shared?
  • Are the success criteria clear?
  • Is the learning real?

During the lesson:

  • Is the teaching well paced?
  • Does the teaching hold the learner’s interests?
  • Does the teaching meet a range of learning styles?
  • Does the teaching meet a range of abilities?
  • Does the teaching actively engage learners in the learning process?
  • Are the learners given clear information and guidance throughout?
  • Is there paired or collaborative work?
  • Is questioning used effectively?
  • Are all learners actively involved?
  • Is ther clear feedback given on progress?
  • Is student knowledge and understanding increased?
  • Is there an opportunity for students to demonstrate increased knowledge and understanding?
  • Are reading and writing skills developed?

End of lesson:

  • Are the LO reviewed?
  • Are questions used to check what learning has taken place?
  • Is there feedback? 1. teacher to students, 2. Self assessment, 3. peer assessment
  • Is the next lesson previewed?
  • Is the lesson brought to a clear close?

3 thoughts on “David Didau’s ‘Perfect’ Lesson Checklist

  1. Sounds straightforward and it is. When we got the Ofsted phone call last week these were the questions I asked myself. No replanning necessary just an awareness to make sure that these aspects were clearly demonstrated. The lesson that was observed was not ‘exciting’- no singing and dancing or all round entertainment from me but it did tick all those boxes and I was very happy with the inspector’s comments and verdict. I teach Primary, Year 3.

  2. I really love checklists and this is a great one. Some say you can’t help produce great teaching with checklists and I agree. You can however make sure you get the easy wins which free you up to do the hard stuff.

    One point I’d add is that I like to use “appropriate expectations” instead of “high expectations”. Stretching classes further than they can go is a recipe for disaster. If our best time for the marathon was 4 hours we would be foolish to aim for 2h15min next time round. Teachers are the worst for wanting everything to be perfect immediately. Planning a lesson that is of appropriate challenge to the group it will be used with, is a hard-earned skill.

    Thanks for sharing.

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