Lesson planning is at the heart of being an effective teacher. A successful lesson plan includes learning objectives, learning activities, an assessment to check for student understanding and the allocated time for each activity. A lesson plan allows for teachers to be truly pupil focused resulting in optimum learning and understanding. Creating lesson plans days and weeks in advance has a wide range of benefits for teachers and their pupils.
The Benefits of Planning Ahead
Teaching is about helping pupils learn. As class numbers are increasing, the challenges of different learning styles among students has never been more apparent. The planning process allows teachers to fully grasp and understand what they want their students to learn and how they are going to achieve this.
Effective planning allows for more unified lessons. It provides teachers with time to think strategically about their choice of lesson objectives, the type of activities that will meet these objectives, the structure of the day and the grouping of the students for full engagement and harmony in the classroom. This results in the lessons being more meaningful for the students, as time is sparse, it allows maximum content to be delivered in the classroom. Lesson plans allow teachers to evaluate whether the sessions link together, as it provides real resources and activities for testing and evaluating.
As teachers complete their lesson plans with activities and objectives of the session, they are made aware of any gaps in their own knowledge on a certain topic. This gives them enough time to do in-depth research about that topic, so the students get the best possible experience and expertise. This eliminates unpredictability and reduces anxiety for the teacher while making them the best teacher they can be.
Some teachers feel that lesson planning takes up too much time. However, this is only a short term issue. In the long term lesson plans can be used again, in full or in part, in other lessons in the future. This saves time in the future for the teacher and it allows the teacher to evaluate what went wrong and what worked, making future lessons more effective and meaningful.
As the working day is so busy but short for teachers, it essential that they cover all the curriculum in the allotted time. As session plans provide teachers with a certain time frame for each of the activities, they can closely monitor the running of the day. Lesson plans give teachers enough time to reflect on how the session is going.
A lesson plan provides substitute teachers with a sense of relief and direction. As the pre-prepared plan lays out the structure the day by time and activity. It allows for a smooth-running, effective teaching session performed by the substitute teacher. The teacher that is absent can relax knowing that the students will be fully engaged and learning the jam-packed curriculum in their absence.
Research has shown that effective lesson planning improves teachers mental health. It provides newly qualified teachers with confidence that they are fully equipped to deliver an insightful session, with resources and in-depth knowledge about the topics. The teacher’s emotions will resonate with the students. If their teacher is relaxed, they will feel relaxed and engage with the lesson. However, if the teachers seem distracted and apprehensive, this can negatively impact the student’s trust and engagement with the information that is presented. There is less scope for challenges to arise and unpredictability, thus reducing anxiety and stress for teachers. In an epidemic of long term sickness due to mental health, anxiety and stress, effective planning can reduce this from happening.
Completing and delivering effective lesson plans makes the working day go so much faster for the teachers. As the days are structured and tested, the teacher has allocated enough activities for the day. This eliminates the use of “free time” and creates full engagement from the students. This reduces classroom disturbance issues, as students tend to act out when they are bored, which results in a better teaching experience for the students.
Teachers that produce lesson plans are more credible as a competent and passionate teacher. Their lesson plans can be used as evidence to the amount of time they have invested into the classroom, which then produces respect from other teachers when they see all the hard work that has gone into educating all the students. Lesson plans allow time for the teacher to reflect and evaluate the effectiveness of past and present lesson plans, which can be used or eliminated for the future.