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TEFL Lesson Planning – Basic Terminology & Guidelines

Generally in education we have aims, goals and objectives.

Aims are the final results aimed at in the whole educational process. An example of an aim is as follows:

“To create suitable opportunities for the individuals to help them develop spiritually, morally, mentally and physically, according to the nature of the country, its philosophy and ambitions.”

Goals are the final results students are expected to reach after studying a school subject such as English, science, math, etc.

The goal of teaching English is often “Developing students’ cognitive, affective and psychomotor experiences through improving the four language skills in order to build up the students’ linguistic competence and enhance their ability to use the language in communications”

So, there are four types of goals: cognitive, affective, proficiency (psychomotor) and transfer.

1. The Cognitive Domain

This domain is concerned with the achievement of linguistic knowledge and mastery of cultural knowledge.

Bloom categorized it into six levels from the simple recall or recognition of facts, as the lowest level, through increasingly more complex and abstract mental levels, to the highest order.

Bloom six cognitive levels (from the lowest to the highest) are:

  1. Knowledge
  2. Comprehension
  3. Application
  4. Analysis
  5. Synthesis
  6. Evaluation

2. The Affective Domain

This domain relates to emotions, attitudes, appreciation, and values, such as enjoying, respecting, and supporting.

3.The Proficiency Domain (Psychomotor)

This domain is demonstrated by the four main skills as well as with physical skills; co-ordination, manipulation, strength, speed, actions which demonstrate both the fine motor skills such as the use of instruments or tools (e.g. the pen when writing), or gross motor skills (actions) which show the use of the body in dancing or performing sports.

4. The Transfer Domain

In this domain we are concerned with appreciation of other sources of knowledge. These involve long term expectations and cross-curricular links.

Objectives are phrases that describe the performance of students after a given lesson.

A Behavioral objective is defined as a clear and unambiguous description of your educational expectations for students.

When written in behavioral terms, an objective should include three components:

  • Learners’ behavior
  • Conditions of performance
  • Performance criteria.

Guidelines For Writing Behavioral  Objectives

  • Begin each objective with an “action verb” which describes what the learner will be doing, e.g. identify, formulate, list, describe, recall.
  • Write each objective in terms of student performance rather than teacher performance.
  • State each objective as a learning product (outcome or terminal behavior) rather than in terms of the learning process.
  • State only one outcome or behavior in each objective.
  • Make objectives clear, brief, and unambiguous.
  • Start a set of behavioral objectives for a lesson with a phrase such as: “At the end of the lesson, the student will be able to:”
  • Describe the important conditions under which the learner will be learning.

In brief, behavioral objectives must be accurate and SMART.

Stating accurate objectives allows the teacher to:

  • Select appropriate teaching methods, skills and strategies.
  • Choose needed equipment and suitable materials.
  • Select an appropriate time schedule for the program presentation.

Objectives are SMART when they are:

  • Specific.
  • Measurable.
  • Achievable.
  • Relevant.
  • Time bound.

What is a lesson plan?

A lesson plan is a framework for a lesson. If you imagine a lesson is like a journey, then the lesson plan is the map. It shows you where you start, where you finish and the route to take to get there.

Essentially the lesson plan sets out what the teacher hopes to achieve over the course and how he or she hopes to achieve it.

Why is planning important?

  • The teacher needs to identify his or her aims for the lesson.
  • Teachers need to know what they want their students to be able to do at the end of the lesson that they couldn’t do before.
  • Planning gives the teacher the opportunity to predict possible problems and therefore consider solutions.
  • It gives teacher confidence.
  • planning is generally a good practice and a sign of professionalism.

Do you need to plan if you have a coursebook?

There are advantages of having a course book – but although they do provide a ready-made structure for teaching material, it is very unlikely the material was written for the teachers’ particular students.

Each class is different and teachers need to be able to adapt material from whatever source so that it is suitable for their students.

A course book can certainly help planning, but it cannot replace the teacher’s own ideas for what he or she wants to achieve in a class.

What are the main 3 principles of planning?

1. Setting objectives.

Before jotting down your lesson objectives following what’s mentioned about behavioral objectives, you must consider the answers to the following questions:

  • What do the students already know, and what do they need to know?
  • What did you do with them in the previous class?
  • How well they do the classwork together?
  • How motivated are they?

2. Variety

It is an important way of getting and keeping the students engaged and interested.

3. Flexibility

Expect the unexpected! Things don’t always go to plan in most lessons so, experienced teachers have the ability to cope when things go wrong.

It’s useful when planning to build in some extra and alternative tasks and exercises.

Students may raise an interesting point and discussions could provide unexpected opportunities for language work and practice. In these cases it can be appropriate to branch away from the plan.

Ten points to consider when writing a lesson plan:

  1. The main topic of the lesson.
  2. How to arouse students’ interest?
  3. What challenges students?
  4. How much to review what has been already done?
  5. The objectives of the lesson.
  6. What vocabulary to teach?
  7. The teaching methods to use.
  8. How much detail to include in my lesson plan?
  9. What problems I might have?
  10. The order I should teach the activities in.

Check-list of what to include in a lesson plan

  • Materials
  • Objectives
  • Procedures
  • Estimated time for each activity
  • Explanations
  • Board work
  • Page numbers (if working from a text book)
  • Extra activities
  • Lesson evaluation – what you would do differently next time or what went well.

Thanks For Reading

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