There is no efficient lesson without planning. Well, let’s face it if you want your learners to reach their learning objectives then you need a clear, sensible and progressive lesson plan that will include teaching objectives, learning objectives, types of resources, types of activities, differentiation, group or pair work etc. There is no ideal lesson plan outline as it will depend on your teaching style, your learners, the requirements set by your school and the textbook you use. A lesson plan has to be handy for you and no one else. Of course you will probably need to present your own school lesson plan when you are observed but by no means does it mean you have to use it for your classes every day. Find your way and create a lesson plan that will be suitable for your teaching needs and your students’ needs.
The first thing that we need to think about even before looking for resources at our disposal is the aim of the lesson. The questions are:
- What are the objectives of the lesson?
- What are my students going to learn today?
- How can I measure if they can use the language accurately?
- What do my students already know that will help them understand this new concept?
- How can I recap their prior knowledge and reinforce it?
- How can I create an authentic presentation to introduce new vocabulary and chunks of grammar?
- What activities will be the most helpful for my students?
- How do I make sure they practice their 4 skills?
- How and when am I going to monitor their work?
These questions should help you to follow a logical process for the creation of your lesson plans.
We usually divide main objectives into 3 smaller more detailed ones:
- We have the communicative objective whose aim is to help students develop their language skills in a certain context.
- We have the language objective that can be defined by the acquisition of the new vocabulary and grammatical structures.
- And finally we have the skills/cultural objective
You will not use the same type of lesson plan depending on your aims but what will dictate your lesson is merely logic and you can usually follow a Presentation Practice Production type of lesson plan. The PPP is a method for teaching structures in a foreign language. It contains three main phases that can be then subdivided into smaller phases and activities. The general idea stands in the fact that the lesson will move progressively from T-led activities to student-centered activities where they can use the language autonomously.
The presentation phase is controlled by the teacher and is preceded by a warm-up also called starter activity. This pre-activity’s aim is to help students recap prior knowledge that they will need for the lesson. The Presentation stage can consist of a video, a text or an audio chosen by the teacher who will extract the language forms to be studied. I cannot insist too much by saying that the presentation phase should contain some authentic material that will trigger communication. The extraction of new language in the presentation phase can be done through varied activities like matching up activities, answering questions related to a text etc.
The presentation phase is controlled by the teacher and is preceded by a warm-up also called starter activity.
The final stage is called the production stage. It is when students use the language they have learnt independently in context. During that phase the teacher will be present to monitor but he/she should give minimal assistance.
A good way to ensure that your lesson plan worked is to finish your lesson with a plenary that will recap the lesson objectives. This short final stage is crucial to measure the acquisition of language by students and it will also help you to prepare your next lesson.