The purpose of a lesson plan is to have an effective classroom experience. What is an effective classroom?
- Students in the class gained the skills and learning that was planned.
- Students learning happened at various levels - knowing, application, analysis, creation etc..
- Students who were behind the class or ahead - also benefited in their class journey.
To start the lesson plan should have clear learning outcomes. This is like Goal setting. Define - What are the students expected to learn or be able to do at the end of the class. This is very important as this sets the direction for the lesson plan and the class. If you know you have to go East - you will navigate yourself accordingly.
Next the teacher needs to detail - how the learning will be delivered. Telling the student about English language is one thing - but having the student participate in active conversations in the class, or in writing or analyzing - is important - as that will strengthen skills of the student. This is Active learning. This is as important for science - as it is for history and languages and maths. So the teacher needs to prepare activities and discussions - that will enable an active class - where the student can participate and learn.
Also some concepts and activities - are learnt better visually (e.g. the solar system or the eclipse) - while some concepts are better heard (eg a rhyming poem) and some are better to read and understand. So the teacher needs to prepare material which will appeal to the various sensory organs of the students - so that they can scaffold their learning in various ways.
Some students may be behind the class (and some ahead). The teacher must also be prepared with material and exercises of appropriate level for these children.
Opening (or Introduction) is a very important aspect of the lesson plan. How would you introduce the concept to the students ? It is prescribed that - context setting should be done - so that children can be brought from "Known to Unknown". The new skills and learnings being presented in the class are - set in the context of something which the children will already know - so that they can draw linkages and extensions as they learn new skills. The opening has to act like a hook. It has to be so engaging - raise curiosity or interest - that the students get drawn to the rest of the class.
And lastly a lesson plan should have a good assessment to verify that the expected learning outcomes have been achieved. These are simple Check for Understanding - to reinforce the learning - and also for the teacher to know if the goal has been achieved or to what extent.
Teachers go through the chapter and identify the key learning outcomes. For each learning outcome they prepare activities, opening, assessment, videos etc..
This can be quite a task to prepare for each class. There are open source library of lesson plans - tickLinks.com - which teachers can use to create their plans.
It will be good - if the substitute teacher had a lesson plan. Lesson plan details the best ways for students to learn. It will cover things like - Why are you teaching this subject? What is the goal of this period of time? What should the students know at the end of the lesson and HOW will you determine if your goal is met?
It is almost like a journey on which the student and teacher are together - with the teacher leading the student. A lesson plan will help to easily handover the current location, along with the map and tools required to progress the journey. The substitute teacher will of course have their own personality and style - which will make the class interesting.
Unfortunately teachers are burdened with 30-35 periods every week apart from admin tasks. Additionally good lesson planning skills come over years of experience - if practiced regularly. So al-in-all these are almost non-existent.
tickLinks.com is a Wikipedia style tool - which provides lesson plans aligned to the curriculum. Regular use of such resources will develop structure thinking and help teachers to develop creative ideas in their context.
No and Yes.
No. The idea of the lesson plan to create for a group of students with a common subject or topic of learning. Creating a lesson plan for each pupil would mean the time spend on creating a lesson plan is far higher and greater than actually executing. I feel the importance of the lesson plan would lose the essence.
Yes, because every pupil is unique in learning and grasping capabilities. I would actually focus on creating a lesson plan for giving the attention to the student from both ends who are not able to grasp versus the ones that can grasp. if it works in my find I would create an activity between students who would engage with each other and teach the concepts, topic, or subject.
Context matters - If you are a private tutor or homeschooling then definitely, keeping the learning outcome in mind, then there is a no choice here to bring the lesson plans for each pupil, it would be appreciated, add value and the time spent would be productive and constructive.
The idea behind the lesson plan is the learning outcome of the pupil grasps the concept. If it is as a private tutor or a class of 40+ students, measuring the learning outcome is more important.
The document "Learning Outcome at Elementary Stage" can be found at - https://ncert.nic.in/dee/pdf/tilops101.pdf.
For the Indian context - the NCERT has developed draft Learning Outcomes for each class in Languages (Hindi, English and Urdu), Mathematics, Environmental Studies, Science and Social Science up to the Elementary stage. Learning Outcomes indicate the expected levels of learning that children should achieve for that class. These outcomes can be used as check points to assess learning at different points of time.
To help the teachers understand and achieve the learning outcomes as per the curricular expectations, some suggestive pedagogical processes are provided in the columns adjacent to that of learning outcomes - although these do not align one to one. Using contextual resources and appropriate learning processes, the teachers are expected to design and provide a variety of learning situations/opportunities as per the need of different learners in an inclusive classroom.
However, one of the challenges is that these documents do not align to any one book. Each state boards follow their own books and curriculum - that is little different from each other. The guidelines in this document are developed in consultation with the SCERTs.
So the teachers are expected to use their books and refer to this document - and come up with their own Lesson plans for their classes. Unfortunately - most teachers do not take so much effort - also because they are burdened with many other tasks.
tickLinks.com is a Wikipedia like tool for teachers - which provide lesson plans aligned to books and curriculum in India.
Yes. they ought to!
"Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.": Abraham Lincoln
As a teacher, I know the kids' sense, when the teacher is not prepared and they create chaos in the class. It happens to most of us. Spending time on a lesson plan becomes an important part of an inpidual teacher. Lesson plans assists in remembering the continuity of the last chapter and it helps in reporting to the administration. I believe there are a lot of advantages to prepare a lesson plan. The disadvantage being that as a teacher I would feel lost in a class full of students trying to give direction to a concept.
Starting with defining the lesson, training or teaching objective in a lesson plan helps with aligning the subject and curriculum. It provides a structure to the session and helps me as a teacher exuberant confidence in front of the class, unlike the first lecture of Julia Roberts's movie Mona Lisa Smile. Spending time on creating a lesson plan shows the clarity of thought as a teacher, I am better prepared with the questions, clarifications. The structure of the lesson plan includes engagement with students which can de be defined and prepared to give direction to a common ground. This exercise one creates, before actually executing it would be like a simulation before implementation. You can always add a video within a lesson plan which helps in adding an audio-video cue to the excitement of the students, plus it gives a break to the vocal cords. To make the students understand the concept better, I give them exercise in class and further keywords to search on Google which gives them something to think about the concept.
If a teacher is not making a lesson plan, or not revising a lesson plan note that he or she has prepared, I would be surprised.
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