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to teach the young is the greatest gift
Benjamin Franklin once said “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”. Here at lessons4U we understand the importance of planning for each and every lesson. However, also know this can take over your evenings and weekends. With our extensive information and resources you can reduce the time it takes you to plan. This makes your lesson enjoyable freeing up your spare time for the things you want to do.
GOOD INSTRUCTORS ARE ALWAYS LEARNING
A winning lesson plan will incorporate the following features:
- The goals for student learning i.e. what you want them to get out of it
- The learning activities or teaching to achieve these objectives
- Ways to check the students have understood the lesson
Preparing a lesson plan can be broken down into the following six components. By methodically approaching your plan in this way for every lesson you will save you time. A great lesson plan resource can be found at: http://lessonplanspage.com.
Set the Learning Objectives
Determine what your purpose for the lesson is, once you know what you want to teach you can set up your lesson around those goals. Not all objectives are equal and you should list them in order of importance. As you are limited with class time you want to make sure the key points are addressed within the time frame of the lesson. The ones you don’t want to miss out should be prioritised early on in the class. Read more about learning objectives.
Plan an Engaging Introduction
Once you have your learning objectives set in stone, design activities to get your class to comprehend and be able to use what they have learned. Establish what your students already know about the subject, this could simply be through a show of hands. This gives your lesson a clear focus as you may need to go over the basics or you may be able to go into more depth on a particular topic depending on the students’ knowledge.
It’s important to get them interested from the start and you can use a variety of ways to achieve this. Try using personal anecdotes, discussing a historical event, raising a dilemma that gets them thinking, real world examples that they can relate to, a short video clip, a question or problem for them to solve or any other means you can think of to capture their attention.
When planning your introduction also consider if there are any common misconceptions that surround the topic that students may be aware of. You may need to challenge their understanding of a particular idea. Plan how you are going to introduce the topic to your classroom.
As part of the introduction it’s a good idea to outline what they will be doing during the lesson. This can be done orally or by having a brief plan outlined on the board which can be referred to throughout the lesson. This helps keep the lesson on track.
Organise activities to form the lesson
As there are different ways of learning and individual students respond better to different ways it’s important to have a number of activities to get the message across. Set out your activities and estimate how long each will take to help you stick to the timeframe of the class. Each activity should teach the students something and allow time for discussion and confirmation that they have understood the material.
Develop Strategies to Check for Understanding
Now that you’ve got your message across you need to check how much of it has actually sunk in. Design questions that can be asked in different ways and decide whether you want students to respond in writing or orally.
Stick to questions that will keep students on topic, as you are limited with time you don’t want too much deviation from the learning objectives. Allocate adequate time to getting the content across and also making sure the students are grasping the concepts.
Sum it up and preview
Go over the key points to identify the take home message for the students. You may wish to instruct the class what these were or you could ask a handful of students to summarise them for the rest of the class. Students could also write down what they thought the main points were and you could review these before the next class and bring up anything that was missed out. Before concluding the lesson let the students know what’s coming up in the next class. This helps foster an interest and give them something to think about before the next session.
Timing is Key
Plan your time well; develop a number of achievable objectives within the timeframe of the lesson. You also need to be flexible with your plan because in practise your students may need more time to go over a particular area. Their learning is paramount and understanding of topics is crucial before you move on to the next activity. By teaching the key points based in order of importance ensures that you get the main ones across. Have a set of extra examples or activities in case your lesson doesn’t go to plan or students need an idea reinforced to enhance their learning. In practise your plan works as a guide as you need to be flexible to cater for your students’ needs.
Evaluating the Lesson Plan
You’ll find your lesson planning improves over time and you become more in tune with time constraints. Evaluating your lesson plan is key to refining your skills.
Even though you may deviate from the plan it’s a good idea to have goals and objectives established as well as how you are going to achieve them. In the classroom it may not go exactly as planned but having clearly defined goals helps you to stay on topic and achieve the learning outcomes.
This lesson guide is intended to help teachers and instructors in all areas where the quality of the service can be improved using some forward planning, a great example of a business that has benefited from our information is a Melbourne based driving school who contacted us to get some ideas on improving their level of service, they subsequently implemented some of the lesson plan strategies and have greatly improved their driving lessons, this is their website.
Please feel free to contact us if you want some lesson planning advice or wish to contribute to the information on this webpage.