Lesson planning is a crucial step in the teaching process, but when you’re in the classroom it’s also important to be flexible. Responding quickly to your students’ needs makes for a great learning experience, but sometimes it can be hard to let go of your carefully crafted lesson plan! Author Andrew Walkley has some insights into how to balance preparation and flexibility in the classroom.
The best laid plans – responding to learners’ changing needs with Roadmap
Everyone recognises the importance of having a plan – whether that’s for a lesson, a short course, or school term – but how do you decide what to plan? How detailed should your plan be? And how do you manage conflicting aims within your plan? In my upcoming webinar I will present different approaches to planning based on Roadmap and point to the importance of incorporating flexibility within each approach.
What to expect
There’s nothing better than learning from your own mistakes, and I’ll look at my own experiences of planning and how plans can go wrong, and what I learnt. Some recent business models (such as Lean and Scrum) emphasise minimal planning and flexibility, and may be appropriate for classroom planning.
Using a coursebook has benefits when planning lessons, not least that they give students the ability to look forward and back on what they’re studying easily. They also provide level-appropriate core material that cuts down on teachers’ workloads. From an institutional point of view coursebooks can help standardise the service that different classes receive.
At this point we’ll look at the potential clashes between the priorities of school versus the priorities of the teacher (and perhaps the students). I will then look at some possible situations and bases for planning when using a coursebook:
- A syllabus based on a chronological use of the coursebook (one lesson after the other)
- Syllabus as Global Scale of English (GSE)/CEFR goals rather than specific language points
- Creating plans for short courses and specialist groups
- One-to-one teaching
For each case, I’ll ask you to consider your own situation and the potential problems that could arise. I’ll explain how Roadmap attempts to resolve some of these problems, how we might introduce flexibility and feedback loops, and how we manage conflicting interests.
If you’d like to find out more, be sure to sign up for Andrew’s webinar on the 3rd of October, where he will expand on all these ideas and give you lots of tips for responding to your students’ changing needs.