Catedra de Limba si Literatura engleza Methodology IIA, 2010

LESSON PLANNING
Many of your decisions intended to promote learning in the classroom will be based on your answer to the question: “How do I plan my lessons to promote as much learning as possible?” Planning includes all the decisions you make before working directly with the pupils. Before you teach a lesson it helps to be clear about what exactly you want to do. A lot is going to happen on the spot in the class, but the better prepared you are, the more likely it is that you will be ready to cope with whatever happens. Most teachers have in advance some idea of any lesson they are about to teach: they have an idea of what they will try to cover and how. Fewer teachers prepare their lessons in detail. However, we encourage you to write a wide range of lesson plans. Even though you may later on choose to plan your lessons more skeletally, the exercise of thorough and disciplined planning will provide you with an insight into your teaching and will make your lessons more effective. Objectives By the end of this unit you should: have a good idea of what needs to be included in a lesson plan be able to formulate main and subsidiary lesson aims for various types of lessons distinguish aims from activities use a suitable lesson plan layout.

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Introduction to Lesson Planning

Although planning is sometimes seen as a chore, lesson planning has enormous advantages for both pupils and teachers. Here are a few of the advantages of planning: it means anticipation, coherence, balance and clarity of purpose it makes lesson execution easier it allows for flexibility in lesson execution it saves time in the long run it looks professional it makes you understand that some things are more important than others it makes self-appraisal much easier. A coherent, varied, well-targeted and well-shaped lesson will be appreciated by your pupils. Moreover, there are further advantages in the presentation of your lesson plans to anybody observing your teaching or reading about your lessons: A lesson plan will help your observer or reader see how you have prepared for your lesson and the factors you have taken into consideration. A lesson plan makes the task of commenting upon lessons much easier. It explains why you are doing something at a particular point in a lesson, and it may locate and identify any problems. A lesson plan is something concrete that can be referred to. This is useful either in feedback with your inspector, observer and tutor or for your reader.

Anca Cehan

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role-cards. Harmer (2001) says that in your lesson plan you will need to include four main elements: activities. on the other hand. you also need to have knowledge of the syllabus. Starting from the textbook. their background. the class teacher who knows the pupils personally and can predict which topics will be found interesting and which boring. will you use? Classroom management. try to find out as much as possible about them before you decide what to teach. is “What are the aims of the lesson?” If you can answer this – if you can be clear about what you hope your learners will have achieved by the end of the lesson – then perhaps the other questions will become easier to answer. grammar structures) you need to introduce and practise. skills. Remember that besides knowledge of the pupils. etc. pictures. after all. What will the learners achieve? What are you going to achieve yourself? The teaching point. their motivation and their learning styles. You are. Vary and balance the activities so that each pupil gets a chance of finding the lesson engaging and motivating. Think what kind of activity would fit them at any particular point in the lesson. If you do not know much about the class. lexical items. Remember however. tapes. probably. that the most interesting topic will become boring if the task set for the pupils is uninteresting and that. What is the subject matter of the lesson – the skills or language areas that will be studied and the topics you will deal with? The teaching procedures. Decide which language skill(s) you need to develop in that lesson. What texts. Keep in mind that the textbook is just a guide and that you are free to replace what is given in the textbook with something else. However. What activities will you use? What sequence will they come in? Materials. exercises. Decide what language (e. you still need to plan how the pupils will work on the respective skill(s) and what sub-skills you want to develop.2 Pre-planning What elements do you need to plan for an English lesson? Think first! There are some general areas to consider when planning: The learners. The key question. Your choice may be limited by the syllabus or the textbook. select the content. Anca Cehan 2 .g. language and content: Decide what the pupils will be doing in the classroom and how they will be grouped. topics that are not particularly interesting can become very successful if you assign a task that your pupils find engaging. Bear in mind their level of language. What will you say? How will the seating be arranged? How much time will each stage take? Plan for your pupils. Will they enjoy the lesson? Will they benefit from it? The aims.

310) Your lesson plan will reflect many of the important features of your lesson: your understanding of aims (main and subsidiary) your awareness of the language your ability to anticipate problems the balance and variety of activities in the lesson whether or not whole stages of the lesson are missing the allocation of time to particular activities We therefore need to look at writing lesson plans and consider what they should contain. what examples are needed. This is not because experienced teachers always do this for every lesson. 3 Writing a Lesson Plan Student teachers are expected to produce a lesson plan for each lesson taught. 3. what strategies can be used and how learning will be assessed. p. what the pupils should know or be able to do by the end of the lesson.1 Lesson Planning (after Harmer. Think first! What preliminary information do you usually introduce at the beginning of your lesson plans? Anca Cehan 3 . Requiring you to sit down and think through your aims and procedure very carefully may help you to become clearer about what works and why. A lesson plan normally contains preliminary information under several headings. J.Teacher’s knowledge of the students Teacher’s knowledge of the syllabus Activities Language skills Language type Subject and content Practical realities The plan Fig.. A lesson plan results from a number of thinking processes and involves making decisions about what topics to study. 2001. but as an awarenessraising tool. The Practice of English Language Teaching.

(d) the topics or contexts that will be used. A number of aims that fit into the affective domain. etc) and mention any relevant points about individual students (age. your pupils will expect thinking. the cognitive aims are statements that describe the knowledge that the pupils are expected to acquire or construct. evaluate and create. analyse. are also Anca Cehan 4 . tutor or inspector has not seen your lesson. 2. 5. 3. the work relevant to the lesson that you have covered and give some indication of how the lesson will be consolidated in future lessons. values and on the development of the pupils‟ personal and emotional growth. use this maxim: “What is it that my pupils should be able to do by the end of the lesson that they couldn‟t do at the beginning?” You can deal with aims under two headings: „main/major‟ and „subsidiary‟. decision making and problem solving to be increasingly emphasised in the classroom. If you are unsure about the aims of your lesson.3. 5. clearly specified and directed towards an outcome that can be measured. Lower or Upper Intermediate. apply. or Proficient and the year of study. This is a useful training discipline. This shows how your lesson fits into a sequence of lessons. Time. Here you need to show how this lesson relates to other lessons that have gone before and those that will follow. understand. In a lesson of 50 minutes you will normally have two or three main aims. 2. Class profile. Use in the formulation of these aims verbs like: remember. 7. procedural and metacognitive. Advanced. It is essential that the lesson aims are realistic. achievable. 4. In the 21 st century. Apply these verbs to the four main dimensions of knowledge: factual. it is useful to be able to state what the aims are. forcing you to concentrate on deciding what activities and procedures are most likely to lead to specific outcomes for the learners. Timetable fit. Elementary. 3. The usual length of a lesson is about 50 minutes. which focus on attitudes. conceptual. etc). In an English class. 4. This is probably the most important part of your lesson plan since your lesson will ultimately be judged in terms of your aims. 6. (c) the teaching point (the language skills or systems that the lesson will work on). You are expected to offer a clear statement of aims before you start teaching a lesson. This information is particularly useful if your reader. Make some brief general comments about the class as a whole (atmosphere.1 Preliminary Information The preliminary information sheet is usually about 1 or 2 pages: 1. particular strengths or weaknesses. These should encapsulate what the lesson is basically about. the lesson aims will be mainly cognitive and affective. For every lesson you teach. It is important to separate mentally the following from the aims of the lesson: (a) the material you use. State briefly what textbook you are using with the class. as you will most probably want your pupils to do more than “remember” facts. Generally speaking. and for each activity within that lesson. Aims (main and subsidiary). Here you state the level of the class: Beginner. Level. Timetable fit Level Time Class profile Aims (main and subsidiary) Assumed knowledge and anticipated problems Materials and aids 1. (b) the activities that will be done.

b) Dialogue building. Knowing where you are going enables you to make moment-by-moment decisions about different paths or options to take en route. your aim may be to develop your pupils‟ awareness of and appreciation of another culture‟s values and customs. In an English lesson. h) Warmer. with the subsidiary aims: to give the pupils practice in selective listening. If you have a clear objective for a lesson. Anca Cehan 5 . the aims may be primarily language-oriented (e. Here is an example of how aims can be expressed: The most important aim usually concerns intended student achievements: things that they will have learned by the end of the lesson. Specify what your aim for the activity is (e. These should be expressed in a separate section. You cannot say that your aim is “to do a role-play” since this is an activity. 36. for example. Remember that attitudes. c) Headway p. values and emotions strongly affect learning. a) Develop the scan reading skill. such as “to improve the clarity of my instructions”.g. This can be. and in using guessing strategies to overcome lexical difficulties. to increase the pupils‟ confidence and ability to scan a text). Distinguish between teaching aims and learning aims. SAQ 1 Is “teaching the present perfect” a realistic aim for a lesson? How about “doing a listening exercise”? Try to formulate aims that are learner-centred. Sometimes the main aim of the lesson is referred to as the objective. e) Jigsaw reading. and especially good specifying of objectives does not restrict you. sometimes we need to concentrate on it deliberately. such as “to enable the pupils to use the present perfect with a greater degree of accuracy”. Subsidiary aims will be derived from the main aims. in a lesson with reference to multiculturalism. in anticipating content.g. while keeping the main objective always clearly in front of you. g) Introduction of the language of disagreeing. Note that the lesson has limited aims (2 – 3). or “to develop fluency in…” etc.g. to improve the pupils‟ listening skill. you can bear this in mind all the way through the class. For example. introduction and controlled oral practice of a certain grammar structure) or skill-oriented (e.) SAQ 2 In the following list of headings. you should keep in mind factors like willingness to listen. not an aim. commitment to values and involvement. Good lesson planning. “to consolidate vocabulary related to previous work in class” or “to recycle expressing polite refusals”.recommended. open-mindedness. /z/ and /iz/ in plural endings. and you shouldn‟t try to achieve too much. and when you plan and teach a lesson. but in clarifying the end point you intend to teach. Although much of the focus in the affective domain is implicit. You may have aims for yourself in the lesson (teaching aims). sets you free to go towards that point in the most appropriate ways in class. say which is an aim and which is an activity. i) Elicit use of Present Perfect. It is also important not to confuse aims with activities. f) Further practice of /s/ vs. d) Grammar revision: conditional clauses.

thus:  To provide practice in reading magazine articles in informal style and to help the pupils use background knowledge to make correct inferences. Here are some example statements of assumptions and anticipated problems: The pupils have good gist listening skills but are not very used to listening to loudspeaker announcements.g. Here are some examples of lesson aims: Text type. which you anticipate your pupils may either find easy or have problems with. you may need to add a fifth heading. style and register:  To provide practice in reading magazine articles in informal style. b) form. The assumptions and anticipated problems are the specific things. “I got there early. This is an important part of your lesson plan since it shows your ability to analyse language. then you may need to test out the pupils‟ skills before you can make any safe assumptions.g. but only in their reading. It is more difficult to make assumptions about levels of skill than about levels of knowledge. SAQ 3 How could you formulate the above aims in a more learnercentred way? 6. Specify briefly what relevant language you think your pupils already know (vocabulary. which is why I had to wait so long”. although. style and register. The pupils are familiar with the topic area. structures. present level of your pupils‟ ability in coping with listening tasks). it was the subject of a discussion in a previous Anca Cehan 6 . Reading or listening style:  To test pupils‟ intensive reading abilities  To provide practice in skim listening Specific language aims  To provide receptive practice of some discourse connectors (e. and so on. however. Occasionally. If you intend to do some skill work.) Specific skills aim  To help pupils use their background knowledge to make correct inferences  To present a way of dealing with unfamiliar words by breaking them down into parts It is often desirable to kill two or more birds with one stone and set aims. state the level of ability your pupils have with that skill. though)  To present „comment‟ segments introduced by which (e. Analyse anticipated problems under the following headings on your lesson plan: a) meaning. c) phonology.  To provide practice in listening to formal speeches. though.The following headings can help you specify aims for a reading or listening lesson: text type. although. reading or listening style.  To provide practice in listening to loudspeaker announcements. If you have recently taken over a class. specific language aim. etc. etc).g.  To present discourse linkers such as however. Thinking about your pupils when you are planning is crucial. e) sociocultural problems. with formal style and marked register. The pupils have come across most of the vocabulary before. relevant to the aims of your lesson.  To present an ESP (medical) journal article. Assumed knowledge and anticipated problems. and d) level of skill (e. specific skills aim.

etc. with the answers you expect. All this will demonstrate that you have analysed the language you are teaching.). handouts. These will make clear why you are doing something at a particular point in your lesson. etc. references. They will also help your observer. When teaching the lesson. diagrams. show the form clearly. Write concept questions on your lesson plan. mark word stress on lexical items. The pupils have good higher processing skills but tend to make mistakes in interpreting grammatical discourse markers. concept questions. Being able to refer to stages numerically makes the plan easier to read (e. The layout style you adopt for the “Procedure” part of the lesson plan is a question of individual taste. The stages of the lesson should be clearly indicated on the plan. tutor.) 3. tapes. inspector or reader to assess the effectiveness of any part of the lesson and help you to clarify the distinction between aims and activities. Anca Cehan 7 . Here are some tips: Give a heading to each stage.2 Procedure A good lesson plan should be clear and logical. When teaching vocabulary. 1. someone else should be able to teach it following your lesson plan). You do not need to write a word-for-word script.lesson. timing. which shows major stages. and make the lesson reconstructable (i. etc. State also if the material is your own or where you took it from (as this will be very useful when you teach the same lesson again. Show how you will convey meaning and check understanding.a. show awareness of sounds. List any materials.e. pictures.b. e. This will help you to plan logically staged lessons and make it clear how the stages of the lesson develop. etc. Alternatively.g.g. register. you intend to use. you may wish to have a simpler working document for yourself. On the lesson plan. realia. 7. board drawings. give the phonetic transcription of problematic words or chunks of language and mark stress and intonation patterns. On the lesson plan. connotation. Aims refer to either language development or skills improvement. types of interaction. The ending and beginning of stages should be made clear to the pupils during the lesson. but you need more than brief notes that only you understand. Materials and aids. Some teachers like to use a series of cards that carry instructions and contain the main points of a particular stage so that they can easily refer to them during the lesson. Remember that you may also need to ask questions about style. Where you anticipate pronunciation problems.: presenting new language getting across meaning highlighting form and pronunciation controlled practice less controlled practice freer practice / personalisation / creative stage The heading also helps to ensure that important stages of the lesson are not left out and that appropriate materials are prepared for the practice stages. you can analyse separately the pupils‟ assumed knowledge and the problems you anticipate when teaching that lesson. 3. stress and intonation.

for organising pair work.30 minutes. for the use of the textbook. will help you to assess if there is sufficient variety of focus in the lesson.S. so you will need to make appropriate decisions about timing. in groups. group work. and it can help you to learn from experience how long some kinds of activities can take. etc. in pairs. i.e. Giving an approximate timing can also help you to limit your aims. so don‟t be afraid of being flexible in the lesson. Be realistic about this. If you have „timing problems‟ with lessons. Show on your lesson plan how you will make use of the board during the lesson. etc. the left-hand column contains subsidiary aims which were written by various teachers. Board work Plan board work before the lesson so that it is clearly organised and legible. Analyse these aims and write your own comments in the righthand column. Sometimes the timing can go wrong. diagrams. One possible solution to timing problems is to build flexible slots into the lesson plan. Show the approximate amount of time you expect to spend on each stage or activity in the lesson.g. anything that Anca Cehan 8 . phonological features.SAQ 4 In the list below. T .g. S . e.S. To practise reading for understanding. Board work will include titles. this may be due to several causes: poor understanding of aims confusion over what the main aims and subsidiary aims are unanticipated problems due to insufficient language analysis different learning rates among pupils the pupils‟ unfamiliarity with the concepts used poor language grading insufficient or confusing instructions slow pace of the lesson. To practise gist listening. which can be used or dropped as necessary. etc. but which may deserve closer scrutiny. example sentences. To practise skimming a long written text. Timing The time you give to particular stages or activities is often a reflection of what you perceive to be important in the lesson. A lot will depend on your experience and judgement. Include brief but clear class management instructions. Remember to allow for thinking time and keep in mind that the pupils‟ concentration span on any activity is only about 20 . rules. To practise scanning for specific information Showing the type of interaction for each stage and activity (e.). Aims Your Comments To develop the listening skill To practise the skill of listening for detailed information.

3 A Final Check of the Lesson Plan Having done all the above. here is what it may look like: Aims Time Interaction Patterns Aids Teacher activity Pupil Activity The advantage of the tabular layout is that you have to think about what needs to be written in each of the columns for each stage of the lesson. Board work can also be prepared before the lesson on OHP transparencies. Homework Make sure the homework task you set is meant to consolidate what has been covered in the lesson and to check if learning has taken place. focus. Remember to go round the classroom and check whether the pupils are copying down accurately. Include pre-set questions for reading or listening tasks and their expected answers. 3. Could the pupils be more involved at each stage? What are the pupils‟ asked to contribute at each stage? What are the pupils required to do? What is your role at each stage (corrector. spend some time thinking: Is there sufficient variety? Look at the activities. To sum up the features of good lesson plan. with headings and sub-headings. Anca Cehan 9 . It is also easy to see if the lesson is too teacher-centred. indicate the number of times you intend to play the tape. monitor.g. this should have: clearly specified aims evidence of language analysis logical staging of the lesson clear and easy to read procedure. a grammar reference handout) can be given to save time in the lesson. pace and interaction patterns. a well designed handout (e. Skills work Show how you will prepare and interest the pupils in these activities. some people may find this layout difficult to follow. For instance. resource. participant)? 4 Layout of Lesson Plans Your lesson plan layout can be linear or tabular (arranged in the form of a table). For listening activities. However. Alternatively. If you choose to use a tabular layout. Linear plans are written as any normal text would be.the pupils will write down as a record of the lesson. say what questions you prepared to elicit contributions.

and you will be given credit for doing this. even to the extent of throwing the plan away if appropriate. A carefully thought out plan enables you to think logically through the content of the lesson before the lesson and prepare material and aids. The name of the stage. Both pupils tell each other about the Pair differences and talk about where work they were right or wrong. It is not a good idea to stick to your lesson plan. 1991) This layout has several advantages. or stop the class and repeat your instructions. a teacher who is mainly concerned with following a lesson plan to the letter is unlikely to be responding to what is actually happening in class. if you do not follow your lesson plan. you should feel free to diverge from it when you have to deal with any unanticipated learning difficulties that your class may encounter. observer or inspector. but in class. The two fundamental questions that you need to answer are: What will I teach? What is the syllabus? How will the separate items be sequenced (what is the timetable)? You need to consider a few more questions when you sequence a series of lessons. The execution of a lesson involves a whole series of decisions that you are called to make as the lesson progresses. teach the learners. check concepts again. 5 You and the Lesson Plan After having spent so much time to produce the lesson plan. there is space in the Aim column to indicate the aim of particular stages and activities in the lesson. The lesson plan is also easy to follow for your tutor. To encourage pupils to get to know someone better. 6 Timetabling Timetabling involves planning and sequencing a whole series of lessons. in agreeing and disagreeing. for fear of failing to achieve any of your stated aims. (activity from Klippel F. reader. then they talk about the similarities. and there is plenty of space left for detail in the Procedure column. be prepared to explain afterwards why you decided to diverge from it. CUP. Here are some: Anca Cehan 10 . On the other hand. not the plan. You need to show sensitivity to pupils and their difficulties and an ability to respond appropriately. Keep Talking. S/he does not minutes show the partner what s/he has written. This means that you should be prepared to respond to the learners and adapt what you have planned as you go. Each pupil writes down three ways in which s/he thinks they are different 10 – 20 from their partners. Do not be afraid to go back and clarify. you will feel inclined to follow it closely. However. As a general rule: prepare thoroughly. It then informs your teaching in class – whether you follow it completely or not. the time and type of interaction all fit into the Stage column. confidence and independence. reintroduce. This will show your willingness to respond to the classroom situation as it develops. 2. regardless of what happens in the classroom. Do not be afraid to show flexibility. Also.. 1.A compromise layout can also work quite well: Stage Practice Procedure Aim To give pupils written and spoken practice in expressing their opinions. However.

1 Timetabling in Practice The day-to-day. and it is entirely the teacher‟s responsibility. Here are some practical guidelines for timetabling: 1. week–to week decisions about how to interpret a syllabus into a series of lessons are usually wholly or partly the teacher‟s job. skills and freer practice. 7.). In most schools a head of the department or school principal may provide you with a timetable format. which may be given to you by the school‟s administration. Timetables are usually written out in advance (at the beginning of the school year. but in other parts of the world the syllabus is given by the coursebook or decided by the teacher.g. 4. c) where you need to supplement with other material. skills. The timetable should give others a clear idea of what work was planned for a particular lesson and also show how that fits into the overall shape of the week and the course. It can be a burden too. etc. How far ahead do I plan (in terms of lesson hours)? What do I need to include in your timetable? What factors do I need to consider when timetabling? How do I see the role of the textbook in timetabling? What problems can I anticipate and what solutions? The syllabus provides a longer term overview. Review and note down separately: a) links with previous unit‟s work. In Romania there is a national syllabus for each subject. in this country). The information it provides may be especially important if another teacher shares your class with you or takes over from you. Take a look at the next unit. etc. selecting items from the syllabus and writing them into the appropriate spaces on a plan. paying attention to the balance within and between lessons. Think about when you teach vocabulary and pronunciation. 2. 3. b) your perceptions of the pupils‟ needs (in terms of language needs. Here are some of the principles that a Anca Cehan 11 . Review and make changes as appropriate. warmers and homework.1. if it is unrealistic for your students in terms of what they need or are likely to achieve within a certain time. b) relevant bits of textbook. 5. what and how often you recycle. tests. Allocate: a) input and skills. 3. 5. Fill in the immovable slots. 6. 4. when you introduce new language receptively for later activation. and what to omit. e. It lists the contents of a course and puts the separate items in an order. when you set grammar preparation homework. Summary Planning lessons is an operation that needs to take place before teaching can be effective. A time table enables other teachers to understand what work is being done in your class. Having a syllabus can be of great help as it sets out clearly what you as a teacher are expected to cover with your class. 6. b) which material is useable for what (input and practice. c) homework (including balance and variety). Using the information from 1 and 2 decide: a) what to teach. 2. This process typically involves the teacher looking at the school syllabus or/and coursebook contents page and trying to map out how s/he will cover the content in the time that is available. recycling and remedial work). Analyse the contents of the textbook unit and fill in an analysis sheet.

skills work. J. skills work. Scrivener. Harmer. Heinemann Anca Cehan 12 . presentation. Learning Teaching. consolidation.) Formulate aims clearly. Be realistic: do not attempt to cover more than you can in the time you have. Build in your lesson plan. Key Concepts pre-planning planning timetable fit assumed knowledge anticipated problems aims timing plan layout timetabling Further Reading 1. etc. Provide enough detail to make the lesson reconstructable Include in the lesson ways of checking that your pupils have understood or can produce something of what you have introduced or practised. practice. Provide variety of pace. intensity.teacher should follow: Take your pupils from dependence to independence.. controlled / freer / free practice activities. backward and forward links (revision. 1994. activity. Make the plan layout clear and easily accessible. The Practice of English Language Teaching. interaction patterns. Limit your aims. Ensure logical progression in the staging of activities. J. focus. Provide balance of input. 2001. Longman 2.

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