In any field, planning is the initial step when looking to identify a course of action that can lead to the realization of goals and objectives. For teachers, the development of an effective lesson plan, which is a detailed description of a teacher’s course of instruction for a particular lesson, is critical for the realization of learning objectives. Lesson plans not only communicate what is to be learned, but also outline how assessments will occur, helping the instructor to organize content, time, material, assistance, and instructional strategies for the classroom. This article discusses some important considerations in the creation of an effective lesson plan.
In general, a good lesson plan starts with the determination of the topic, from which the lesson objectives and desired results are derived. The topic must be specific – i.e. it should not just be “mathematics”, but rather a sub-discipline of mathematics like algebra help, arithmetic, and so on. Here, the objectives imply the skills and knowledge that learners are expected to gain from and use upon the conclusion of the lesson. Developing clear objectives is important for effective instruction as they guide the teacher in planning the instructional activities and strategies, including the resources and materials that will support learning. To communicate to learners what is expected of them during the lesson, objectives must be specific, measurable, outcome-based, and must be shared in an accessible manner.
A critical factor in developing an effective lesson plan is the consideration of student needs and interests, especially since research shows that students have varied learning styles. As the teacher plans the lesson, it is important to consider whom the students will respond to instruction and whether the students will engage with the material. As different students learn differently, consider how you can embed technology and learning tools to optimize student learning and helping them with their path to college. Perhaps they are better taught via group activities, instruction videos, or one-on-one tutoring.
Embedding technology is another important element of effective lesson planning. Whether you are teaching students algebra or how to write an essay from scratch. Technology, in one form or another has always been an integral component of the learning and teaching environment. Here technology forms part of the professional toolbox of the teacher, from which the teacher selects the resources to facilitate learning. When choosing the right technological applications, critical considerations include not only the different learning styles of the students but also the available resources and lesson duration. Effective teachers think critically about how much time they have available for introducing new material and technology, and about what resources they can access to help in introducing the material. For certain course material, it may be justified spending significant time up front, while others are better internalized through practice, and may not need prolonged introductions.
The important role played by technology in education affords teachers a chance to create lesson plans with learning experiences in mind. As such, it is important that technology is not just used for technology’s sake, but rather to appropriately embed technology by drawing upon and expertise. Recommendations include excluding information and activities that are not directly connected to schema construction and identifying the complexity of learning materials and experience of the learners. When designing the lesson plan, consider the age of the students, links to the curriculum, the instructional content and whether the technology is engaging and interactive. Weighing these considerations will ensure that the lesson plan meets not only the needs of the instructional material but also those of the students and the teacher.