How to Plan Effective Lessons.
In some schools there seem to be some rules teachers feel they need to follow. No one knows where these lesson-planning myths came from, no that’s not strictly true. There is a tendency for inexperienced or unconfident school leaders to follow “What does Ofsted want to see?” advice from consultants. To combat this Ofsted launched a Myth Busting page. With the new inspection framework, the importance of grading lessons has decreased and the pressure to deliver a lesson in a specific way should be reduced. So here are some lesson planning myths that you have permission to break.
Lesson Planning Myths
- If there is laughing there is no learning occurring
- All students are required to be quiet during work.
- No fidgeting is allowed.
- The teacher must stand at the front.
- You must use the interactive whiteboard.
- Lesson structure must consist of Starter, activity, plenary.
- There must be working wall displays up.
- You must not smile until Christmas (ECTs only)
- Only Robin Williams is allowed to stand on the table (actually health & safety best get down)
- There must be a worksheet/book entry to mark
- Everyone needs to answer a question verbally
- Cutting and sticking is a legitimate learning outcome
- Students must line up before entering class
- Seating plans are not to be altered
- You must incorporate learning styles (VAK)
- If it is world book day you must dress up.
The Art of Effective Lesson Planning
Now for the useful bit, as a new teacher, effective lesson planning is crucial for creating a structured and engaging learning environment. With careful consideration of your students’ needs, curriculum objectives, and teaching methods, you can deliver impactful and memorable lessons. In this article, we will explore some essential tips and techniques to help you master the art of lesson planning.
1. Understand Your Students
Before diving into planning your lessons, take the time to get to know your students. Carry out assessments, observe their interaction styles, and identify their strengths and weaknesses. This knowledge will guide you in tailoring your lessons to meet individual needs and provide personalised learning experiences.
2. Set Clear Objectives
Clearly define your lesson objectives and learning outcomes. What do you want your students to achieve by the end of the lesson? Break down your objectives into measurable and attainable goals, ensuring they align with the curriculum standards. This will help in tracking progress and assessing the effectiveness of your teaching.
3. Plan Engaging Activities
Learning should be an interactive and enjoyable experience. Incorporate a variety of activities into your lessons to keep students engaged and active participants in their own learning. Consider using group work, hands-on experiments, multimedia resources, and real-life examples to make the content relevant and relatable.
4. Scaffold Learning
To cater to diverse learning abilities, provide scaffolding throughout your lessons. This entails breaking down complex concepts into smaller, manageable steps. By gradually increasing the level of difficulty and support, you empower students to build upon their existing knowledge and skills. Remember to offer both challenge and support for optimal learning outcomes.
5. Incorporate Technology
Integrating technology into your lessons can enhance student engagement and deepen understanding. Utilise educational apps, interactive multimedia, and online resources to supplement your teaching. However, ensure that technology serves a purpose and doesn’t overshadow the learning objectives. Balance is key.
6. Assessment and Feedback
Regularly assess your students’ progress to determine the effectiveness of your instruction. Use formative and summative assessments to gather data and provide constructive feedback. This will help you identify areas for improvement and enable students to track their growth. Remember to celebrate achievements and encourage a growth mindset.
5 Essential Tips for Surviving Lesson Planning
Congratulations on landing your first teaching gig! You must be both thrilled and terrified. While standing in front of a class of eager young minds will be incredibly rewarding, the workload can seem daunting – especially all that pesky lesson planning. Fear not, young grasshopper! I’m here to share my top tips for effective (but not exhausting) lesson planning.
- Fake it ’til you make it. Are you completely overwhelmed trying to plan your first unit from scratch? Feel free to borrow lessons and activities from more experienced teachers (or famous teachers that inspire you) until you get your footing. Just tweak them enough so it feels like your own. Nobody will know!
- Keep it simple (seriously). Resist the urge to over-plan with too many complex activities and objectives. Focus on one or two key learning outcomes and build in flexibility. You can always add more layers later as you get more comfortable.
- Steal like an artist. Bits and pieces from books, blogs, Pinterest and more are fair game. No need to reinvent the wheel when you can repurpose great ideas. Just be sure to tweak activities to align with your standards and lesson flow.
- Lessons don’t have to be perfect. As long as kids are learning, who cares if your space fills up or the activity runs long? Have fun and be flexible – paper plans rarely survive first contact with students anyway.
- Don’t plan alone. Schedule regular meetings with teammates to collaboratively plan units. Two heads are better than one, and you’ll feel less isolated tackling big projects together. Plus, you can steal troubleshoot each other’s lessons!
I hope these tips help take the edge off those mountains of paperwork. Remember – it gets easier with practice. Now get out there and dazzle those kids!