“When the timing is right, the ability to learn a particular task will be possible. This is referred to as a ‘teachable moment.’ It is important to keep in mind that unless the time is right, learning will not occur. Hence, it is important to repeat important points whenever possible so that when a student’s teachable moment occurs, s/he can benefit from the knowledge.” Havighurst, Robert.

Looking at the definition from Havighurst’s Human Development and Education, you can be forgiven for thinking that teachers might want to take a scatter-gun approach to lessons – peppering pupils with information over and again in the hope of catching a few of them at their teachable moment.

Looking back, I reckon nearly all of us have fond memories of a particular schoolteacher, one who really touched us with their teaching. Some just had the knack; the Miss Honey type characters that spoke to our inner soul, lacing every lesson with beads of inspiration. Teachers like that are a rare breed and always have been. Under their wing, every lesson is one long teachable moment.

So with Ofsted’s annual report just published, teaching standards in our schools are under the microscope once more after inspectors labelled some lessons ‘dull and uninspiring’. The report also noted that schools where teaching was weak were prone to bad behaviour.

There’s some debate over how to read this year’s figures however, which are not directly comparible to those of last year due to a change in tactics by the inspection team. This year there was no re-inspection for schools that rated good or outstanding in the last round, meaning those that were inspected are likely to be lower performing schools.

Tomorrow Michael Gove will unveil his much anticipated white paper on school reform, and it’s thought teacher training will face its biggest shake-up for a generation as training is moved away from universities and into schools. Gove has already said teachers in free schools won’t need formal qualifications. (Is this really the way to improve the quality of teaching, already found wanting by the Ofsted report?)

We want to know how you feel about standards of teaching you’ve experienced: Do you think an academic qualification is a necessity in order to give prospective teachers a solid grasp of their subject, or will in-house, on the job training suffice?

Let us know how you feel in the comment box below.

At Superprof, we’re doing what we can to help kids out when they’re stuck. With an assignment due in the morning and no-one around to help, Superprof steps in to guide them through at the time when they need to learn; at the time when they want to learn.

The teachable moment.

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A vagabond traveler whose first love is the written word, I advocate for continuous learning, cycling, and the joy only a beloved pet can bring. There is plenty else I am passionate about, but those three should do it, for now.