Lesson planning is a vital component of the teaching-learning process. Proper classroom planning will keep teachers organized and on track while teaching, thus allowing them to teach more, help students reach objectives more easily and manage less. The better prepared the teacher is, the more likely she/he will be able to handle whatever unexpectedly happens in the lesson.
- provides a coherent framework for smooth efficient teaching.
- helps the teacher to be more organized.
- gives a sense of direction in relation to the syllabus.
- helps the teacher to be more confident when delivering the lesson.
- provides a useful basis for future planning.
- helps the teacher to plan lessons which cater for different students.
- is a proof that the teacher has taken a considerable amount of effort in his/her teaching.
Decisions involved in planning lessons:
Planning is imagining the lesson before it happens. This involves prediction, anticipation, sequencing, organizing and simplifying. When teachers plan a lesson, they have to make different types of decisions which are related to the following items:
- the aims to be achieved;the content to be taught;
- the group to be taught: their background, previous knowledge, age, interests, etc.
- the lessons in the book to be included or skipped;
- the tasks to be presented;
- the resources needed, etc.
The decisions and final results depend on the teaching situation, the learners' level, needs, interests and the teacher’s understanding of how learners learn best, the time and resources available.
Hints for effective lesson planning:
- When planning, think about your students and your teaching context first.
- Prepare more than you may need: It is advisable to have an easily presented, light “reserve” activity ready in case of extra time. Similarly, it is important to think in advance which component(s) of the lesson may be skipped. if you find yourself with too little time to do everything you have planned.
- Keep an eye on your time. Include timing in the plan itself. The smooth running of your lesson depends to some extent on proper timing.
- Think about transitions (from speaking to writing or from a slow task to a more active one).
- Include variety if things are not working the way you have planned.
- Pull the class together at the beginning and at the end.
- End your lessons on a positive note.
Plans only express your intentions. Plans are projects which need to be implemented in a real classroom with real students. Many things may happen which you had not anticipated. In the end you need to adapt your plans in order to respond to your pupils´ actual needs. It is important to bear in mind Jim Scrivener’s words: Prepare thoroughly. But in class, teach the learners, not the plan.