The importance of lesson planning: 5 reasons why teachers should religiously stick to their ‘homework’

I truly believe that it is essential, especially for new teachers to devote even a small amount of time each day (as part of their own ‘homework’) and write down the desired lesson process in a clear, concise and organized way. As I have mentioned in a previous blog post, I do believe that keeping things simple and to the point is important. It is just as essential to write down some clear and precise notes on a daily basis on the upcoming lessons, rather than just improvise and stick to the coursebook during the lesson.

So, in a few and simple words: Why is lesson planning essential?

  1. Smooth lesson flow

     I cannot stress enough the importance I believe lesson planning has, not only to a teacher’s professional development, but also to the smooth flow of the lesson with straightforward sections that allow a clear pace in the whole process and foster learning.

2. Dealing with unexpected classroom issues

     Lesson planning will not only help the entire teaching process, but will also help teachers deal more effectively with unexpected issues that might come up during the lesson. For example, when introducing a new grammar point, ss may feel perplexed and may need further practice (rather than just do the speaking exercise that is suggested in the coursebook). Well-organized teachers should always have an ace up their sleeves and give the much needed additional exercises on the specific language point to the class straight away.

3. Sharing successful lessons with colleagues

  Teachers can share their successful lesson plans not only on the web, but also with fellow language teachers that work in the same public/ private school with them. They could even get archived in a lesson plan folder for future teachers to use. This could be extremely beneficial for the teachers as they can adopt new ideas and get inspiration from others.

4. Part of a teacher’s professional development

    Having a lesson plan folder for each language level can be extremely useful for educators as they can reuse these plans in the future. Through the lesson planning process, teachers can also start noticing certain patterns in their teaching that they might want to reflect upon and adapt in the future.

5. Stepping away from the coursebook

    While planning their lesson, teachers get more creative by ‘learning’ to step away from the coursebook. Their own planning becomes their road map. The coursebook is now merely a ‘guide’ and is not being followed blindly and religiously. Teachers improvise, experiment and add variety to the lesson. They are ready to tackle any classroom issues through the use of added materials they have already planned. They also address their learners’ real needs more effectively by adding extra exercises and activities that their ss could use.

Notes to self’: Looking back at the lesson plans

    The process of reflecting on one’s teaching and looking back at the lesson plans is equally important as the planning process itself. Teachers should change and adapt their lesson plans and make some extra ‘notes to self’ for future use.

Do feel free to download and use my simple, to-the-point lesson planning template as well as some self-reflective questions new teachers can ask themselves when looking back at their lessons.

Published by Joanna Nifli

Greek-Canadian ELT teacher and freelance translator with work experience at the United Nations and the European Parliament. Holder of an MA in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (MA TEFL), the Cambridge CELTA and an MA in Applied Translation Studies from the University of Leeds. Interested in innovative pedagogies in language education, TESOL, teacher training, applied linguistics and related topics

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