When I first started teaching, I spent HOURS planning one solitary lesson! I couldn’t comprehend how a teacher could work full-time hours with all the planning you had to do. Eventually this got easier; my lessons plans got shorter as my teaching became more instinctive, yet many times I felt that I didn’t really get to the heart of my lesson. The students didn’t spend the bulk of the lesson grappling with my main lesson aims.
Nowadays, I seem to have gone full circle with lesson planning. I tend to think more about how I can really achieve the main goals of my lesson. What the most important thing is that I want each student to come away with by the end of the class.
So I had a think about what questions I ask myself when I plan a lesson. None of these ideas are by any means novel however I find it’s a useful checklist.
Lesson Plan Check List:
- Timetable fit: What did I/my partner teacher do previously? What am I going to do tomorrow? Do the lessons link?
- What are my main learning outcomes (LOs) for the lesson? What are my secondary LOs?
- Which activities are KEY for achieving my learning outcomes? Which activities can I omit if I have to?
- Do the activities flow? Think about: Pace, learner styles, do the activities need to be done in a certain sequence?
- Anticipated problems: how will I deal with language questions, early finishers, how can I make it easier/more challenging if necessary?
- Pronunciation and Error Correction: Where can I slot these into my lesson?
- How can I relate the activities to my students?
- Engaging lessons – Relate the lesson to your students’ lives; show them how this lesson will be useful for them in the real world.
- Picked by the students – What do your students want to learn? Students are going to be much more motivated if they play a part in lesson planning.
- Authentic – Use authentic materials if you can, bridge the gap between class and the real world.
- Demand high: Loads of useful tips here on how to get the most out of your students in each class using demand high techniques. Think about:
- How can I push my students to upgrade their language and improve their skills?
- How can I gain real learning value from classroom activities that have become tired or familiar?
- How can I shift from “successful task“to “optimal learning”?
By Cheryl Malanek