Essentials of Lesson Planning
A lesson plan is the starting point when thinking of a pending class, it is in the lesson planning stage where you can put your ideas onto paper. The lesson plan is evidence that you have thought about what you are going to do and why you are doing it. A lesson plan gives a teacher a structure to follow, not only in the sense of content but timings of activities and materials they are planning to use, and what learning the teacher hopes will take place.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Yolande D. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Documenting your work
A lesson plan can be a one-off document, or it is usually a part of a series of lessons that someone has been teaching over some months, so there must be obvious linking between each lesson. As a teacher plans their lesson, they need to keep their objectives in mind; “What is it that I want the students to be able to say in English by the end of the lesson?”
Even though they may have the main objective, there may even be mini objectives throughout the lesson; a teacher may want the students to be able to order food in a restaurant, but there are many smaller steps to go through for the students to get to point where they can do this confidently. One of the first mini objectives is to engage the students in the topic, then the next objective may be helping the students understand different levels of politeness and when it is appropriate to use this language, which of the new expressions could be used in a restaurant. This would also allow a teacher to judge how much they know about the topic. While a teacher is lesson planning, they also need to think about the tasks they will do to help the students successfully carry out the tasks.
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What to focus on?
You may even be focussing on sub-skills that your students may be practicing while doing the main task, for example, you may have set a task for them to ask them to spend ten minutes asking their classmates about each other about how often they do certain activities. The main objective may be “Using adverbs of frequency to talk about routines through a survey.” However, the students are not only taking part in a speaking activity, but there are also further skills they are using such as listening for specific information and note-taking. An experienced teacher will be aware of these sub-skills and be aware of how these skills can be developed within bigger tasks.
Key points of your lesson plan
It is important to remember that a lesson plan should be flexible, if you are teaching a class and it is clear that the students are struggling with a section of the task that has been given to them, it is important that a teacher thinks of the students’ needs and decides if they need to spend a long time on this part of the lesson or find another way that was not in your plan to help the students. A teacher may even decide to abandon what they have planned for a particular section of their class if it is not working.
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A lesson plan is also a document on which a teacher can write their reflections, they can write notes on their plan noting down which students struggled with certain language points, who is struggling with pronunciation, who was not engaged in the lesson, ideas for homework. A plan should be a document you can refer to so a teacher can learn from it, it should also be a document that is clear enough for someone else to follow, especially if there is a co-teach with another teacher.
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A lesson plan can be written in various ways, each teacher has their way of writing a lesson plan, some schools insist that the teachers use a standard template, or some schools may be more flexible and allow you to do your handwritten lesson plans. Whichever way a teacher writes their lesson plans the basics of having clear objectives and even mini objectives remain the same.
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