There is some confusion about what a lesson plan* is and is not. A worksheet is not a lesson plan. A handout is not a lesson plan. A classroom game or activity is not a lesson plan. In fact, there is no need for a lesson plan to ever be seen, touched, considered or dreamed of by students, and nor does it even need to exist on paper or disk, though it usually does. A lesson plan is a teacher’s plan for teaching a lesson. It can exist in the teacher’s mind, on the back of an envelope, or on one or more beautifully formatted sheets of A4 paper.
Its purpose is to outline the “programme” for a single lesson. That’s why it’s called a lesson plan. It helps the teacher in both planning and executing the lesson. And it helps the students, unbeknownst to them, by ensuring that they receive an actual lesson with a beginning, a middle and an end, that aims to help them learn some specific thing that they didn’t know at the beginning of the lesson (or practise and make progress in that specific thing).
To summarize, and in very basic terms: a lesson plan is the teacher’s guide for running a particular lesson, and it includes the goal (what the students are supposed to learn), how the goal will be reached (the method, procedure) and a way of measuring how well the goal was reached (test, worksheet, homework etc). Why plan? Lesson planning is a vital component of the teaching-learning process. Proper classroom planning will keep teachers organized and on track while teaching, thus allowing them to teach more, help students reach objectives more easily and manage less.
The better prepared the teacher is, the more likely she/he will be able to handle whatever unexpectedly happens in the lesson. Lesson planning: – provides a coherent framework for smooth efficient teaching. – helps the teacher to be more organized. – gives a sense of direction in relation to the syllabus. – helps the teacher to be more confident when delivering the lesson. – provides a useful basis for future planning. – helps the teacher to plan lessons which cater for different students. Is a proof that the teacher has taken a considerable amount of effort in his/her teaching. Decisions involved in planning lessons: Planning is imagining the lesson before it happens. This involves prediction, anticipation, sequencing, organising and simplifying. When teachers plan a lesson, they have to make different types of decisions which are related to the following items: – the aims to be achieved; – the content to be taught; – the group to be taught: their background, previous knowledge, age, interests, etc. the lessons in the book to be included or skipped; – the tasks to be presented; – the resources needed, etc. The decisions and final results depend on the teaching situation, the learners? level, needs, interests and the teacher’s understanding of how learners learn best, the time and resources available. Lesson Plan Part 1– What to teach (refer to group task in session) Background info (sts age – no of sts – time limit) Objectives Language skills Language Content: (structures, vocabulary, functions, etc)
Resources Attitude Lesson Plan Part 2 – Lesson Procedures (how we are going to teach) § Warm-up § Core lesson: teaching new language, recycling, project work, written and oral production. § Tasks (which sequence to follow) § Rounding off. Hints for effective lesson planning: O When planning, think about your students and your teaching context first. O Prepare more than you may need: It is advisable to have an easily presented, light “reserve” activity ready in case of extra time .
Similarly, it is important to think in advance which component(s) of the lesson may be skipped. if you find yourself with too little time to do everything you have planned. O Keep an eye on your time. Include timing in the plan itself. The smooth running of your lesson depends to some extent on proper timing. O Think about transitions (from speaking to writing or from a slow task to a more active one). O Include variety if things are not working the way you have planned. O Pull the class together at the beginning and at the end.
O End your lessons on a positive note. Planning enables you to think about your teaching in a systematic way before you enter the classroom. The outcome of your planning is a coherent framework which contains a logical sequence of tasks to prepare the field for more effective teaching and learning. Plans only express your intentions. Plans are projects which need to be implemented in a real classroom with real students. Many things may happen which you had not anticipated. In the end you need to adapt your plans in order to respond to your pupils? actual needs.
It is important to bear in mind Jim Scrivener’s words: Prepare thoroughly. But in class, teach the learners not the plan. First of all, a planned lesson is just better. Not all planned lessons are fabulous and not all unplanned lessons are a disaster, but even a bad lesson will be less bad planned, and even a great lesson can be greater with a plan. If you are good at teaching unplanned lessons, you will be even better at teaching with a plan. There are several reasons why a planned lesson is better. One of them is that having a lesson plan helps you maintain focus.
With a classroom full of children, with their short attention spans and their natural desire to disrupt anything and everything, it is very easy for a lesson to be sidetracked or derailed completely, and the best way for you, the teacher, to steer the lesson back on course is if you happened to have brought your map along with you. Sorry about mixing the train and car metaphors there. Kids also notice when a teacher doesn’t really know what to do. If you show one sign of weakness, they will pounce. A primary school lesson is a battle of wills, and if you blink you lose.
A lesson plan is your best weapon in that battle. Kids respond extraordinarily well to structure and regularity, and planning out your lessons gives them that structure. Kids respond to dead air in a lesson – to moments of uncertainty – by creating chaos. If you flounder at all in thinking about what to do, the kids will fill that time by escaping from the mentality of the lesson and into the mentality of play – from which it is often impossible to recover. A lesson plan keeps you on track and keeps the kids on track, but it also helps outside the context of the lesson itself.
Lesson planning lets you track progress and problems. With planned lessons, you have actual paperwork of everything you’ve taught, so you can refer back to it later. If kids aren’t learning a particular point, you know which lesson plan to amend, which helps you learn from your own mistakes and missteps. If kids learn something really well, you can look at that lesson and figure out what about it really worked. You can start to learn to be a better teacher overall and for each particular class, and you don’t have to do it via memory. Lesson plans let you show off what you’ve taught.
They’re good for your teaching portfolio, they make great blog posts, they’re great for showing other teachers, your director, other TLGVs, your parents, etc. what you do with your time. If you have a really great one, you can share it and others can benefit. People will think you are magically organized. Important When writing lesson plans, be sure to include what part of the textbook you are covering in the lesson, the target structure, new vocabulary, directions for all the activities you intend to use, and the approximate time each section of your lesson will take.
The idea behind a lesson plan is that another teacher could pick it up and successfully teach your class without further instructions. If there is an activity where you plan to ask the students questions so that they use the past tense in their responses, write down the questions you plan to ask. It is more difficult to think of appropriate questions on the spot and you are more likely to ask them a question using vocabulary they are unfamiliar with as well. If there is a group activity in the lesson, write down about how many students should be in each group because two to four students is a lot different than five to ten.
Writing out your lesson plan can also help you figure out what material you must prepare for a lesson because if your production activity will only take about ten minutes, then you are obviously going to need an additional activity to end the class with. Not all lessons will be conducted the same. In some instances, the introduction of new material may take an entire lesson or the production activity may be an entire lesson. It is always good to have familiar activities to fall back on in case something doesn’t work quite the way you had planned.
If students are playing the board game without actually speaking, in other words just moving their pieces around the board, they are not getting the necessary practice so you may have to either join the group having difficulties or change activities altogether. At any rate, lesson plans are enormously helpful and if the following year you find yourself teaching the same material, preparation will be a breeze. Are lesson plans necessary? Although lesson plans constitute a major part of being a teacher, they are dreaded and sometimes their importance underestimated by some teachers.
Some teachers even advance the unpredictability of some events in the classroom to discredit any attempt to provide any strict planning of what occurs in the classroom. Although this might be true, it should be noted that a lesson plan is a project of a lesson. It’s not (and cannot) be a description of what will exactly happen during lesson delivery. It provides, however, a guide for managing the classroom environment and the learning process. Reasons for lesson plans To have some hints on the importance of lesson plans on the teaching process, consider these reasons: * Clarity
Lesson plans help to be clear about what you want to teach. teachers need to make wise decisions about the strategies and methods they will employ to help students move systematically toward learner goals. * Unpredictable Events Lesson plans may also include a room for unpredictable events. This helps teachers to be ready to cope with whatever happens. * Framework Lesson plans give your teaching a framework, an overall shape. * Reminder Lesson plans may also play the role of a reminder for teachers when they get distracted. * Commitment It suggests a level of professionalism and real commitment .
In addition to the above reasons, it is worthwhile mentioning that lesson plans will have positive impact on both the teacher and the learner. * For the teacher * They don’t have to think on their feet. They don’t lose face in front of their learners. * They are clear on the procedure to follow. * They build on previous teaching and prepare for coming lessons * For the learner * They realize that the teacher cares for their learning. * They attend a structured lesson: easier to assimilate * They appreciate their teacher’s work as a model of well-organized work to imitate.