If you are entering or considering entering the English language teaching profession you will hear a lot of discussion around lesson planning and lesson plans. During teacher training programs you will learn what lesson plans are exactly, how to construct them and when you need to write them, but if you haven’t gotten there yet this article will attempt to explain.
What is a lesson plan?
A lesson plan is obviously a plan of the lesson. During the teaching day you will have either several different subjects to teach or several different grade levels, depending on whether you are a classroom/homeroom teacher or a specialist subject teacher. A lesson plan for each lesson you teach will give you all of the information you need for that one particular lesson.
What is on a lesson plan?
A lesson plan contains a brief description of the students the lesson is designed for, an objective for the lesson, a list of the items/resources that are required, a break-down of the learning activities that will be conducted and the timing for each and how you want the students to be working in each activity eg individually or small groups. A good lesson plan will also include a bit of a contingency plan, either something for the ‘fast finishers’ to do after they’ve blazed through everything you had planned, or something extra for all if something falls flat and you need to keep them busy and still learning until the lesson is concluded.
Who writes the lesson plan?
As a teacher writing and planning lessons is your responsibility. If you are lucky to be in an institution that has teachers of similar grades plan together that’s great because in my experience, the more ideas and brains working on the plans, the more rigorous the lessons developed are. As a new teacher you will want to write lessons plans for all of your classes, these will become less involved as you get more experienced and probably become more like jotted lists when you’re a pro.
How is a lesson plan structured?
During your course you will be given lesson plan proformas or templates which you can use when you start teaching, there are many also available online if you do a quick search for ‘lesson plan template’. You will quickly develop a favourite one or two either because they are the briefest to write or because they request particular info that you want to be reminded of during the lesson. These could be such things as the teaching approach you will use for an activity, so that you are reminded of how and why you are doing this particular activity and what and how exactly you want the students to learn.
Can you give me an example of a lesson plan?
Well, yes, I’m glad you asked! Below is a lesson plan that I have created for teaching Year 5 EFL students past tense verbs. When you start teaching, having a clear lesson objective (what it is that you want students to learn in the lesson), a list of the activities you want the students to do (along with how long you want them to spend on each), and a list of the resources that you require are the essential elements. With these you know exactly what you are doing, how, for how long and why.
How long do I have to write them?
Every teacher is different in the amount of planning they prefer or have time to do. Some teachers (more so the experienced ones), can come to class with an idea, the resources, an objective and the confidence that everything will be ok. Others like to write down a play-by-play lesson plan so if they get nervous everything is written down in front of them and they don’t have to think or second guess themselves. Throughout our lifetimes as teachers we probably fluctuate between these two, with some classes becoming so second nature that we hardly need to prepare at all and some subjects or students new or challenging for some reason that we prefer to plan more prior to jumping in. Lesson planning does become much easier as you gain experience and will often end up as jotted notes written in a yearly planner quite quickly, and then the only time you will be required to write a full plan is when someone asks you to write an article on ‘Do teachers have to write lesson plans?’
Date: 11/6/21 Duration: 45 minsYear: 5 Subject: EFLLevel: A2 Topic: Past tense verbs No. of students: 24
By the end of the lesson students will be able to identify the past tense verbs in a provided text.
White board marker
Grammar game sheets x 12 (1 per 2 students)
Score sheets x 12
8 different texts
5 mins Introduce topic (+ comprehension check) 10 mins Activity 1 True/false computer quiz
15 mins Activity 2 Grammar game
10 mins Activity 3 Read, discuss and highlight text where past tense is evident
5 mins Conclude lesson/review learning/students sharing
Teacher to whole class
Teacher to whole class
Anticipated problems and solutions:
Paper version of the true/false computer quiz ready for photocopying
Computer game on tenses for fast finishers
Whole class discussion at lesson end extended if needed