Why Preparing a Plan is Compulsory for New Teachers
Lesson planning is one of the most important elements of successful teaching in the ESL (English as Second Language) classroom and every TEFL (Teaching English as Foreign Language) lesson needs a plan, particularly so in the case of the less experienced teacher starting their career in a foreign country. The often-cited argument that over planning can create a less fluent atmosphere in the classroom does hold some truth but just as the artist is tutored not to attempt abstract art until first mastering the art of realism, the teacher likewise is best placed not to address a class unprepared until first mastering the art of pre-planning.
Many proficient teachers will attest to the fact that successful lessons are the direct result of organized lesson planning as it allows the teacher to address the class with the type of confidence and originality that only comes from being prepared.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Zenia B. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
What does your success depends on?
Success in the classroom depends on various factors that should be taken into consideration when drafting a lesson plan. A good lesson plan attempts to set out a well-thought-out step-by-step set of instructions for a lesson based on subject or learning objective (main aim and desired outcome for the learner), implementation of the objective (through activities, process and materials) and assessment (to measure the successful achievement of the objective, by giving thought to anticipated problems and solutions in advance).
These factors assist the teacher in administering a standard teaching pattern so that they are better equipped to respond to questions from the learner without deviating from the lesson objective. The key to good lesson planning is to always have an element of flexibility built in for this very reason as it will allow the teacher to respond more calmly to unanticipated challenges in the classroom. What are the benefits of lesson planning?
There are many benefits to lesson planning which consequently support the teacher in achieving their objective in the classroom. By investing time into planning and documenting the lesson, the teacher is able to more coherently set up a strategic plan to bring those goals into fruition by completing all planned ESA (Engage, Study, Activate) stages of the lesson within the required timeframe. In addition, by keeping all lesson plans on file, the teacher gains a better understanding for the needs of the students which in turn enables them to plan ahead more effectively and provides a record to refer back to at a later stage. For this reason, lessons should follow a consistent theme which ties into both past and future lessons.
What strategy works best?
A good strategy for a beginner teacher is to follow an organized and systematic approach to lesson planning. A good lesson plan does not necessarily always have to be overly detailed in nature and could merely be a holistic overview of the objectives for the lesson and provide an outline of how the teacher intends to teach the material to the class. Simplicity is an important principle to consider in this respect as it allows the teacher ease of reference during a class where there may already be many distractions.
What’s a perfect lesson checklist?
In addition, a lesson plan should include and act as a basic checklist the teacher can refer to before a class to ensure they are sufficiently prepared. This may include a list of materials, making sure all the equipment works, preparing blackboard notes as well as pre-planning seating arrangements to fit with the classroom space. By ticking off all the necessary to do’s, the teacher benefits from the peace of mind which allows them more time to set the mood as the students begin to enter the classroom.
The organized teacher understands the importance of time management and the principle of delivering the lesson within a given and realistic time schedule. A good lesson plan should always expect the unexpected and incorporate contingency plans which will allow the teacher spontaneity to react creatively to any given situation. It is therefore advisable for the teacher to time all planned activities in the classroom so that content is not transferred over to the next lesson.
The essence of lesson planning is to teach more effectively by considering whether the needs of the students will be met through a specific language point (grammatical or phonological), receptive skills (reading and listening) or productive skills (speaking and writing).
How to prove your lesson plan is appropriate?
The planned lesson should be made understandable for the students and include different ways of explanation with examples students can relate to. Thought should be given to activities which assist in student understanding and retention and allow the opportunity for revision. Good lesson planning should pursue uniformity in structure and incorporate variety and a good balance of activities to keep the students engaged and enthusiastic throughout the duration of the lesson.
Lesson planning is very much based on trial and error and therefore it is important to keep a record of lessons learned as it provides a platform for continuous improvement. An even greater benefit is the fact that the teacher is able to build up a portfolio of lessons for later use, ultimately saving a lot of time in the long run.
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In conclusion, good lesson planning will enable the motivated teacher to monitor the strengths and weaknesses of their lessons with the view to improve their own personal skills and knowledge in such a way that allows them to simultaneously more effectively support the students in their care. Investing time into lesson planning is an ultimately rewarding experience and an important aspect of teaching which every new teacher should carefully consider and adopt into their teaching regime in their own individual way.
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