Time -- we only have so much of it. The effective teacher cannot create a single extra second of the day -- any more than anyone can. But the effective teacher certainly controls the way time is used. Effective teachers systematically and carefully plan for productive use of instructional time.
One of the primary roles that you will perform as a teacher is that of designer and implementor of instruction. Teachers at every level prepare plans that aid in the organization and delivery of their daily lessons. These plans vary widely in the style and degree of specificity. Some instructors prefer to construct elaborate detailed and impeccably typed outlines; others rely on the briefest of notes handwritten on scratch pads or on the backs of discarded envelopes. Regardless of the format, all teachers need to make wise decisions about the strategies and methods they will employ to help students move systematically toward learner goals.
Teachers need more than a vague, or even a precise, notion of educational goals and objectives to be able to sequence these objectives or to be proficient in the skills and knowledge of a particular discipline. The effective teacher also needs to develop a plan to provide direction toward the attainment of the selected objectives. The more organized a teacher is, the more effective the teaching, and thus the learning, is. Writing daily lesson plans is a large part of being organized.
Several lesson plan outlines will be presented. You as a teacher will probably begin by choosing a desirable outline and sticking fairly close to it. Planning and classroom delivery innovations usually come once you are in the classroom with your own set of learners, have developed your own instructional resources, and have experimented with various strategies. Although fundamental lesson planning elements tend to remain unchanged, their basic formula is always modified to suit the individual teacher's lesson preparation or style of presentation.
The lesson plan is a dreaded part of instruction that most teachers detest. It nevertheless provides a guide for managing the learning environment and is essential if a substitute teacher is to be effective and efficient. Three stages of lesson planning follow:
Stage 1: Pre-Lesson Preparation
- Student entry level
Stage 2: Lesson Planning and Implementation
- Unit title
- Instructional goals
- Instructional procedures
- Evaluation procedures
Stage 3: Post-Lesson Activities
- Lesson evaluation and revision
Lesson planning involves much more than making arbitrary decisions about "what I'm going to teach today." Many activities precede the process of designing and implementing a lesson plan. Similarly, the job of systematic lesson planning is not complete until after the instructor has assessed both the learner's attainment of the anticipated outcomes and effectiveness of the lesson in leading learners to these outcomes.
One final word. Even teachers who develop highly structured and detailed plans rarely adhere to them in lock-step fashion. Such rigidity would probably hinder, rather than help, the teaching-learning process. The elements of your lesson plan should be thought of as guiding principles to be applied as aids, but not blueprints, to systematic instruction. Precise preparation must allow for flexible delivery. During actual classroom interaction, the instructor needs to make adaptations and to add artistry to each lesson plan and classroom delivery.