LCB – TTC – Methods2 Classroom Observation Task, Wajnryb, Cambridge, 1992 Unit 4, The lesson, 4.

1 Lesson planning

Class Observation #4 Colegio C. July 2nd, 2009 Class: 2nd year .... No. of learners: 29………… Age of learners: 13/14-year-olds Length of lesson: 40 minutes...................... Level: Pre- Intermediate Observer: Yohana Solis .......................... .........Teacher observed: GB

LESSON PLANNING Background Very often, lesson planning begins with a sheet of paper and an objective or set of objectives, and works its way through a number of procedures, steps and phases through to the end. In this observation we will be approaching lesson design from a different departure point - from the perspective of the completed lesson. We will be working backwards from a taught lesson to determine what decisions were made by the teacher in planning this lesson. The planning of teaching is seen as a series of decisions made by a teacher about the various elements of a lesson -learners, materials, tasks, etc. A key point to be stressed is that while planning is a relatively static activity, teaching is inherently dynamic. It follows therefore that, in a sense, plans are made to be changed - that is, they are drawn up in the knowledge that the teacher will almost inevitably alter the plan as the lesson develops. These 'up-and-running' decisions are no less important than those made before the lesson began. TASK OBJECTIVE The task objective is to determine - through a set of a focussed and guided questions - what decisions the teacher made in planning the lesson. As we shall see, the planning refers both to preparation before the lesson and decisions taken in the classroom during the lesson. Changes to plans and reasons for them will be an important element in the post-Lesson consultation with the teacher. PROCEDURE • BEFORE THE LESSON

Arrange to observe a lesson. It does not matter what sort of lesson it is, as long as it is one which involves the teacher in some thought, planning or preparation. It may help to have a copy of the lesson plan while observing the lesson in order to distinguish between pre-planned and on-thespot teacher decisions.

Teacher’s plan in advance:

 check WB exercises they should have done for HW  practise "Conditional II"
 a 10-minute self-assessment task

DURING THE LESSON

1.Below is a list of questions about various aspects of planning language
teaching. It is important to highlight before we start that the day before observation, once the teacher had already planned the class, government decided to suspend classes for a month time due to “Influenza A” pandemic. Therefore, the teacher had to rearrange class to assign homework for the school break. the the the the

In observing this lesson, what inferences can you make concerning the teacher's decisions about:

1. establishing a certain classroom atmosphere?
The students were restless and it took ten minutes for the teacher to calm them down. She started the class assuming the background knowledge about the school break. If I were the teacher of the class, I would have taken a few minutes to ask about their views on the pandemic and to ask them if they knew they would not have to come to school for a month. I would have asked them what they consider they should study during that period, as a way of self-assessment. 2. motivating the students to the lesson? She decided to encourage them to work hard at home; she suggested that not doing the activities at homes was as if they were present at school without doing anything. To me, it was great to devote a couple of minutes to motivating them with the homework: being this school break an unusual situation, the teacher had to rest on having educated them in autonomous learning.

3. realistically contextualising language?
The teacher chose to use mother tongue to explain the homework. In the last ten minutes of the class, she turned to her original plan of practising Conditionals. The use of the target language, for the exercises and the eliciting of the rule, was remarkable. It is important to highlight that besides the particular conditions of the class, the teacher chose to keep the important items of the original plan. 4. Involving the students and drawing out passive knowledge?

The teacher made them go to the examples in the book and elicited the rule from them writing it on the board. Once she assured everyone remembered the rule, she gave the instructions for the activity planned.

5. checking for comprehension and learning?
In this particular lesson, the teacher based her checking for understanding on question tags. She did not ask another student to paraphrase the explanation. She just asked whether they had understood and if they were following her. 6. helping students to identify rules and organise new knowledge? It was part of the initial plan to go back to previous class’ examples and elicit the rule from them. She guided through questions the students’ recognition of form and tenses. (Eg: “Look at the examples and tell me the tense... Simple past, great... Where does it go, in the condition or the consequence?... Great in the “if clause”... what’s the meaning?”) 7. setting up activities that promote communication? It is a clear example of a teacher that plans for communication. Whenever she had the chance of interacting with the students, either for a specific activity or just for asking their opinion, she did so. Communication was present mainly between the students and the teacher, but not so much among students.

8.

establishing a framework in which students work without the teacher? This was a great opportunity to see how the teacher had arranged a skeleton that supported students work during the unusual school break. She asked first who had access to internet and explained her beliefs about doing activities at home.

9. how information is to be organised and shared?
The teacher had a natural use of the blackboard and although it was an unusual class, she managed to deliver an organized class.

10. ending the lesson and linking it to previous/future ones?
If I were to spot an area of opportunity for this teacher, that would be ending classes. She run into the break with the class, the bell caught her class in the development of the activity.

AFTER THE LESSON

1.Actual lessons tend to vary in some degree from the pre-conceived plan. For this reason, teachers often debate the value of expending time and concentration in the planning phase. Look at these hypothetical answers to the question: is it worth planning a lesson?

With which of these answers do you feel comfortable? What value(s) can be gained from lesson planning? I feel more comfortable with Teacher D’s answer: “I thinks there’s a place for broad planning but not every single step of a lesson.” Personally, lesson plans should be a guide for the teacher. Extremes are always bad; on the one hand, not having a plan may lead to a disorganized class, and on the other hand, sticking 100% to it may make the teacher lose spontaneity. Teachers need to be ready to deal with the unexpected!!!! REFLECTION Do you plan your lessons? If so, to what degree? Can you use the experience gained during this observation to refine and improve your planning procedures? I generally plan a set of activities to be covered in a lesson, but I leave timing and order to the development of the class. I’ve learnt from this observation that no matter how many things crop up in a class, we should always go back to an original plan, which can consist of just a list of topics and activities accordingly.
This observation is based on a teacher training workshop on lesson planning given by Jenny Hannan at the Sydney English Language Centre in 1989.

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