03 Dec 2022
By Mark Richards,
In the world of teaching, the question of how to make lesson planning easier is really the million-dollar question of the profession. Along with the perpetual conundrum of how to make marking simpler and more effective, easier lesson planning really is the Holy Grail of teaching.
Google ‘lesson planning’ and you will be inundated with a plethora of good, bad, and middling ideas and suggestions for how to construct the perfect lesson plan.
There are countless tips, tricks, and templates that you can choose from. The perfect solution for you as an individual teacher could well be out there somewhere. However, sometimes it’s difficult to see the wood from the trees. Cutting through all the fluff, it pays to bear a few guiding principles in mind when considering how to make your lesson planning easier.
Start with the end goal and work backwards
You should start your lesson planning backwards. Think about what the learning objective is and what you want the learning outcome to be. Only when you are clear about the objectives and outcomes can you start thinking about what activities you want the students to do that will help them get there. Starting with the end goal simply makes the actual lesson planning bit much easier and more focused. Never begin planning with the activities. Always start with the objectives and outcomes.
Use ready-to-go templates
Digital technology has made it simple and straightforward to use online templates or print off ready-made lesson plan outlines to use. Many sites offer free templates and even the ones that you have to pay for are worth it. What’s more, many schools have developed their own planning templates. Obviously, teachers have to adhere to whatever their school’s lesson planning policy might be. Within these constraints, you want to ensure that the actual writing down of the plan is quick and easy and not onerous in any way. Although, there is always going to be an element of monitoring and scrutiny attached to lesson planning, ultimately, any lesson plan is not written for Ofsted, SLT, or your head of department – it is for you.
Collaborate with your peers
One of the best ways to make lesson planning easier is to collaborate with your fellow teachers. There are countless ways to do this and the old adage of ‘two heads are better than one’ really does apply to lesson planning. Collaboration on lesson planning really is a win-win situation. It makes things easier - and it is helps to really build a sense of team with your colleagues. Finding time for collaborative planning is always a challenge with the busy timetables that teachers have, but if your department can find the time from somewhere, it really will pay dividends
To be effective, lesson planning should not be exhausting. It is the process that you go through rather than the actual words that are written on the page that really counts. Hours and hours spent writing detailed lesson plans serve no purpose whatsoever.
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