One of the most important skills that a teacher will pick up along the way in their career, is in effective lesson planning. A good lesson plan could mean the difference between your class descending into anarchy, or having a well-structured and educational lesson. So, what are the most important tools to use in lesson planning, and how do you go about actually planning a lesson? In this blog, we’ll give you a full breakdown of lesson planning for teachers.
Lesson Planning For Teachers
The importance of lesson planning for teachers cannot be overstated. A good lesson plan provides teachers with:
- Organisation. By planning your lesson beforehand, you will have a good idea of how long each exercise needs to be, and how long to spend on each subject.
- An up-to-date learning calendar. As a teacher, you might find that there are times when you are struggling to keep up/remember every single class you are teaching. Having a plan for each lesson will make this far easier, and help you to stay up-to-date with which classes need to learn which material.
- A sense of calm. Teachers are under huge amounts of pressure. Teaching lessons can sometimes be an extremely intimidating prospect. Holistically speaking, you will feel far better going into a lesson with an organised plan of how everything should be, rather than just winging it. This will give you confidence, which in turn will improve your ability to teach.
- Fun lessons. Never forget that in order to teach, you must be able to engage the students in your lessons. The best way to do this is to go into the lesson with an organised and structured approach. On the surface, it might sound more fun not to plan at all, but the reality is that this will lead to the opposite. Disorganisation and chaos in the classroom only leads to frustration from the teacher, which results in students enjoying the lesson much less than they would have; if a plan had been in place to begin with.
How do I plan my lesson?
In this section, we are going to give you some basic tips on lesson planning for teachers/a run through of how you might go about planning a lesson. The following is a tried and tested, 5 stage formula, which many teachers use:
- Step 1. Preview. The first thing you’ll do in your lesson, is to actually introduce students to the plan itself. In your short preview/the very beginning of the lesson, you’ll provide students with an overview of what will take place in the lesson. The reason that this is so powerful is that it shows students that there is a plan. It lets them know that you are organised, in control and have a purpose for the lesson.A good example of this could be putting a couple of words on the board, and asking the students to explain the relationship between these words, before explaining briefly what you will learn and practice during the lesson.
- Step 2. Beginning exercise. Next, it’s time to start the exercises. The best way to start your class is with a lively exercise which, in effect, warms the students up. Not only will this create a positive atmosphere, but it will introduce the topics to the class in a fun and engaging manner, and encourages communication between different members of the group.A good example of this might be to put the class into small groups, to discuss and engage with a certain topic or question.
- Step 3. Main exercise. Now, you can move onto the most demanding tasks, and main activities of the lesson. There can be 2 or 3 of these, depending on how much time you have for the lesson. Don’t forget that after each exercise, there needs to be some room for discussion so that you can ensure every group is fully grasping the subject matter. You also need to allocate time for you to go around the room and discuss things with the class.
A good example of these would again involve putting the class into small groups, and encouraging them to work through different exercises. Obviously this is dependent on the subject, but examples could be to ask the class to produce a foreign language based menu, or explore a particular theme. Individual exercises also have just as much benefit. While you always need to keep the class engaged, it’s also important to keep things on track. Group exercises are fun but not always productive. Dictation always works well for this, but make sure it stays interesting!
- Step 4. Bonus exercise. You could finish the lesson by instigating a bonus/closing exercise. This is something that you would ideally like to use, but could also skip out if time doesn’t allow for it. It’s always good to have a bonus exercise readily available, along with step 5, in case you run out of time in the lesson.A good example of this could be writing different words on the board and asking the class to come up with closely related words/meaning to these phrases.
- Step 5. Reserve exercise. If even your bonus exercise is completed quicker than expected, you’ve always got your reserve exercise to fall back on. This should be an activity which isn’t a fundamental part of the lesson, but could be used if everything else gets done.A good example of this might be asking the class to get together in groups again and discuss what they have learned over the course of the lesson, before feeding back to the group. This works great as a refresher exercise.
So, there you have it. Hopefully you’ve found these top tips useful. If you’ve enjoyed our blog on lesson planning for teachers, look out for our blog on How To Manage Your Classroom, coming later this week!