by Sophia McMillan
(Shane Training Centre, Tokyo)
∗ What’s a lesson plan?
Your lesson plan should be a framework for your lesson. A successful plan has a strong start and a clear finishing point. The stages in between are to get you from one to the other. A Lesson Plan is simply a step-bystep guide to what a teacher plans to do in the classroom on a given day: the more detailed the better. Ideally, you should be able to produce a plan that could be read by another teacher who would know exactly how to teach your class. A good plan might also include specific gestures and cues used in different parts of the lesson.
∗ How do I plan?
The best plans consider the finishing point or aims first (e.g. Role play “Eating in a restaurant”) and then work backwards to consider all the language and practice needed to be able to do that (e.g. making suggestions; food and drink vocabulary; listening practice; preparation time.)
∗ Why is planning important?
You need to consider your aims carefully. This will enable you to anticipate problems and consider solutions, it will ensure a balance of skills and activities in the lesson and above all it will give you confidence and make your teaching more professional.
∗ Why plan if I have a course book?
Course books often come with very clear teachers’ notes however each class is different and so the needs of each class will be different. This may affect your approach, tasks and activities in the class and problems that may arise in
the lesson. Also planning with the text will allow you to anticipate what supplementary materials you could use.
∗ How flexible should a plan be?
All the best plans need to be flexible. Some things may not go as planned and any number of factors can affect how you have conceived an activity. You must be prepared to change parts or omit activities should the need occur. Planning also helps you develop contingency activities in case something goes wrong or activities finish too soon.
∗ What’s needed in a plan?
You need to consider: • What learners already know • What learners need to know • Which language points or activities may prove difficult or problematic • What activities are more motivating and rewarding for the learners
There is no single format for a lesson plan. Many schools have their own format and requirements. There is some agreement about what should be included:
∗ Warm-up: This can include a review (revision) of the previous lesson; linked to the current lesson.
∗ Presentation (or ESA format): Note the target language to be taught – and how you will teach it. Include how you will generate the learners’ interest in the language and how you might elicit the language you are planning to teach. Include details such as when you might model structures and dialogue – and when you will require a repeated response (choral response). Include a structure chart for the grammar – or the dialogue you intend to teach. To Lesson Planning Part 2To How to teach English in Japan (home)