Parts Of a Good Lesson Plan
Planning a lesson is of key importance to a teacher because it prepares him/her to manage learner behavior and create the perfect learning environment for its students. During the lesson planning phase, a teacher decides upon the goals, activities, resources, timing, grouping and other aspects of a lesson (Richards & Renandya, 2002).
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Pulkesh M. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
What is a Lesson Plan For?
The lesson plan may not be a very detailed and descriptive one but its purpose is to enable the teacher to structure the lesson into an effective and engaging experience while keeping in mind the needs of all its students to make it suit the students’ adaptability. Lesson planning mainly involves decisions about the more intricate and sensitive aspects about teaching such as engaging the students and obtaining their attention, arranging them into groups and pairs, conduct activities to enhance their learning capabilities so that the productivity of the lesson is maximum for both the teachers and students.
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According to a previous study, lesson planning stages involve planning, implementation and evaluation of a lesson, (Richards & Farrell, 2005), where they emphasize that at the planning stage teachers need to focus on the objectives of the lesson, the kind of materials to be used for the lesson, what type of interaction will be taking place between the teacher and the students during the lesson and how will such learning be monitored.
The teacher shall then implement her plans and strategies during the class and post completion of the lesson, the teacher will evaluate herself and her techniques along with the students’ progress based on the dynamics of the student responses to the teaching, as this will help teachers know if she succeeded in achieving his/her goals and objectives or not. This includes asking questions to see what students have learned through the lesson, if the materials used were appropriate and if the pace of the lesson was comfortable. If the teacher’s evaluation shows shortcomings in her methods, they need to rethink their strategies and come up with better ideas and techniques in the next class to suit the needs of all students. This way, a teacher can make the learning experience more effective by efficient use of instructional time and more fruitful teaching and learning opportunities (Richards & Farrell, 2005).
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Lesson Planning Approaches
Going into further details to break down the process of lesson planning for better understanding, we can ask ourselves why planning a lesson is of such utmost importance. Well, some may say that it comes as an instruction to teachers from their superiors such as their principals, supervisors or course coordinators. A previous study explains that lesson planning is important to resolve problems and difficulties, to provide a structure for a lesson, to provide a ‘map’ for the teachers to follow, and to provide a record of what has been taught (Richards, 1998). Apart from such external reasons, sometimes, teachers may also indulge in lesson planning to feel more confident about themselves as teachers, be able to smoothly conduct classes and facilitate a good learning environment for students.
There are many approaches to lesson planning but one of the most popular and early approaches is Tyler’s relational-linear framework (1959): This framework consists of four steps that run sequentially that are to specify objectives, select learning activities, organize learning activities, and specify methods of evaluation. An alternative study suggested a different approach to lesson planning whereby the first stage consists of problem conception which consists of the teachers’ goals, knowledge, and experience, then in the second stage the teacher formulates the problem and achieves a solution whereas in the final stage the teacher implements the plan and then evaluates its success (Yinger, 1980). His study had a similar approach to the previous study by Tyler but also gave importance to a teacher’s experience as having an influential role in the process of lesson planning.
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Parts of an Effective Lesson Plan
After studying the importance of lesson planning, we now come to know about what the generic components of a lesson plan are. According to Shrum and Glisan, (1994) the generic components of a lesson plan include:
- Perspective or opening. The teacher asks the students (or himself or herself) the following questions: What was the previous activity (what was previously learned)? What concepts have they learned? The teacher then gives a preview of the new lesson.
- Stimulation. The teacher (a) poses a question to get the students thinking about the coming activity; (b) helps the students to relate the activity to their lives; (c) begins with an attention grabber: an anecdote, a little scene acted out by peer teachers or lay assistants, a picture, or a song; and (d) uses it (the response to the attention grabber) as a lead in to the activity. III. Instruction/participation. The teacher presents the activity, checks for a student's understanding, and encourages active student involvement. Teachers can get students to interact with the use of pair-work and/or group work.
- Closure. For this phase, the teacher checks what the students have learned by asking questions such as “What did you learn?” and “How did you feel about these activities?” The teacher then gives a preview of the possibilities for future lessons.
- Follow-up. The last phase of the lesson has the teacher using other activities to reinforce some concepts and even to introduce some new ones. The teacher gives the students opportunities to do independent work and can set certain activities or tasks taken from the lesson as homework.
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Thus, we can come to conclude that lesson planning as a process is very important for a teacher to plan her lessons flexible to best suit their own and their student's needs. There are times, when the teachers may be required to shift from the plan to cater to certain special needs and situational requirements that might be posed suddenly during a class, but a well-prepared teacher will be able to address such scenarios comfortably if he/she plans for it carefully in advance.
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