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October 22, 2007

Hello again,

A teacher trainee confessed to me recently that despite following the recommended procedures, his lesson plans never translated from paper to the classroom successfully. A number of things could be going wrong...

...but a lesson plan can be immaculate and still not work if it has not been put together with the learners firmly in mind.

Here are a few points to consider:

1. Have you based the lesson on identified learner needs? Remember the teacher who said his students didn’t respond to poetry in the classroom – perhaps this was because they did not feel this was one of their needs. Of course the teacher can sometimes help the learners create a need, but unless they feel the lesson is relevant, it is likely to fall flat.

2. Are the aims of the lesson realistic? The teacher needs to understand the limitations of the learners. Set the aims too high, or too low, and the lesson will not succeed.

3. Is the lesson plan too rigid? Remember to build in flexibility so that you can adapt if some aspect isn’t working as it should.

4. Are the tasks appropriate to the aims? If the tasks seem like an end in themselves, the learners might wonder what the point of doing them is. If necessary hold a debriefing after the tasks to allow students to see how their activities have contributed to the aims.

5. Is the lesson plan dull? Try to ensure that you plan for activities and content that
will stimulate creativity and enthusiasm. To do this you need to really know what your students enjoy and what they are interested in.

6. Do the activities foster group cooperation or are they divisive? Cooperative learning is more effective so plan work that will ensure positive interaction
between learners. Communicative activities are excellent for this.

If you check a lesson plan for these six elements you should have greater success.

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