The lesson plan is central to a successful lesson. You know what you have to cover in a lesson, but how will you do so and keep students engaged? Follow these simple steps to preparing a lesson plan, and hopefully you can’t go wrong.

1) Ask yourself what you want your students to learn in each lesson. Then write down what you need students to understand by the end of the lesson. The topic of the lesson will inform your learning objectives. Think about the activities you can use in class to achieve the learning objectives. How will you organise the lesson? Your objectives should match the learning outcomes you want for each class.

2) How will you introduce the topic to the class? You could give a brief outline of what you want to cover in the lesson, or you can ask the students what they know already about the topic.

Always make sure that the students understand the concept that will be taught or discussed in class. Ask questions to find out if they have understood. it is pointless asking “Do you understand” as they will all say “Yes” whether or not they have. Students don’t like losing face, and nor do we.

Ask for explanations and elicit understanding. Give students the opportunity to ask and answer question. These can be addressed to other students as well as to you. Let the students take charge of the lesson if they are able to. You are not the only source of information in the classroom.

3) Timing an introduction and activities is vital to a successful lesson. Work out in advance what the difficulties might be and allow more time for these aspects of the lesson than for other, easier to grasp concepts and idea. Activities don’t have to take the same amount of time. Plan for the quicker students and have a bank of extra material that can be given to these students so that the slower ones can catch up. If you don’t do this, you may well find that the more able students become disruptive.

Be realistic about what students can do in one lesson.

4) Plan how you will check that students have understood the main points covered in the lesson. Of course, integral in lesson planning is having time to answer students’ questions, or allowing another student to answer and explain.

5) Find a way of summarising what has been covered in a lesson. You can either do this yourself, or elicit what they have learned from your students.

6) Leave time at the end of the lesson to recap and to explain what will be covered in the next lesson and how this will build on what students learned in the present one. Also answer any queries that the students still have at the end of the lesson.

After each lesson you should reflect on what happened in the classroom and ask yourself if you could have done something differently to achieve your objectives. If you are to become a better teacher, reflection should be integral to your teaching.

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