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What Every Novice Teacher Must Know About Lesson Planning

Lesson planning is very important for all teachers especially beginner ones because an effective lesson plan usually leads to effective teaching.

Planning a lesson effectively is not as easy as you think. This matter needs practice and awareness of some principles first.

Here are the three main principles that you should consider even if you are an experienced teacher.

1. Setting SMART Objectives

SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timed) objectives clarify for the teacher exactly what the teaching point is, so objectives should be not too easy or too difficult.

If objectives are too difficult for students to achieve, they will become frustrated and lose motivation. And, if they are too easy, students will become bored. Bored and frustrated students can often cause discipline.

So, it is important when planning to think about the answers to the following questions that can help you set realistic and effective objectives.

  • What do students already know?
  • What do they need to know?
  • What did they learn in the previous lesson?
  • How well do they work together?
  • What motivated them?

2. Variety

Variety is an important way to get and keep your students engaged and interested.

Repeating the same kinds of exercises can demotivate students, so it’s a good idea to vary the kinds of activities, materials, and interactions during the lesson.

If you don’t build variety into your lesson plan, the danger that students can switch off at some stage will increase.  

3. Flexibility

However well you plan your lesson; you never actually know exactly what’s going to happen in the classroom until it happens.

Some activities may take a longer or shorter time than anticipated; the students may be more or less interested in a topic than you imagined.

Sometimes, unexpected things happen during the lesson. In these cases, if the teacher sticks rigidly to the set plan, that will have a negative effect.

In other words, if the road ahead becomes blocked, it’s no good trying to carry on but the driver (the teacher) should find a different route.

Teachers always need to be able to adapt their lesson plans because things don’t always go along with their plans. That’s they should expect the unexpected and be ready for it.

Only experienced teachers have the ability to cope with unexpected things. They always, when planning, prepare extra and alternative tasks to be ready for all circumstances.

If students provide unexpected opportunities for language work and practice, experienced teachers find it appropriate to branch away from the plan to cope with the students’ learning levels.

A lesson plan is only a guide for the teacher guiding him/her to where to go and how to get there. However, it shouldn’t dominate the teacher so when the opportunities arise, the teacher should go with the flow.

The Lesson Planning Summary

In conclusion and in brief here is the lesson plan summary that every novice and experienced teacher consider:

Before The Class

1. Know your school

Which room are you in? What is happening around that can influence your teaching inside your classroom?

2. Know your lesson

You should know if it’s grammar, reading, phonics, or writing. You should be well aware of the language focus in your lesson.

3. Know your students

Base your materials and activities around the needs and personalities of your students.

4. Have clear behavioural objectives

Your objectives must be SMART and appropriate for your students.

In The Class

1. Involve the students

Try to give them as much time as possible to talk and use the language. Don’t lecture but activate, elicit, and engage them all the time.

2. Personalize the target language

Always ask students to describe their own lives.

3. Vary your work

Keep your students’ attention all the time.

4. Model

Show students how to say, read and write the target language.

5. Increase language practice

Allow time for all kinds of language practice; controlled, guided, and free practice so that students will be familiar with the target language.

6. Give feedback

Always reinforce, consolidate and correct students’ learning.

After The Class

1. Reflect on the lesson

You should know well what worked well and what didn’t.

2. Modify & adapt

Based on your reflection on the lesson, you should put in your mind some modifications and adaptations for your next lesson plan.

That’s it: The overall principles and the summary of lesson planning that can be applied to most lessons and teaching situations and that can help all teachers plan effective lessons.

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