Preparing for a course takes time, rigor and a full understanding of the academic goals and abilities of its students. The teacher must design his lessons so that the students listen, understand and retain as much information as possible. Here are some ideas to help you prepare for your lessons in a way that will capture your students' attention and make them understand what you need to teach them.
Part 1 of 3: create the basic structure
Step 1. Identify your goals
Write the objectives for each of your courses at the top. These should be very simple. Something like: “Students will be able to identify the different anatomical structures of animals that allow them to eat, breathe, move and develop”. It's just what your students should be able to do after you're done with them! If you want to do a little more, add how they should achieve this goal (through videos, games, lesson cards, etc.).
If you are working with very young individuals, you may need to set more basic goals such as: "Improve reading and writing skills". You can visit this wikiHow article for more information
Step 2. Outline your lesson plan
First define the outline of your course and the main ideas. For example, if your class is about Shakespeare's Hamlet, you will need to put the play in the context of the author's work by explaining its importance. You will have to expose the main themes developed by Shakespeare, such as desire, revenge or subterfuge, paralleling the events of our time to demonstrate that these same themes can still be relevant.
This plan will depend on the length of your course. We'll take a look at half a dozen classic course steps, each of which should be included in your plan. However, you can include more
Step 3. Plan your schedule
If there is a lot to cover in a limited amount of time, divide your course into several separate parts that you can slow down or speed up on depending on the situation. Imagine that you have an hour to do your lesson, this is what it might look like.
- 1 p.m. - 1:10 p.m.: warming up. Allow students to gradually concentrate and review the previous lesson on great tragedies before introducing Hamlet.
- 1:10 p.m. - 1:25 p.m.: give the information. Briefly retrace Shakespeare's biography with emphasis on the years before and after Hamlet's writing.
- 1:25 p.m. - 1:40 p.m.: practical work. Engage in a discussion with your students about the major themes developed in the play.
- 1:40 p.m. - 1:55 p.m.: free expression. Have your students write a short paragraph describing a current event in Shakespearean style. Encourage the brightest students to write two paragraphs, and help the slower students write theirs.
- 1:55 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.: conclusion. Collect the copies, give homework for the next class, then fire your students.
Step 4. Get to know your students
Be clear about who they are in order to determine how you are going to deliver your course. What type of learning is best for them (visual, auditory, tactile, or a combination of all of these)? What do they already know? What are they good at? How do they have gaps? What are their difficulties? Start by preparing a general course suitable for the whole class, then make the necessary modifications, taking into account both struggling, slow or demotivated students as well as the most gifted students.
- There are chances that you are working with both extroverts and introverts. Some students will do better if they work alone, while others will thrive in pair or group work. Know them to adapt the activities according to the preferences of the students in terms of interactions.
- A few of your students will know as much about the subject as you (unfortunately) while others, while intelligent, will look at you as if you are speaking Neptunian to them. If you can identify these students, you will know who to pair and which pairs to separate (to better rule).
- The amount of information you will give during your course and its duration depends mainly on the students. Think about their needs first.
Step 5. Do not limit yourself to a single model of interaction between your students
Some students do very well on their own, others do better in pairs or groups. As long as you let them interact and rely on each other, you are doing your job right. Since all students are different, try to give them a chance to explore different types of interactions. Your students (and the cohesion of your class) will benefit from it!
Really, you can tailor any activity so that students can do it alone, in pairs, or in groups. If you already have an idea in mind, try to rethink it to fit the new context. Often this is limited to finding other pairs of scissors
Step 6. Suggest different learning methods
You will find yourself with students who are unable to sit still in front of a video that lasts 25 minutes, while others will read two pages of a book with gusto. Neither is dumber than the other, so do them a favor and adapt so that you can showcase the abilities of each of your students.
Each student learns differently. Some need to see the information, some need to hear it, and some need to do things themselves. If you've spent a lot of time talking, stop and let them speak. If they had something to read, find an activity in which you will test their knowledge. They will be less bored too
Part 2 of 3: Planning the Course Steps
Step 1. Heat them up
At the start of each class, the students' brains are not yet prepared for what is to come. If someone started explaining open heart surgery, everyone would say "Houlaaaaa, slower… Go back to Take the scalpel". Make it easy for them. This is what the warm-up is for, not only does it allow you to gauge their level of knowledge, but it also helps them pick up the pace.
The warm-up can consist of a simple game involving, for example, the vocabulary of the topic covered to see where they are in terms of knowledge (or if they have learned last week's lesson!), Questions or photos that you would use to start the debate. Whatever you choose, get them to chat. Get them to think about the topic (even if you haven't explicitly mentioned it yet)
Step 2. Give them the information they need
Sounds pretty clear, right? Whatever your course material, you should start by presenting the information to them. It could be a video, song, text, or even a concept. This will form the heart of your entire lesson. Without it, the students will be lost.
- Depending on the level of your students, you may need to get straight to the point. Think about how far you have to go back. The phrase "He hung his coat on the coat rack" makes no sense if you don't know what "coat" and "coat rack" mean. Give them the basic concepts and develop these concepts in the next class (s).
- You may think that it would be more useful to tell the students directly the subject they are going to study. That is, tell them your goal. You couldn't be clearer! This way when they leave the course they will know exactly what they have learned today. No way to be wrong.
Step 3. Do some practical work
Now that the students know what it is, you need to create an activity that allows them to practice it. However, remember that the topic is brand new to them, so start with a relatively simple activity. Consider using worksheets, pair games, or pictures. Before asking them to write an essay on the question, have them fill in the blanks in a text first!
If you have time for two activities, even better. It is a good idea to test their knowledge at two different levels, for example, writing and speaking (two different skills). Try to include different activities depending on the abilities of the students
Step 4. Check their work and assess their progress
After the tutorials, evaluate your students. Do they seem to have understood what you have presented them so far? If so, great! You can move on, maybe add difficulty to the concept, or test them on a little more complex skills. If they don't understand, go back to the information. Try to find a different way of presenting it.
If you've been leading the same group of students for a while, chances are you will know which students will have a hard time understanding the concepts you are presenting. If so, pair them with better-performing students so the class can keep moving forward. Some students should not be left behind and at the same time the class should not stagnate while waiting for the last to catch up
Step 5. Do a free exercise
Now that the students have the basics, let them practice on their own. It doesn't mean you have to leave the room! This means they need to engage in a little more creative exercise that will allow them to effectively record the information you have presented to them. How can you let them develop intellectually?
It depends on the topic covered and the skills you want to highlight. This could be a 20 minute puppet project or a two week debate on Supreme Soul transcendentalism
Step 6. Allow time for questions
If you have plenty of time to cover the topic, allow about ten minutes at the end of the lesson for any questions. You could start with a discussion and turn it into relevant questions at the end. Or, you can use this moment to clarify certain points of the course, in both cases, your students will benefit from it.
If you're having trouble getting your students to participate, direct them to group discussions. Give them one aspect of the topic to discuss in pairs for 5 minutes. Then draw their attention to the whole class and have them discuss as a group. Chances are they will raise some interesting points
Step 7. Conclude the lesson in a concrete way
In a way, a lesson is a lot like a conversation. If you come to a sudden stop, it looks like this one is hanging in the air. It's not inherently bad… it's just a weird, uncomfortable feeling. If time allows, summarize the points you saw today with your students. It is a good idea to show them that they have actually learned something.
Take five minutes to review today's concepts. Ask them questions to see if they understood the concepts presented (don't give them new information) to repeat what you did and learned today. This way, the circle is complete
Part 3 of 3: be prepared
Step 1. If you are nervous, write your course
Beginning teachers will feel better writing their lessons. While this takes a lot longer than it should, if it's helpful to you then do it. Knowing exactly what questions you intend to ask and where you want the conversation to go can calm your nerves.
The more experience you gain, the less you will need to do this. In the end, you will be able to prepare a course without having written anything on paper. You shouldn't spend more time planning and writing a lesson than giving it to your students! Only do this in your early years, as a practice
Step 2. Leave yourself a little leeway
You've predicted your timing down to the minute, right? Fantastic, but this will only serve as a reference. You are not going to exclaim all of a sudden: “Children! It's 1:15 p.m.! STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING. That's not really how things work when you're a teacher. While trying to stick to your schedule as much as possible, consider giving yourself a little leeway.
If your class turns into a race against time, plan what you can and can't eliminate from your class. What points should you cover so that your students know as much as possible? What are the least important points, the ones you added to pass the time? On the other hand, if you have extra time, plan another activity to get out of your hat when needed
Step 3. Plan more than you expect
It's better to know that you have a lot to cover than not to have enough. Even if you have a schedule, still plan activities on the side. If you think an activity will take you 20 minutes, give yourself 15 minutes to do it. You would be amazed at what your students are capable of sometimes.
The easiest way is to find a discussion or invent a quick game to end the lesson. Let your students talk to each other or ask questions
Step 4. Build your course so that a replacement can understand it
In the event that you cannot deliver your course, your plan must be understandable to the substitute's eyes. The good thing is that if you write your course in advance and forget it, it will be easier to remember it if you have written it clearly.
You can easily find templates online or ask other teachers how they organize their plan. If you always use the same outline format, your brain will thank you too. The more consistent you are in your method, the better
Step 5. Have a back-up plan
As you advance in your career, you will find yourself amazed at how quickly your students have integrated your course and practiced your activities. There will also be times when your schedule changes, either because a control has been moved or because the DVD you wanted to watch got stuck in the drive. In anticipation of those fateful times, you must have a back-up plan.
Most experienced teachers have lots of lesson plans on hand, which they can pull out at any time. If you have a particularly successful lesson on the Laws of Mendel, keep it on hand. You can transform it slightly with other students to lead them to discuss evolution, natural selection or genes, depending on their abilities. Or you can have a Beyoncé class handy (relate it to women's rights, the evolution of pop music, or just make it your Friday afternoon music class). As you wish
- When the lesson is over, review your plan and assess how well it went. What would you change next time?
- Remember that your teaching must be in line with the national school curriculum.
- Give your students an overview of the materials you will be using in future lessons as well as the topics that will be covered a week or two in advance.
- Do not hesitate to deviate slightly from the outline of your lesson when it seems necessary to you.This may help you regain your students' attention when it starts to slip away from you.
- Let them know that they will need to be able to answer the questions you ask during the next check-ups. Set class homework dates.
- If planning a class isn't on your mind, consider the Dogma Method. No book in this method, it is the student who takes control of his learning.