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When planning lessons keep in mind that too much planning can make lessons rather rigid and stop the teacher being flexible to the needs of the students. However, it is very difficult for inexperienced teachers to be able to be as flexible as necessary.
The teacher is expected to let the students decide what to do in the class but an inexperienced teacher would difficult lesson planning.
1 An aid to planning
Writing down what you expect the students to achieve by the end of the lesson and how to do it will help you think logically through the stages in relation to available time.
2 A working document
A lesson plan helps you to keep on target and gives you something to refer to during the lesson. However, flexibility must respond to the needs of the class.
3 A record
It works as a record of what a class has done and which materials were used. It also helps if you are ill and another teacher has to cover your classes.
How should a lesson plan be written down?
If you have to change your plan during the lesson for whatever reasons you should also make a note of those changes so that you will have an accurate record.
Basic principles of lesson planning are:
n Keep it simple. You may need to refer to it during a lesson. n Do not try to script the lesson. n Structure it and maintain the same structure. n Write the anticipated time for each activity in the margin. n n Keep it flexible and open to adaptation. Check for balance of skills. Try to make sure activities fit together to give the lesson a smooth flow.
n Check that you have your lesson plan. n n Check that the equipment works! n Lay out materials and aids so that you can easily find them. n Arrange the seating as desired. n Make sure that the board is clean. n Be ready to chat to the students as they come into class. This will help break the ice with the students and get them in the mood to learn. Run through your lesson plan and make sure you have all the necessary aids and materials needed.
What to include in a lesson plan?
Learner objectives Personal aims This is what you want the students to be able to do by the end of the lesson.
Personal aims What you as a teacher wish to achieve. This is usually an area of your teaching that you would like to improve.
Language point This shows the theme around which your lesson is based and also how it fits in with past and planned future lessons.
Teaching aids Materials and other aids help you quickly check if you have everything.
Anticipated problems (for the students and the teacher)
Procedure The activities used to achieve the learner objectives.
Phase Engage, Study or Activate
Timing vital to plan how long each activity is expected to take. Be realistic and flexible. This is one of the most difficult areas for inexperienced teachers. Only experience and a sound knowledge of your students will tell you how to manage time..
Interaction Who will be interacting at each stage of the lesson. Will it be teacher – student (T-S), student – student (S-S) or students working alone?
Class level The level of ability with the English language.
Number of students make sure that your activities are suitable for the class size.
Date/time It will also help teachers who may teach the same class at a later date.
Teacher's and observer's names May be useful if the class is being monitored.
Monitoring your lessons
Used to evaluate the teacher’s own lessons and make notes of what went well and where the lesson could have been improved.
Planning a sequence of lessons
Flexibility – we will often need to make changes to plans during lessons.
Goals – an experienced teacher will build goals for the students into a sequence of lessons.
Revision – lesson content needs to be continually reviewed over a sequence of lessons to ensure students retain this information.
Variety and balance – when planning a sequence of lessons we want to make sure all skills are included and given equal treatment. We will also want to incorporate a good variety and mix of activities.