At the invitation of the Cambridge Assessment agency, a group of experts gathered at Westminster to pool their research knowledge and grapple towards a definition of a "good teacher".
Professor Patricia Broadfoot, a former Professor of Education and now vice-chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire, argued persuasively that the evidence from international studies showed that "the highest quality teaching and learning comes when we have the greatest autonomy for the teacher and the learner".
The good teacher, she went on, was someone who was "left to get on with what they think their students need".
This certainly sounded like a rejection of the prescriptive approach of the national curriculum and the numeracy and literacy strategies. Professor Broadfoot went on to propose a much more child-centred approach.
While insisting she was not advocating a "soft and fluffy" style of teaching, she argued that research showed that a good teacher had to engage with "the powerfully charged emotional relationship between teacher and pupil".
So, for Professor Broadfoot, the key ingredients of good teaching included: creating an atmosphere of mutual respect and fairness in the classroom, providing opportunities for "active learning" and humour to encourage pupil engagement, making learning interesting, and explaining things clearly.