Although this post is guided for teachers, all readers are welcome to view and see how a lesson should be implemented with students. This post will focus on what is a lesson plan, the benefits of having one when teaching, and a breakdown of a famous lesson plan which is used by millions of people across the world. Can you guess which one?
What is a Lesson Plan? Why is it Beneficial to have one?
A lesson plan is a resource created by an administrator or teacher to use when teaching a class. Unlike an outline, the lesson plan is more detailed and includes a breakdown of what you expect to accomplish in the classroom. For teachers in public school, the lesson plan is used to identify the specific objectives and standards they have to follow in the school’s curriculum. For myself, I use lesson plans to help structure my teaching strategies which I want to implement into my classes for reading and debate. The important part of a lesson plan is with the lesson plan format. Usually, the lesson plan format includes preparing before class, what you expect to accomplish during class, and then a good wrap up of what should be expected for the next class. Jeremy Harmer in his book The Practice of English Language Teaching said, “Classrooms are dynamic environments and, as we said, a lesson is an interactive event in which people react with each other and with the language.” With lesson plans, you have a plan of action in getting students involved with the subject, not just a class.
One of the main concerns with a lesson plan is: Why use it if there is already an outline/no time to create one? To answer this question, the first thing to think about is why have the lesson plan? If you want to be prepared for your lesson and make the lesson entertaining and appropriate for your students, then a lesson plan is vital to use. An outline describes what you should do, similar to a checklist, but it doesn’t (usually) include time allocations, it doesn’t explicitly lay out the steps and procedures needed to complete a task. Additionally, outlines typically do not include the instructions on activities or how certain teaching strategies should be used by the teacher. Outlines can be useful to hand out to teachers, but then it should be teachers’ responsibility to create a lesson plan that puts into consideration the ability of his/her student and their own teaching style.
Another main concern for teachers is how can you lesson plan for a lesson you don’t know will actually happen? The Planning Paradox has been a discussion for teachers and from my perspective the answer is simple: a lesson plan is like a map to help evolve and develop better teaching strategies and methods. It shows the students you are not unprepared and allows me to see a time oriented schedule of events I need to consider when doing the lesson. The lesson plan I use is a popular one called the Madaline Hunter lesson plan.
The Madaline Hunter Lesson Plan format is one which I use when teaching all subjects of English from Reading, Vocabulary, Writing, Debate, and even Grammar. The format of the lesson plan is broken down into different parts to make sure the students have time and the ability to demonstrate understanding of the lesson being taught. Before the class however, you should write down what you expect to gain from the class as a teacher of a subject and of the English language. The objectives are important to focus on and may even be useful to write on the board for the students so they can see what they will be learning for the day. The Anticipatory Set should list what you want to teach and activities you expect to accomplish in the lesson. The second half of the lesson plan outlines 5 parts which you should try to follow to make sure the students are able to actually learn the material being taught in class.
The format of a lesson plan is very important because it should flow from part to part. By keeping a steady pace that doesn’t deviate too much, the students will be more interested and pay attention better.
1. Input= this is the part of the lesson where you provide explicit instruction. The students view what they need to learn to complete the lesson
2. Modeling= show how to use the information from the input section so the students can see what they should do
3. Checking for Understanding= use different teaching strategies to help the students comprehend the material that was taught
4. Guided Instruction= have students demonstrate their knowledge by monitoring their practice with feedback on their performance. (This is where activities can be used to get students out of their seats and using the new material.
5. Closure= lesson review, recall the information the students learned and preview the next lesson if time remains.
The final part of the lesson plan is the Independent Practice. This is where you would assign homework and give related practice of the lesson to the students to do at home to keep them reminded of the lesson they learned.
The best part with a lesson plan is how you can modify the lessons very easily once they have been completed. For a school where students are separated by their abilities, certain classes may accomplish more than a lower level class. The lesson plan format allows you to change the activities and strategies to fit the students’ needs. This detailed lesson plan format is very useful for teachers and is recommended for all new and beginning teachers.
For more information about planning lessons, check out this vital source of information, it is a book called The Practice of English Language Teaching by Jeremy Harmer. Although it is written with British-English, the material is phenomenal. Each Part is broken into chapters and sections that help anyone interested in teaching English with everything about teaching English. The graphs and examples of activities and strategies help even the advanced teachers.
If you are interested, check out this book and others by him at Amazon where others have left their reviews.