Effective Lesson Plan for 21st Century Students

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“You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives".

Preparing a child for the world that doesn’t yet exist is not an easy task for any teacher. Step back and look at that picture from a broad perspective. What are the critical 21st century skills every student needs to survive and succeed in our world? What abilities and traits will serve them in a time that’s changing and developing so rapidly?

Looking to engage students by increasing their focus and creativity? It is strange, but some teachers do not complete detailed lesson plans every day and then wonder why students do not learn. Although years of experience can shore up less-than-complete planning, nothing compares to well-planned lessons. Comprehensive plans increase the likelihood that lessons run smoothly, so that students receive quality instruction.

By planning ahead, you are always set for the day. If you become ill, you do not have to drag your sick body from a cozy, warm bed to write plans and then drive in a semiconscious state to the classroom to organize each aspect of the upcoming day, including additional activities and backup materials for a substitute. How nice to remain inert and under the covers knowing that thorough lesson plans are complete and on the desk, with all supplementary material prepared!

Few factors are as vital to teaching success as having well-designed lessons. Imagine a doctor who does not plan adequately for surgery, a contractor who builds a house as he pounds along using scrap lumber and duct tape wherever he finds them, or a teacher teaching a lesson with no foundation or clear direction. Students attain desired learning outcomes through excellent lessons. Creating the plans should not take longer than presenting the actual lesson—but it may feel that way at first.

EIGHT STEPS FOR PREPARING A LESSON PLAN

After studying, observing, and reflecting upon lessons and lesson plans for many years, I have manipulated and adapted ideas to create a sequential design that reaches each diverse learner. Although on-the-spot modifications are almost always necessary while teaching, I use an eight-step model that engages students by building on their knowledge. The design provides many opportunities for teachers to recognize and correct students’ misconceptions while extending understanding for future lessons.

1. INTRODUCTION- IDENTIFY THE LEARNING OBJECTIVES
Before you plan your lesson, you will first need to identify the learning objectives for the lesson. A learning objective describes what the learner will know or be able to do after the learning experience rather than what the learner will be exposed to during the instruction (i.e. topics). The Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy of Educational Objectives is a useful resource for crafting learning objectives that are demonstrable and measurable.

2. FOUNDATION & DEVELOPMENT – PLAN THE LEARNING ACTIVITIES
When planning learning activities you should consider the types of activities students will need to engage in, in order to develop the skills and knowledge required to demonstrate effective learning in the course. Learning activities should be directly related to the learning objectives of the course, and provide experiences that will enable students to engage in, practice, and gain feedback on specific progress towards those objectives.Some questions to think about as you design the learning activities you will use are:

a. What will I do to explain the topic?
b. What will I do to illustrate the topic in a different way?
c. How can I engage students in the topic?
d. What are some relevant real-life examples, analogies, or situations that can help students understand the topic?
e. What will students need to do to help them understand the topic better?

It is important that each learning activity in the lesson must be (1) aligned to the lesson’s learning objectives, (2) meaningfully engage students in active, constructive, authentic, and collaborative ways, and (3) useful where the student is able to take what they have learnt from engaging with the activity and use it in another context, or for another purpose.

3. PLAN TO SEQUENCE THE LESSON IN AN ENGAGING AND MEANINGFUL MANNER
Robert Gagne proposed a nine-step process called the events of instruction, which is useful for planning the sequence of your lesson. Using Gagne’s 9 events in conjunction with Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (link) aids in designing engaging and meaningful instruction.

4. BRAIN ACTIVATION
a. Ask questions to clarify ideas and to add knowledge. 
b. Brainstorm main ideas with ideas, concepts, possibilities; allow them to expand and clarify their thinking.
c. Clarify and correct misconceptions. 

5. PLAN TO ASSESS STUDENT UNDERSTANDING
Assessments (e.g., tests, papers, problem sets, performances) provide opportunities for students to demonstrate and practice the knowledge and skills articulated in the learning objectives, and for instructors to offer targeted feedback that can guide further learning.

6. EXTENSION AND REMEDIATION
Extension: modifications of students who already know or can do the primary learning objectives eg: activities that apply the concept to new content or extent opportunities for further research and exploration.
Remediation : Explain what ma be done for students who need extra preparation or assistance before, during or after the lesson. 

7. PLAN FOR A LESSON CLOSURE
Lesson closure provides an opportunity to solidify student learning. Lesson closure is useful for both instructors and students.

8. CREATE A REALISTIC TIMELINE
A list of ten learning objectives is not realistic, so narrow down your list to the two or three key concepts, ideas, or skills you want students to learn in the lesson. Your list of prioritized learning objectives will help you make decisions on the spot and adjust your lesson plan as needed. 

DURING THE CLASS: PRESENTING YOUR LESSON PLAN

Letting your students know what they will be learning and doing in class will help keep them more engaged and on track. Providing a meaningful organisation of the class time can help students not only remember better, but also follow your presentation and understand the rationale behind the planned learning activities. You can share your lesson plan by writing a brief agenda on the whiteboard or telling students explicitly what they will be learning and doing in class. 

AFTER THE CLASS: REFLECTING ON YOUR LESSON PLAN

Take a few minutes after each class to reflect on what worked well and why, and what you could have done differently. Identifying successful and less successful organization of class time and activities would make it easier to adjust to the contingencies of the classroom. If needed, revise the lesson plan. 

Written By:- V.Manjula, Founder, Pipaltree Education

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