3 Reasons Why Lesson Plan Will Make Your Teaching Less Stressful and Frustrating
Lesson planning has always been the backbone of my lessons. I believe that to be successful in anything you need to plan, especially with projects or goals that are complex and time-consuming. As a teacher, I want to do everything I can to give my students every advantage possible, and that requires preparation and planning. Lesson planning is an essential part of teaching in a classroom and is the key to being an effective educator.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Steven M. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
What can a lesson plan give you?
I am sure that there are some teachers out there who can walk into a classroom without any plan and somehow have a lesson where the students learn and enjoy the content. While those kinds of teachers may be successful in their teaching, I believe that they would be even more successful with proper preparation and lesson planning. Through lesson planning, not only does the teacher plot the course of the lesson, but they also are leaving a record of their intentions which allows for improvement in the lesson content, process, and results. By being able to look at a plan and see what went well and what didn’t go well, a teacher can make adjustments and improve their lesson. The usefulness of the lesson plan does not end when the class does. It continues to be a tool in the teacher’s evaluation of the lesson and the improvement of teaching skills.
1. Achieve your goals
When a person has a goal, any goal, it is much easier and more effective to use a plan to achieve that goal. Time and resources can be wasted if there is no plan or path toward the goal. Time is a valuable asset in a classroom and knowing where the lesson should be at a certain time will help a teacher and the students get there before the end of class. By planning how much time the teacher wants to spend on a part of a lesson, it will help them manage their time and help them accomplish everything they want to within the lesson time. Planning how long to spend on each part of the lesson not only helps the teacher stay on schedule, but allows them to make adjustments during the class. If one part of your lesson takes five minutes longer than planned, the teacher can quickly look at the lesson plan to see where those five minutes can be subtracted from, and new time goals can be set. A lesson plan can help ensure that the lesson stays on schedule when everything goes smoothly and help the teacher get back on track when it doesn’t go as smoothly as they want.
2. Visualize your lesson
The way lesson planning helps me the most is by allowing me to visualize the lesson and run it through a simulator in my head before I teach the class. As a teacher, I think it is dangerous to assume that everything will go perfectly. I like to visualize how my lesson plans will go by writing down what I plan to do, what I plan to say and thinking about how the students will handle the instructions. Doing that simulation in my head helps me foresee possible problems and think about how to solve those problems.
Very often the visualization of my lesson plan helps me restructure my plan by adjusting the time, changing the order, or sometimes eliminating parts of my lesson. This would not be possible without a plan and structure to base the simulation on. I believe good lesson planning helps remove many of the possible problems in the classroom, and that will make the lesson easier to follow and more productive for students.
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3. Deepen students’ experience
Although a “plan” can sound like a restriction to some, I believe that having a plan allows more effective flexibility. It is very easy to be carried off by the current and undertow of the lesson when there is no plan and goal. I’m sure that many interesting things can be found and learned through unplanned discovery, but when such discovery is connected to a long-term goal, the outcome is much more impressive. Keeping a lesson linked to the curriculum and goals of the course will further deepen the students’ experience and learning in the lesson.
By no means do I expect a lesson go exactly as planned all the time, but having a plan helps me keep my lesson on track and reduces the number of problems. I feel safer to take the interests and momentum of the students in new directions when I know I can always bring them back to the core of the lesson. I don’t think that a lesson plan is a restriction, but a guide and structure that creates a stronger foundation on which students can depend on. I also believe that students feel safer and do better knowing that their teacher, who in effect is a leader, has a plan and knows where they are all trying to get to. The trust in a teacher is closely tied to motivation which is essential to learn anything.
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The importance of lesson planning is evident in the preparation, execution, and review of the lesson. At each stage, a lesson plan creates a structure that provides the teacher with chances to analyze, adjust, and improve the lesson. Although the depth and details of a lesson plan may vary, it is an indispensable part of classroom teaching that both teachers and students will benefit from.
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