(What are the components of best lecture plan? How can we plan the knowledge delivery to achieve best possible learning in students? This was the questions we asked ourselves in ‘Weekly Teachers Meet’ at Disha Edupoint dated 16th May, 2018. This is my attempt to organize and present what we discussed.)
Is teaching an art or is it a science? How can you impress your audience or win the hearts with your charismatic voice and presentation may be an art, teaching is definitely not just an art. It’s a science. I have seen people with very average speaking and presentation skills master the art of effective knowledge delivery and transform students’ life. A well organized, hard working teacher can perform better than one who relies merely on talent. It’s very important to master art of thorough planning and efficient execution. So here are few tips to design an effective lesson/lecture plan.
- Write it down! Many people have confidence that they will remember everything and execute according to plan they have created in their mind. Avoid being the victim of these thoughts which stops you from excelling in your profession. A well written, detailed lesson plan will help you to do your job better. It’s better to also note down the time needed to complete each of the things you are planning to do and optimize.
- Set up the class environment. Greet students properly. Encourage students to participate in discussions and other activities you are planning for better learning outcomes.
- Define goals and objectives. What are the skills/knowledge you wish your students should have acquired at the end of lecture? You should be able to state the goal for yourself and it should be clear enough for the students too. After all, students are in-charge of their learning. They should know what is expected of them, so that they can focus their efforts to it.
- Keep your anticipatory sets ready. You should have appropriate strategy to tap into prior knowledge of students, introduce the topic and condition their minds for better grasping of what’s to come next. It can include short questions with one word/yes-no type of answers, discussion on popular application of a concept or even the decorative arrangement which induces the thoughts about topic to be learned in students mind. It needs to be short, crisp and aligned to our goal. It may be helpful to introduce learning goals and objectives at this stage too.
- Introduction and Connection. This is the time to capitalize on the effects of anticipatory sets and introduce the topic to students. It’s helpful to tell students the connection of topic under discussion to what they have learned earlier and even how the current topic is going help them learn the concepts to follow. You can even add how the topic is relevant, for which exams, what is the weightage of marks it will carry etc.
- Expectation and Standards. Teacher should also be clear of what are the standards he/she expects students achieve in that topic. It’s helpful if the standards are aligned to the standards set by board/education department school follows. Teachers should have high expectations and should train students mind to do so. After all, the outstanding performances need the precedence of higher expectations.
- Direct Instruction. This is most significant part of a lesson plan, which mistakenly is supposed to be the only part. This is where we actually teach students. You have a great scope to innovate and make your content engaging yet complete. You have to make sure to complete all the concepts, sub-concepts, applications, relevant examples etc. How to make direct instructions more effective? Is the topic for one more group discussion, but we can put down the essentials in short.
- Use short, simple and clear sentences.
- Use stories or other engaging methods if possible. Include activities.
- Deliver at the right pace, with timely pauses.
- Use the earlier points while going from one topic to other.
- If possible, use role play/activities. (After all doing is better than just listening)
- Guided Instruction/Practice. This is crucial. How to reduce students’ dependency on teacher and build self confidence? The process of handing over the control of students learning curve from teacher to him/herself involves an intermediate step. Here students are given some tasks. Some problems to solve, a write-up or a project to be done in groups/individuals. Teachers are available to help them if required. Teachers won’t do the task for them but help them complete it themselves.
- Unguided practice and Assessment. This includes daily practice problems, homework etc. which students can attempt on their own. This can be graded to assess students understanding to plan for re-teaching or other remedial actions as per requirements. Teacher can even use formal assessment (to be graded) or informal assessments. Subjective, objective type of questions or essay, write-ups or project works to asses students learning.
It’s very essential to gauge what students have learned. Have the lecture plan mate its goals. It will help us analyze the effectiveness of lecture plan, think of modifications to be done if any or use differential instructions if needed. (Every student has different learning abilities, grasping power etc. A teacher should try and accommodate them with different mode of instructions and/or utilize extra time/resources.)
- Exit plan. Closure of the lecture in important. It’s important to end the lecture on high note. A cumulative demonstration of what students learned, the write-up or some innovative way would be helpful. It is important to summaries the days learning and helps continuity with topics to follow. Every lecture should be complete it itself yet be part of continues flow of the learning curve.
- Keep equipment, resources to be used in class handy and ready to use. While you plan your lecture, you may also plan for little demonstration, short quiz or some reading material to be shared with students. Also a chalk, projector, some electronic material might be the part of what you will need in class. Make sure it is in place before you enter the class.
This is how we have been preparing our lecture plans and will try to do it more effectively to ensure better learning outcomes.
(You can mail your views or questions in any at email@example.com)