The most important reason as to why ‘Quality First Teaching’ is integral (which all teachers and leaders must recognise, of course) in ensuring all classrooms are succcessful learning environments, is due to its direct opposition to quality second teaching: in QFT, quality comes first, as opposed to second.
But what is QFT? Putting quality first requires quality teaching to be placed above – and beyond – poor quality teaching. It necessitates quality teaching, and so could be argued to be the next step from quality second teaching. This, I would argue, is a misunderstanding of the hierarchical complexities of quality teaching, being, as they are, subsumed within quality teaching itself. Thus the idiosyncrasies of QFT are both inimical to, and conjoined with, the practice of putting quality first as opposed to second, rather than building on quality second teaching, in which quality teaching necessarily comes second to poor, or poorer, quality teaching.
The question which arises next is this: by which matrices do we recognise and judge QFT? If we take as an establishment of quality its very nature we can easily remove anything which obstructs the visibility of QFT. Stories are created, presented and evidenced through quality’s position both at the forefront, and as the driver of, teaching. Thus QFT becomes fully observable through its very practice.
Finally, how can school leaders best support their staff body to teach with quality at the heart of, rather than as an addendum to, teaching? School leaders would do best to promote quality first teaching through the promotion of quality practices, such as planning, teaching and assessing effectively. In this way teachers are free to put quality first, rather than second. Planning poor quality lessons, for example, might well be a bad idea. On the other hand, planning quality lessons will most likely be more effective over time.