Have you tried to learn how to speak other languages, swim, cycle, dance or draw? What do you think inspires us as learners? What might motivate us to take up and continue learning?
It seems that answering these questions can help us find the recipe for our lessons as the same things are likely to be important for our potential and current students. So let’s have a look at some important ingredients of a good lesson.
I’m convinced that creating a positive environment is a must, which enables everyone to feel at ease and that their opinion is valued. We have to help our learners become actively involved, make right choices, be able to help peers and evaluate their own skills, set relevant and achievable goals and become better learners in general.
Your personality and qualities that make you interesting and enjoyable to work with are of great importance. Think about your teaching manner and how you respond to the student’s contributions.
- Do you feel enthusiastic about the content of the lesson?
- Do you maintain good eye contact with all your students?
- Do you try to notice and praise all students or work only with stronger ones?
- Do you adjust your techniques to meet your individual students’ needs?
- Do you help the students get warmed up at the beginning of the lesson?
- Do you help them consolidate and revise what they’ve learnt?
- Do you encourage them to continue studying outside the lesson?
- Are you signposting the topic of the upcoming lesson to motivate the students to tun up?
Preparing for a Lesson
It’s easy to tell the difference between a well-planned and a badly-planned lesson. The learners will definitely benefit from knowing what they are going to study, especially if they are motivated and aware of what they want to achieve. They will notice and might be disappointed if there is an awkward pause because you can’t find the right worksheet or it takes time to switch on the overhead projector. They might be puzzled if the flow of the lesson isn’t smooth enough because the activities come from different sources or there are no transitions between the stages.
Have a look at the lesson planning tips:
- Start with an interesting activity that will introduce the topic of the lesson effectively. You can use an image, a short video or a question to set up an engaging lead-in.
- Make sure there is plenty of time for the most important stages. Whatever the aim of the lesson is, give students an opportunity to practise and improve their skills. Consider including time for answering the students’ queries.
- Consider how to prepare students for activities, which strategies they can rely on and think of appropriate transitions between the stages of the lesson.
- Bring variety to the lessons by using different interaction patterns, seating arrangements and making use of the space available.
- Plan what you can write or put onto the whiteboard or cork boards to create useful prompts and reinforce learning.
- Have an optional activity up your sleeve in case something goes wrong and there is time at the end of the lesson.
- Plan how to motivate students to do their homework or practise in between the lessons and beyond.
- Consider a joke or a story to tell at the end of the lesson to finish a lesson in a memorable and fun way.
All in all, a lesson can be seen as just a short period of time but it entails a lot of effort from both a teacher and learners. If it is prepared and well-thought, the learners will be enthusiastic, willing to learn and successful, which is what we are aiming at, as far as I’m concerned.
Good luck with your teaching practice!
- Ur, P. (2016) 100 Teaching Tips. CUP.