Teaching is a wonderful and challenging profession driven by passion and perseverance. It requires a lot of hard work and dedication to be a good teacher. All the hard work and determination gets paid with the immense satisfaction a teacher derives from the results in her class. A lesson taught well and perceived well gives a sense of fulfilment to both the teacher and the taught. So, how does a teacher ensure that learning takes place in the classroom?
Significance of Lesson Plan
Here comes the significance of lesson planning. It’s extremely important that a teacher enters a class room well prepared, with an action plan in mind. This is also important because children are so vibrant and have so much to share that a teacher can easily lose track of what she was supposed to do in her class if she isn’t prepared beforehand. Lesson plan not only guides the teacher with its step by step instructions but also keeps the teacher focussed and determined. It helps a teacher to put her ideas across and that too effectively.
Hence, lesson planning is an indispensable component of teaching-learning process. Lesson Plan is an organised, structured and sequential framework meant to empower the teacher. It provides helpful guidelines for the teacher to get the best outcome from her students. It has various components which we’ll discuss further.
Every child is unique and has his or her potential and pace of learning. It’s the teacher who is responsible for creating a learning environment for each child. Remember, a teacher is a role model for her students. So, as a teacher it’s her responsibility to encourage and motivate the students at all times. She must do so by communicating her ideas and thoughts very clearly while instilling confidence in the students.
Choosing a Relevant topic
To begin with, a topic should be chosen carefully keeping in mind the age group of the students, subject being taught and previous knowledge of the students on the topic chosen. The topic should be age appropriate, interesting and engaging.
Objectives of the lesson Plan
Learning Objectives are the heart of any lesson plan. It’s the objectives that drive the lesson.
The teacher must clearly set the objectives of his or her lesson. Objectives should be precise, achievable and clearly written keeping in mind the skills that students will gain at the end of the lesson. Learning objectives give direction to the lesson plan and mention the outcomes to look for.
These help the teacher to evaluate whether the desired objectives have been achieved at the end of the lesson or not. General objective or the aim of the lesson gives the insight of the topic; broader goals that need to be achieved; subject or theme to be covered while specific objective precisely mentions the measurable outcomes (knowledge and skills) to be achieved by the students after the lesson is conducted.
Previous knowledge – A Pre requisite
Previous knowledge of the students is an important pre requisite while writing a lesson plan. It lays the foundation of a successful lesson. In its absence the lesson can fall flat with fruitless outcome.
Teacher should be well aware of what students must already know.
Previous knowledge may or may not be the same for all the students. So, the teacher must spend some time in assessing the same so that she can take the lesson forward from there on.
This can be done by conducting an activity or a questionnaire. For this she can ask relevant questions. The questions should be clear and easy to understand.
Once the teacher is clear with what the students already know, it’s time to move on.
Instructional Aids are tools of teaching. These are an integral part of any lesson plan. These can be in the form of pictures, flash cards, videos, animations, art material, apparatus for an experiment, abacus, manipulatives and even real life objects around us. More so, in today’s world of internet many puzzles, activities, presentations etc. are available online to help the teachers. Instructional aids depend on the subject, topic and the activity being conducted in the classroom. These should be carefully and appropriately chosen. The key lies in using them effectively. Also, these must be procured ahead of time by the teacher. This saves a lot of time and the lesson goes on smoothly.
Using instructional aids or resources can inculcate a feeling of enthusiasm and arouse curiosity (for the end result) among the students making the teaching – learning process more interesting and fruitful as these catch the attention of the students almost immediately.
Next comes the most essential part of the lesson planning. That is, the methodology of the lesson plans.
Methodology is a step by step laid procedure of conducting the lesson in the classroom. It involves a warm up activity, list of questions that need to be asked, main activity, closure of the lesson etc. Teacher must ensure that the language used by her is simple and the instructions clear and easy to follow. Also, the activities chosen should be engaging and interesting.
Warm up is important
Teacher sets the tone of the classroom. She must commence her lesson on an exciting and enthusiastic note. She should constantly motivate the students and arouse curiosity among them. Here is when she can do a 2-3 minute activity to catch the attention of the students. It can be in the form of a breathing exercise, a small game, a physical exercise or an imaginative visit to a particular place. This is called a warm up activity. Warm up activity is vital as we all come from varied backgrounds and have our own thought processes and our minds keep wandering with innumerable thoughts all the time. Also, the attention span of any individual is very small. It’s important to hold the attention of the audience before the teacher begins her class. So, to catch up the student’s interest is extremely important before she takes them for a joyful learning ride. The activity must be simple to conduct and quick too as the main activity needs to be performed a while later.
This is the time when she can introduce the topic being done. The teacher must communicate the lesson objectives to the students and they should know precisely what they are doing and why it is important. In this way, students take the ownership of their own learning.
Every classroom has students from diverse backgrounds with varying learning curves. Also, every classroom has students with different learning styles. Teacher must pick up a well thought of method to teach a particular topic depending upon the subject and class being taught. Sometimes a methodology that might work for a particular class might not work for the other class. He or she can also pick up a number of activities so that different types of learners (auditory, visual, kinesthetic) are catered to.
Students must be encouraged to ask questions and their questions must be addressed too.
There can be innumerable methods to teach a particular topic. The teacher can be as innovative and creative as she wants to be while picking up various methods. These can be varied as well. Right from brainstorming, debates, conducting experiments, nature walks, making models in science , interesting games, cooperative learning techniques, discussions in social sciences to conversations, role plays, narrations, recitations etc. in languages and deductions, number games, activities in math, the list is inexhaustible. Many of these techniques can be used interchangeably too. The teacher must use these techniques according to her will to maximise learning and obtain an effective outcome.
While carrying on with the lesson plan, the teacher must be eyeing the objectives all the time so as to stay on the track one is supposed to follow.
Closure of the lesson is an extremely important part too. It is like a recapitulation of all that is done in the lesson. So, all the points should be put together or summed up before leaving the class. It clarifies the topic that was taught and summarises the main points. So, last five minutes of any lesson should be surely spent in summarising the main points of the topic taught. It’s during this time when the teacher can introspect if the desired objectives have been met or not.
Evaluating a lesson is as well very important. Evaluation is the assessment which gives a teacher the insight of student’s learning process. It is a way of measuring how much the students have grasped and whether the learning objectives have been met or not. It can be in the form of formative or summative assessments. Formative assessment is a quick assessment carried out along with the going on lesson while summative assessment is carried at the end of the lesson. These assessments should be planned and made well in advance.
Homework or instructional practice is given to reiterate the concepts done in the class. Gone are the times of traditional pen- paper style homework. A teacher can be as innovative as he or she wishes to be. So, home work can be anything interesting like watching a TV show, interviewing your neighbour, preparing a presentation, solving a crossword etc. as far as it is catering to the learning needs of the child and reinforcing the concepts taught in class.
Generally, homework should be interesting as well as challenging for the students. It should be done by the students on their own otherwise the purpose of giving homework is lost. Also, homework tasks should not be too time consuming as students should not sacrifice their family time completing school assignments.
Now, a very important aspect of lesson planning is that it should be flexible and not rigid. It is so because every teacher has his or her own teaching –learning style. In that case, a teacher should feel free to make changes in the methodology of the lesson plan or any part of it according to the needs of the classroom and availability of resources. However, while making changes the learning objectives must be kept in mind.
Execution is important too!
As important is writing a lesson plan as is its execution. A lesson plan is successful only when it is executed properly. Remember, lesson plan is to empower and help the teacher. It helps the teacher to achieve what she has thought of. It keeps her on the track.
Appreciation is the key…
In the end, I would like to state the importance of appreciation, encouragement and motivation. Everyone likes to be appreciated. Teachers are the role models for their students. Children look up to them. A note of appreciation, a word of praise, a pat on the back or a smile can do wonders and make you achieve the unachievable.
So, dear teachers it’s important to keep your students motivated with your words and inspired by your actions. This will help you achieve the best out of your students.
Learning Paths School
Article as published in “Mentor”, March 2016, Vol.10 Issue.10