Lesson Planning: Necessary or Not?
2019-05-05 Elizaveta Pachina Alumni Experiences
This blog post will focus on answering why lesson planning is important. The fundamentals of lesson planning will be discussed while also covering topics such as teacher demeanor, necessary preparation, and flexibility.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Hannah C.
Necessary or Not?
Firstly it’s important to point out that lesson planning isn’t seen as a necessary tool for all teachers yet is largely considered helpful and if done so effectively, ensures the smooth running of a class. This means not having a rigid, unchangeable plan but instead somewhat of a guide to keeping a lesson on track, ensuring students are getting the most of the lesson and reaching their learning objectives. Flexibility is key in this, as all students and classes are different and it’s vital to be able to accommodate unexpected changes and cater accordingly.
How a lesson plan can be created is entirely up to the teacher and their preferred style and desire but commonly lesson plans are simple and not over-scripted, providing structure yet allowing for flexibility and adaptation. In this there are common fundamentals of lesson planning, consisting of a series of points, all working together to ensure a lesson runs smoothly with clear objectives and instructions. Often included in a lesson plan is an outline of class details, location and learning level. For those with various teaching roles, this can be important for filing and in general ensuring teachers don’t repeat lesson content accidentally with the same students.
Lesson plans can give an overview of the subject and aim of a lesson, detailing how this will be achieved. This can include learner objectives, the language point and the procedure of the lesson including all planned tasks and activities. In this the phase of the lesson, whether it’s Engage, Study or Activate can be stated, showing the flow of the lesson and what sort of activity and interaction is taking place. Stating approximate timing provides a rough guide for teachers but is just that and of course, needs to be flexible. Having back up activities or extra tasks for early finishers is also a good idea.
It can also be helpful to include possible problems that students may encounter throughout the lesson and anticipating how these can be addressed. This allows the teacher to be prepared and not caught off guard, wasting time and potentially not be able to continue with the planned lesson. Different information such as the personal aims of a teacher can also be included and then work with the post-lesson assessment that’s discussed later.
Developing on this, it’s also beneficial to create a sequence of lesson plans which then acts as a lesson timetable. Yet it’s important to note like lesson plans this to needs to be done ensuring flexibility and being adjusted accordingly. Lesson timetables enable a broader look at what’s aimed to be achieved over a series of lessons and how the topics link and build on each other, overall developing the students; English language skills and knowledge. Included in this can be goals for the student’s learning objectives which can then be paired with timely revision and testing. Seeing an overall view of lesson plans also provides a way to ensure variety and balance in lessons, seeing clearly that a mix of skills, topics, and actives are included.
Preparation not only involves physically writing the lesson plan but also then preparing the classroom and ensuring it’s ready for the lesson ahead. This means having your plan ready and running through it to check all relevant materials, handouts and aids are prepared. Making sure equipment works, the class is orderly and seating prearranged as you desire.
Having a lesson plan aids not only the preparation and running of a lesson but also gives a point of reference for reviewing the success of a lesson and assessing what can be improved. This not only applies to the students but the teacher’s work also. In this, a self-evaluation from can be a good way to assess if the lesson as a whole and the individual phases were successful and effective. Also what modifications were necessary, the extent to which learner objectives and aims were met and if problems occurred, what they were and their solutions. As a whole, a reflection can then be made looking into areas for improvement in the running of a lesson, the prior planning, and the teacher’s success.
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In summary, there are many different concepts and theories that can be adopted and adapted in lesson planning and various ways to go about it. Overall taking time to think about a lesson before conducting it is important and a good way to ensure adequate preparation is a lesson plan. How this is then accomplished is at the teachers; discretion but should be done so catering for to their needs, ability, and experience - most importantly keeping the student’s best interests in mind.
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