As a teacher, there are times when we all struggle to make a lesson plan that is not only a hit with the students but also meets predetermined learning objectives. If you are a Type A personality, then you may be trying to find a solution to make the “perfect lesson plan”. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but perfection doesn’t exist in anything and the same goes for writing a lesson plan. I can’t help you prepare the perfect lesson plan, but I can help you prepare a pretty darn good one!
Here are some easy tips to help you to prepare a lesson plan for your language students:
1. Understand the level & ability of your students. Whenever you are planning a lesson, it is important to realize the language level of your students. You need to keep in mind your students’ ability throughout your prep time. If you are using a language book assigned by your school or institute for the class you are teaching, you may need to modify it according to the level of your students.
2. Use the book as a launch pad, not a crutch. If you spend the entire class period simply following the outline given in the book without adding anything else to the lesson, then your lesson is not going to go very well with your students; most of them could have read the book on their own. Your job as a teacher is to bring something above and beyond the book to the table. The book is just a skeleton for your lesson; you need to fill it in to make it truly meaningful. You can do that by relating the lesson to real life, adding relevant supplementary materials, or creating additional activities for your students.
If you spend the entire class period simply following the outline given in the book without adding anything else to the lesson, then your lesson is not going to go very well with your students
3. Recognize the attention span of your students. If you are teaching kindergarten students, then it is highly unlikely that they will be able to sit still and stay focused on one activity for an hour. Even adults will struggle to do that! Instead, break up the lesson. Allot time in your lesson for activities that require the students to move around, stretch, and talk. A good rule of thumb to follow is for every 50 minutes of class; you should have three different activities. For example, 20 minutes of reading & writing, 15 minutes of classroom discussion/debate, and 15 minutes of activity.
4. Use different teaching tools. If you want your students to really engage in your lesson, then it may be a good idea to bring something besides a book to your classroom. When you add video clips, music, or even simple props to your lesson plan, the students are more likely to pay attention. You can also do activities that require things like paint, colored paper, or building blocks. Coming up with ideas and sourcing materials may take time, but if you want to make a good lesson plan, you have to put forth the effort!
5. Be prepared with a backup plan. You might be asking why you need a backup plan if you create a good lesson plan to begin with. The thing about working with people is that there is always a variable of the “unknown”. You may come up with a really fun and exciting lesson plan that involves a few different activities and requires 15-20 students. Then, when you show up in class, you find out that the flu has been going around and you only have 7 students in class. In this situation, you need to have a backup plan. Preparing a great lesson plan means preparing a plan B.
By following these simple steps you will be that much closer to preparing the perfect lessons plan. Be prepared for the unexpected and don’t be afraid to improvise. Most importantly remember to have fun!
What about you? When you gave your very first class how did it go? Were you completely prepared? Let us know about your experience in the comments section below!