Great Teaching

During the summer break I fell across a blog post by Chris Husbands – Great teachers or great teaching? Why McKinsey got it wrong. The original blog post can be found here

The post resonated with me and got me thinking. I was particularly struck by the equation that Chris produced, by his own omission a little tongue in cheek, but a simple and visual way of summing up the components that work together to create great teaching,

Q = C + E [K(s+ t)] + I.

That is, quality (Q) depends on committed teachers (C), plus effective pedagogy (E), based on subject knowledge (Ks ) plus knowledge of effective teaching (Kt), supplemented by imagination (I).

I really liked that E was split into subject knowledge (Ks ) and knowledge of effective pedagogy (Kt).

But the equation didn’t quite work for me or what I believe is key here at Darton. I am incredibly privileged to have worked alongside some amazing educational minds, those of Ronnie Woods, Dave Whitaker, Hywel Roberts and Mark Finnis have really shaped my thinking over the years and were key to the development of my final equation.

Q = (C+E+I+D)R

*E (Ks+kt)

Quality (Q) depends on committed teachers, C, plus effective pedagogy (E), based on subject knowledge (Ks ) plus knowledge of effective teaching (Kt), discernment (D), supplemented by imagination (I). Powered by relationships (R) which exponentially increases the value of everything inside the brackets.


Relationships are key. Without strong positive and productive relationships in the classroom the effect of everything we do in the classroom is limited.

That is not about being soft or everybodies friend! It’s about creating a culture of high challenge and high support.

Teaching is a complex business! There is no simple formula that we can simply apply that means what happens in classrooms is great and whenever we produce rubrics, equations and criteria there is always a danger it is seen as a tick list or recipe for success. But there are undoubtedly some firm principles on which we can base our practice.

My final thought however is that the most important thing we can be as a teacher is a learner.

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