What is Lesson Planning and How to Implement it in The TEFL Work?
I believe it is very important to plan and write down lessons, for the benefit of the students, myself, relieving teachers, and especially while I am an inexperienced teacher. A lesson plan acts as a device for a singular lesson, helps create a series of lessons, and as a record of what has been taught. Self Evaluation Forms will be vital as a new teacher so that I can continuously self improve.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Kylie G. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
When I take the time to write down a lesson, it requires thinking about the level of that particular class and what I want to achieve by the end of the lesson. The lesson plan can be written on a formal planning document or maybe informally as notes on a page. Either way, it is important for the plan to be easy for me to refer to during class and clear enough for another teacher to understand it.
Lesson plans should not be strictly adhered to but provide a good structure of the lesson intention. So, if the class is struggling with a particular language point it is important that I am adaptable and/or slow the lesson down until the class can proceed. If that means that the second half of the lesson happens the next day that is okay. What is important is to develop a structure that works for me and is consistent for the students’.
Different workplaces will use different course books and it is about how to follow these structures while supplementing with my input. Part of lesson planning will be to understand the rules and expectations of the school. Gaining a good rapport with other teachers will be invaluable in assisting me in these beginning phases. Teachers may have lesson plans that I can use/adapt and aids that I can borrow or photocopy. It will be smart to utilize whatever resources are readily available.
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Lesson planning needs to be considered from the standpoint of who the class is and whether they are total beginners, false beginners, intermediate or advanced.Is the class composed of young students, adult students, students unfamiliar with the Roman alphabet or an individual one on one class? Lesson planning needs to consider different basic group requirements to be successful.Are they a new group that has not met each other and require more icebreakers and rapport building or are they an established class that only requires rapport built with me? Is the class able to all speak the native mother tongue or are they a diverse group? Are the class of similar ages, cultures, and abilities?Has the school assessed the student's abilities or is follow up required?
Younger students will require for lessons to be planned with more activities that have a shorter duration to hold their attention. Multiple aids can be considered as they may not be as motivated as adults and tend to be more interested in visual and electronic aids. Lesson plans will need to include plenty of revision and to create an atmosphere where students feel confident in speaking out loud.
Adult students may be of largely differing ages, backgrounds, cultures, reasons for attending, and abilities. It is helpful to engage the class in conversation and activities to assess what the main reasons for learning English are and to use this to create more specific classes. Such as students of business English, may require more worksheets relating to financial and office-based ideas. It will also be important to consider having two similar but differing concurrent plans to allow for the weaker students to grow and participate without the stronger students feeling bored. Planning may include teaming up the weaker students with the stronger and providing extension homework exercises for the adults.
Multicultural classes will require greater empathy, understanding, and flexibility in approach to planning due to the multiple viewpoints of students. Cultural sensitivity will need to be applied. The advantage may be that students are highly motivated to speak in English as they don’t share a common language. For students from a non-Roman Alphabet background, the lesson planning may need to rethink strategies, exercises, and aids to accustom the students to the Roman alphabet.
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Take the time to be organized and make sure the classroom is set up according to the lesson about to take place. This may require moving the seating into a different configuration, making sure whitechalk of interactive boards are clear and or operational. Ensure that all teaching aids are ready, laid out, plugged in, volume checked, charged, and in the right place.Ensure that this is completed ahead of time, that the lesson plan has been read through to refresh me so that I am prepared and engaging the students warmly the minute they arrive.
Parts of a Lesson Plan
- Student Objectives: What I want the students to achieve by the end of the lesson
- My objectives: What I wish to improve upon as a teacher
- Language point: The theme of the lesson.
- Teaching Aids: Word fill exercises, flashcards, surveys, diaries, worksheets, audio and visualdevices.
- Potential Pitfalls: I need to anticipate any potential problems for myself orstudents and have a solution ready too.
- Procedure: What activities will be most useful to achieve outcomes within the time frame.
- Phase: Engage, Study, and Activation.
- Timing: Plan how long each activity will take but keep in mind it may take longer or shorterthen i thought and be prepared with more activities or to slow down as necessary.Also to record these differences.
- Interaction: Understanding the shifts between T-S, S-S, and student alone time. Alwaysaiming for more student interaction.
- Class level: Understanding different class abilities.
- Students: How many students, adult or children, multicultural, business students or anindividual student.
- Date/Time: Important as a historical record for reviewing purposes
My additions to the lesson plan to include:
- Outcome: EG - Is there an external exam at end of year
- ESA lesson type: Straight arrow, patchwork, or boomerang style lesson.
I believe having a good idea of the style of the lesson will be important. Understanding when a straight arrow is sufficient or when a boomerang or patchwork lesson is important will grow over time. I will need back up plans, extra ideas, aids, activities available. Or if the class encounters something difficult, I can adapt, slow down, and provide more time at these junctions.
- Lesson series: Where does this lesson sit within a series of lessons
- Review: I believe a small 2-3 minute review of the day before should be included or 5 - 10-minute weekly review should be included
- Self Evaluation: Instead of a separate form, this would be more helpful at the bottom or on the back of the lesson plan to be completed at the end of the class before I forget
- Changes: Future changes should be recorded ASAP too.
As a new teacher, I need to be humble and accept I am on a steep personal learning curve. I need to assess my personality and ensure that I have considered my tone of voice, my gestures, standing, and sitting rationale, how to engage and monitor effectively, and how to give criticism and positive feedback. I need to remember that the English I am speaking are always being listened to, so to speak calmly, slowly but also authentically and always finish with a correct example. I will need to understand how to lift the energy of the class in the engage phase, how to be clear in the study phase, and how to step back in the activate stage.I will need to consider how to maintain control and not allow disruptive behavior. This may require including after class conversations to speak more privately with a student.
Self Evaluation Forms should be at the bottom or on the back of the lesson plan
It would be advisable for me to evaluate myself for the first year or two until I have developed a personal rhythm and teaching style. It will take time to understand the time required for particular exercises, reading of the text, or creation of surveys.
I will need to look back at whether the students achieved the language point outcome or not and why. I will need to assess the different ESA stages and/or type of lesson and make changes as required. I will need to consider how to write this lesson plan differently and review if the changes I made had a more favorable outcome next time.
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I think it will also be important to be my engaging self and remember to create a fun and caring space so that the students are actively looking forward to learning with me!
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