The rationale behind planning TEFL lessons is a crucial aspect to consider because it shapes the content of our lesson plans. We plan lessons for several reasons such as:
i) To provide a structure to our lessons
ii) To provide a record of what has been taught
iii) To easily cross reference against any syllabus requirements of the course being taught
The latter two points aid in ensuring we meet all the course requirements by providing a comprehensive record of lessons conducted. The first point, providing structure, is arguably the most crucial as it maps out the expected course of the lesson. Before delving into an actual plan, we should ponder on the kind of information we need to document in the plan.
A lesson plan isn't meant to be a verbatim script but should include information relative to the group, teaching topic, and the amount of predetermined lesson material. For instance, a lesson plan for a group of five-year-olds learning body parts would differ significantly from an upper-intermediate class studying verb changes from direct to reported speech.
Let's consider some of the potential headers for our plan:
Class details: This could include general information like the class name, lesson time, duration, class level, and so on.
Aims and objectives: These are two important concepts that are often confused.
Student Aims outline what students should accomplish by the end of the lesson, typically framed as "By the end of the lesson, the students will be able to……….". On the other hand, Student Objectives define how students will display their achievement of the aims.
Procedure: This section would detail the lesson's general trajectory with rough timings, and could also include a board plan for critical material to be displayed at different stages of the lesson.
The question of detail can be answered by imagining a scenario where you are substituting for a colleague who had already mapped out a lesson but couldn't teach it. The plan should be detailed enough to allow you to execute the lesson as they intended with the same expected outcomes.
During the lesson planning process, you should also account for required materials like worksheets, props, and activity resources. Make a note in the plan of which materials you need and when. You will also need to anticipate the quantity of resources required to suit the group size and activity.
Lastly, after each lesson, it is beneficial to evaluate the class, focusing on what worked well and what didn't. With this feedback, you can either modify the original lesson plan or make notes to remind yourself of what transpired.
Also read: Where can I get free TEFL lesson plans?