Lesson Planning: Why You Should Take it Seriously?
As a teacher – and it does not matter if you teach kids, toddler, teenagers or adults – you have to think about a wide range of things: the content of your classes, class troubles and discipline, the evolution of your students skills, time management in terms of your classes and in terms of the content development in a period of time, students assessment, schools/professional compromises (either if you work in a language school or if your area a private teacher), how to create a nice learning environment and so on. These are only some of the things that a teacher – in the first years of his/her career or for an experienced professional – has to manage in his/her teaching routine.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Mitchi Rio A. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
1. Values and Responsibility
So thinking about all the responsibilities a teacher has to deal with and assuming that, at the end of the day, the class is the main goal of a teacher, this summative task talks about lesson planning as it tries to answer the following question: lesson planning, why you should do take it seriously? It is important to say that this summative task has a reflexive aim, once many answers for that question are possible. It is a certitude in this text that the main goal of a teacher is the class and the class here is perceived as a place where there are students and a teacher and where the teacher tries with his/her maximum effort create a nice, fun, clear, effective and efficient learning process. Values as respect, politeness, and discipline (and many others) are expected to be shared in a class environment.
Talking especially about the classwork - or teaching work itself - there are many tasks, routines, and responsibilities under a teacher concern. That is why we talk about lesson planning in this summative task once it is seen as a valuable tool of class management and the overall organization of teaching performance. Lesson planning aims to organize the subjects, the materials used during the classes and the pace of a course in a manner that the teacher can manage his/her work in a way of seeking the best for the students and fulfilling all the duties she/he must have while being an education professional.
2. A tool to Organize Your Class
Once the lesson planning is a tool for organizing classes, managing discipline problems and predicting difficulties that may occur, it tries to represent reality as much as possible. Both for a teacher who is starting a new course and for an ongoing course, a lesson plan is a tool that helps to arrange classes and, more than that, it is a record that a teacher can always check to see how the learning process is being developed. So it is important not only to plan but also to have a file with the lesson plans that allows visualizing how the work is being done.
Each professional can use a lesson plan in their way – but maybe you may work in a school with lesson plan procedures that have to be followed. Before a class, you plan it and after a class, you write down what happens, what was not done, what problems you faced, what worked well and what did not work well. And on that day that something out of your control happens, e.g. an electricity blackout, and you have to adapt or change your class, the lesson plan can be a guide (maybe you can approach the class point differently from that of a usual class) or you simply can create a special class (e.g. a backyard lesson to remember some vocabulary points- even this is not what you have planned) and go back to your lesson plan in the next class. In these cases – when something unexpected happens - the lesson plan works as a guide or a recording tool – which helps a lot the teacher works.
Talking about methodologies planning lesson can fit to arrange classes in to the methodology adopted. If you adopt the Engage Study and Activate Methodology (ESA) the lesson plan can be a way of organizing phases of the class smoothly and clearly. Once it connects one phase to another and at the end of the class students can understand the path they went through during the learning process.
In a quick internet and English as a Second Language (ESL) course material search (reliable websites, of course) it is possible to get valuable information on the lesson planning practice. Below it is listed some important points about lesson planning and to make this list the TESOL International Association and the British Council Teaching English websites were visited as well as the 220h ITTT course material was used:
- A working document: it is a reference during the classes but it should not stop you from being flexible and responding to the needs of the class.
- It also can work as a tool of self-evaluation as a teacher makes some notes about each class.
- Having a carefully constructed lesson plan in hand allows you to enter the classroom with considerably more confidence.
- It would be interesting to give some quality time in your weekly schedule for making lesson plans – and write them down (not only keep them in your mind).
- Have a lesson plan template that you can just fill in and print off.
Many other considerations can be made about lesson planning but just keep in mind that is a practice that aims to help you in your teaching routine. Especially today that there are so many materials available (internet, books, activities, etc) having a plan of action can assist you to organize your work – and maximize the utilization of the resources available.
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So why should you take lesson planning seriously? As said before many answers are possible but a quick one could be: lesson planning is both a way of organizing your work and a way of making your classes even better!
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