The Importance of Lesson Planning for ESL Teaching
Having a form of structure has always been a vital element in order to perform any task to my best ability. Therefore, lesson planning was a subject which I knew would be a large factor in order for me to become a successful teacher.
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This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Jessica M.
The two main principles of a successful class are direction and flexibility; flexibility relies strongly on the teacher's experience and personality, but the former is attained by a structured lesson plan. A primary function of a lesson plan is to keep the class on target with the lesson goal, however, it has other important functions which I will elaborate on below:
This does not mean that every teacher will be experienced enough to know exactly how long each activity will take, but a lesson plan allows the teacher to keep an eye on the time in relation to the planned course and make logical adjustments throughout the class.
This aspect is very important to me, as it allows the teacher to review what the children have already learned and applied it in relation to new material - this organization method allows a form of repetition throughout a course. In order to have a more complete historical record, it is important to write the date and time on the lesson plan as well.
One of the most obvious, yet important elements of a lesson plan is to have put time and thought into how to approach a topic and gradually build the learning objective through the Engage, Study or Activate phases. This preparation also allows the teacher to effectively organize the materials needed for the class.
Also read: Top Time Fillers for an EFL Classroom
Although the lesson plan provides a vital structure to a class, it is important to emphasize that a classroom will never run exactly as planned. Ideally, a teacher will strive to be flexible in order to mold the active lesson around aspects in the plan that the children seem to struggle with or extend activities that the children really enjoy. While in my first 3 weeks of teaching, I found the concept of structure and flexibility in a classroom to be extremely relevant. If the children do not have a clear structure (phases) at the beginning of a class it is difficult to have them grasp the concepts throughout the whole lesson. On the other hand, if the teacher is not flexible to the class the children become uninterested. It is necessary to have a balance of both during a lesson.
Finally, a key element which is occasionally overlooked is that a lesson plan also allows a teacher to improve. A recommended action is to evaluate how the class went at the end of the lesson and use this personal feedback to continually develop as a teacher.
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