Effective lesson planning
A lesson plan is actually a plan of action. It is a pre-active phase of Teaching. A lesson plan gives a detailed description of the lesson, which a Teacher teaches in a period of fixed duration. Lesson plan can be designed for one class or a period or for a week. Basically a lesson plan provides guidelines for planning the instructional strategies, resources and learning experiences to be provided to the students. According to the International Dictionary of Education ‘Lesson plan is the outline of the important points of a lesson arranged in order in which they are to be presented to students by the teachers’.
Lesson plan has its origin in Gestalt psychology. There is a lot of influence of Gestalt theory of learning on human learning. Students can learn the whole concept, if it is divided in two units. Hence, in schools the whole concept is perceived as a part and the part is divided in two units. Within a unit all the activities are interrelated. These activities provide understanding and meaningful learning experiences.
The need for lesson planning-
1. Presentation of concepts or subject in an orderly manner.
2. To accomplish the instructions or objectives.
3. To cater to the needs and abilities of students.
4. To build effective teaching strategies.
5. To evaluate learning outcomes.
The two common approaches of lesson planning are Herbartian approach and Bloom’s or Evaluation approach.
Herbartian lesson plan is most commonly used in educational institutions which emphasises order and planning, presents the concepts that are related to previous interest of the students. Its main features are to present new topics, compare new topics to prior knowledge, remind students of their previous knowledge, apply the new knowledge to some other situations, generalise a central idea and find the effectiveness of teaching through recapitulation. It gives utmost importance to content, can be applied to any size of the class and helps in achieving cognitive objectives of teaching. But Herbartian lesson plan also shows a few demerits like giving importance to only content and memorisation, does not provide opportunity for creativity and originality of students and is Teacher centred.
Bloom’s evaluation approach to lesson plan enables pupils to learn from basic to complex, promotes critical thinking and constructivist approach to learning, provides a stage for the Teachers to design different classroom experiences for students and gives importance to student centred classroom. It focuses on educational objectives, creating learning experiences and evaluating the change of behaviours. This approach is based on psychological and scientific principles, provides scope for improving the learning experiences, teaching becomes purposeful and objective oriented. Few demerits shown in this approach are – Teaching activity has no specificity, no opportunities for creativity and originality of the Teacher and in behavioural terms, the mental abilities are not taken into consideration.
To design an appropriate lesson, the following main areas are to be observed.
The content is divided in two parts in sequential order and the lesson plan should start with recapitulation or introduction of new topics by testing the previous knowledge. This results in smooth transition from old to new knowledge.
Objectives: The presentation of every concept is objective based. Objectives should be in written form and clear. Objectives constitute three basic taxonomical segments – cognitive, affective and psychomotor. The enunciation of objectives sets the desired educational targets by providing learning experiences to children. The manipulation of teaching-learning situations with a view to realising the desired objectives are in fact the methods of teaching.
‘A vision could yield many goals, a goal to many aims, an aim to many objectives and an objective to many specifications’. Objectives indicate the level of targets which are tangible for being handled in educational processes. They must be achievable, clear, aligned to the subject and level of abilities of the students. The different objectives of lesson can be stated in the following ways – To acquire knowledge, Understand, Define, Differentiate, Solve, Identify, Calculate, State, Draw, Perform, Recognise, Give reason, etc. which focuses on student learning.
Stages of enunciation of Objectives:
Overall objectives of education → Stage wise objectives of education→
Subject wise Instructional objectives →Lesson wise Instructional objectives.
Teachers’ Activity: A Teacher must have good subject knowledge and at the same time differentiated strategies of teaching. Teaching-learning processes should have active involvement of pupil and interactive classrooms. Teacher must plan every class with various procedures like Introduction or Recapitulation, presentation of concepts, Illustrative method, use of appropriate resources or strategies, Time management, etc. giving utmost importance to the learning of the child. Teachers need to assess the learning and understanding of the child and further continue to introduce new lessons.
Student Activity: It is the most vital area of lesson planning, which decides all other areas. The active involvement of students in learning can showcase the planned objectives are achieved. Discussion of topics, clarification of doubts, hands on activities, solutions given to the questions, performance in tests can be a few measures of learning in children.
Teaching Resources: Use of resources or aids like board, reference books and laboratories will undoubtedly give understanding of the concepts. But resources like audio-visual classes, group work, use of simple materials which are easily available to everyone, field trips will interest children more, develop interest in the subject and provide long term memory in children.
Assessment: It is a vital area in any classroom. How can a Teacher assess the learning of children in the classroom? Assessment is not always by conducting tests, it can be done by involving students in discussion, observing the answers given to oral questioning, by reading the faces of the children, their participation in classroom activities, etc. Based on these techniques the Teacher can plan various methods of subject presentation.
Assignment : Home assignment is to be planned for every lesson, which has to be balanced and gives scope for self learning at home. Depending on the lesson discussed, assignment can be designed. This may include collecting relevant data out of textbook, solving the given questions which test knowledge and application, drawing, plot graphs or maps, solve the given worksheets etc. Assignment is a good tool to promote the habit of learning at home, which results in independent and quality learning too.
Advantages of Lesson planning are – It is preset and appropriate, which provides confidence and self-reliance to the Teachers, resulting in effective Teaching-learning processes.
Through proper lesson planning the Teacher can set clear aims and objectives. It makes the classroom teaching interesting, systematic and avoids repetition. It enables the Teacher to understand and plan relevant methods of teaching of the lesson.
Principles of good lesson planning are – to be age appropriate, focus on aptitude and interests of the students. It has to proceed from simple to complex, whole to part and back to the whole.
It should follow the objectives and specifications – To induce reasoning, analysis and critical thinking among the students. Appropriate teaching resources to be used, evaluation procedures must be suitable to the lesson and can provide extra information of the topic. It should indicate definite assignments for the students.
Surekha Nayani, M.Sc (Chemistry),B.Ed has fifteen years of teaching experience in CBSE schools and has been teaching Physics and Chemistry to secondary school students.
Presently, she is working as Head of the Department of Science and also as CBSE Co-ordinator in Delhi Public School, Nacharam, Hyderabad. As HOD she trains teachers in teaching-learning processes like developing and presentation of content, preparation of worksheets and question papers, designing CCE etc. and also conducts workshops on various aspects of teaching science.
She has written articles on teaching science by focusing on creative methodologies which arouse interest in the subject. She strongly believes that every teacher should emphasise proper planning, preparation and effective presentation of subject matter, every day and in every class with commitment which influences and empowers student learning.