Why Is Lesson Planning Important?
Lesson planning means that the teacher establishes his/her credibility. It shows that you are organized, structured, have thought about what you are going to do, and understand your area of expertise.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Roberto G.
Is lesson planning a 100% sure thing?
Like all things in life that involve a group of human beings, 100% success is almost impossible. Improvising due to unforeseen circumstances is a skill a teacher needs but it is NOT a valid excuse for not planning your lessons.
• You may find your lesson plan needs to be adjusted during the class. It is your call whether you let it happen or not.
• If you really have to improvise and adjust the lesson plan, try to get back to the plan as soon as you can.
• It is rare but not unheard of that you’ll need to modify your plan “on-the-fly” and sometimes need to ditch it completely, so don’t panic if you need to do either of these. The usual circumstance for this happening is when you teach your first lesson to a brand new class. If it happens to a class that you’ve taught before, did you plan properly?
• In the extreme case of you needing to change or ditch the lesson plan in the classroom, take a mental note of why, and adjust other lesson plans accordingly. Don’t ignore the experience. Do act on it to prevent something similar happening again.
Planning never guarantees success but it certainly helps a lot. Just because one plan didn’t quite work out it does not mean that your other plans are useless or that lesson planning is a futile exercise.
The hidden benefit of lesson planning
As you write and execute your plans in the classroom, you will see their effectiveness and where they need tuning up. If you keep your lesson plans, you will quickly build up a portfolio of lessons that you know will work. The beauty of this is that if you need to teach a new class, chances are that a lesson you have taught before will work. You may need to tune up the plan for the new class, but at least you’ll have an excellent idea about what you are going to do.
Don’t waste your lesson plans, they are future time-savers!
Lesson Plan Example
Online Safety for Teenagers
• Students will develop speaking skills
• Students will develop critical thinking skills through information
• Students will think about the importance of online safety
• Teenagers should be careful online
Teenagers (all ages)
Newspapers and articles about the topic
It is significant to discuss online safety with teenagers who might not always be aware of dangers in a world with more and more young people spending many hours online. This lesson addresses the issue of online safety in a motivating way, allowing students to discuss situations and problems, share their opinions and ideas and then do some online activities to finish the lesson or as a homework task.
Students begin by writing some words the teacher dictates or writes in the chat as prompts to guess the lesson topic.
When the topic is established, the students read a poster or a newspaper article about online safety. They do a pre-reading vocabulary activity and write down some sentences.
The lesson concludes with a role-play activity or discussion to make the student participate and exchange opinions.
Also Read: How do I choose a TEFL course?
Before the lesson
Pass the site address or news link to the students.
- Warm-up (5-10 minutes)
Dictate the following words or write them on Skype chat box: online, share, information, personal privacy, and password. Explain that these words relate to today’s lesson topic. Students discuss some ideas and make suggestions about the lesson theme.
(10-15 minutes) Tell the students that you are going to develop a conversation about online safety. Before that, they access the newspaper or magazine to start reading the article and write down key words or phrases as a preparation for the activity.
Role-play (20-30 minutes) Students exchange opinions about the topic to practice the vocabulary they have learned. Monitor students while they do the activity, offering encouragement and support when necessary.
When the English teacher is preparing lesson plans the first step should always be to determine which background knowledge the students will need to master the lesson. It is very important to know that each student has their own background knowledge and it differs greatly between students, especially those who are from different countries.
Students learn best when they can connect what is being taught to prior experience or a past lesson.
In order to build background information try the following:
• Make the subject interesting. Use manipulative such as pictures, books, magazines, videos, music, or even a story from real life experiences. Repeat key vocabulary several times so they can relate to these words throughout the lesson.
• By giving the student such information will help their understanding. Make sure to highlight important key facts and go over vocabulary to see what they already know about the subject beforehand.
• If concepts are difficult or you think students may have a hard time on them you can develop concept background information to help them. Teachers can do this by adding keywords to identify what you want them to learn.
• Make it very clear to the students what you will be learning. Then, ask open-ended questions to help them come up with their own thoughts and ideas. For example, tell them what you will be reading about and ask what they know about it.
According to a course for teaching English Learners, there are a few strategies that help stimulate information from students so the teacher can recognize the extent of their understanding of the subject being taught.
The strategies are as follows:
• Brainstorming • K-W-L (what do I know? What do I want to learn? What have I learned?) • Mind Maps • Pretests • Questionnaires • Interviews
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