A few weeks ago I participated in a webinar on lesson planning (Perspectives of lesson planning. John Huges. Oxford University Press), introduced through a blog post of the same name (http://oupeltglobalblog.com/tag/webinar/). It spurred me into thinking about how I plan my lessons and what I take into consideration when planning. It’s not really something I’ve thought about for a very long time (i.e. about 15 years!).
My plans are usually pretty short affairs with minimal detail (below is a plan for 3 lessons – 6 hours of teaching).
This is generally because I plan about a week ahead and only sketch out a rough outline of each lesson. Once I’ve started teaching from them, they start to look quite different!
This seems to chime with what the webinar said: that plans are mainly written for the teacher to use and only as a base for the lesson. Most teachers adapt what they are doing as they teach. If this is the case what do teachers (or myself) do in the planning process?
Before I attempt to answer that, I should start with my current planning process:
- Write a rough outline of the content to be covered, including possible extensions, quizzes, games… (this is what gets put into my planning book)
- Create any extra materials that come up from the planning
- Alter plans, re-adjusting and adding more appropriate activities (for the students or current atmosphere) as the week unfolds.
Most of my planning time is spent on parts 2 and 3 (part 1 may only take 15 minutes). I’m not really sure why I plan like this (or if others do the same). It seems to have evolved this way and it works for me.
So why am I looking at it? I felt it would be interesting to find out (or at least try) what my thought processes are (hopefully there are some!) – namely
What do I take into consideration?
Why do I decide on certain activities and others?
Do I use certain activities too frequently?
Why do I change activities?
What happens in the classroom?
Why do I alter items in class?
In other words to look at the ‘unconscious’ part of my planning I guess. This term I intend to keep a diary of my planning and from this I’ll see if there are any aspects from the webinar that I should be taking more into consideration. It’ll be interesting to see what comes from it.