How to Implement the SMART Approach in Lesson Planning
Effective teachers know that they need to do more than simply following the activities found on the course books one by one. They need to connect their lesson to the students learning abilities and learning styles and to the overall objectives of the lesson. So what does it take to have effective teaching? Effective teaching always begins with an effective lesson planning that addresses the needs of the learners. What is the lesson plan? The lesson plan is like a roadmap that you and your students are taking. The final destination cannot be reached without carefully planning each step that is essential to the overall learning of the student. The final destination represents the lesson objectives.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Jayson R. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Outline of the SMART lesson plan
Effective lesson planning begins with S.M.A.R.T objectives. Lesson objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. First, it should be specific. It answers the questions “what is to be done?”, “How will you know it is done” and "describes the result of the work to be done.” Second, it should be measurable. It answers the questions “how will you know it meets the expectation”. Third, it should be achievable. It answers the questions “can the student do it?” Fourth, it should be relevant. It answers the questions “should it be done” and “why?” And lastly, lesson objectives should have a time-bound. It answers the questions “when will it be done”. It is an expectation from the students of what they can be able to do after the lesson. It also allows the teacher to see and test if the students have achieved the purpose of the lesson. Lesson objectives will tell where the students are going, the teacher as a guide and lesson plan itself will serve as a map. This ensures that both the teacher and students will have a smooth journey as possible towards success in learning.
Principles of an effective lesson plan
A lesson plan has basic structures that are considered standard for effective ESL language instruction. These are warm-up, present, practice, apply, extend, and wrap-up. These structures are based on an ESL company I am currently teaching from. You’ll notice that those word structures are in the form of “verb”. This means that students will be learning by doing. Each of these steps is designed to gradually and continuously lead the learners to the final destination of the lesson. Through careful planning, students can experience better interaction either teacher-student, student-student, or work independently. Each of these strategies will determine best through effective planning of the lesson. Also, it allows the teachers to anticipate potential problems and struggles that they might have as well as for the students during the teaching-learning process. This could lead to thinking of a possible solution to potential problems. If teachers are well prepared they can also have more confidence to face their students and to execute their lesson more productively.
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To teach English as a Second Language effectively it is important to engage our students and find out what interests them and utilize it as a guide towards your lesson planning. Lesson planning can help you pick appropriate methods and activities that will give you a better understanding of your students’ hobbies and interests, as well as how comfortable they are with English. Learning this information will then help you tailor your lessons to teach the required curriculum effectively. This ensures that everything that we do will be by the desired lesson objectives. Abraham Lincoln once said, "Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax." If we want to work productively and effectively inside the classroom planning a lesson is the key.
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