A Guide to Lesson Planning: The Procedure

In the second post in the series we look at the procedure which describes what you and the students will actually do in the lesson.

procedure
CC 3.0

 

So you know the focus of your lesson and you have written your aims, now it’s time to think about what you and your students will be doing at each stage in the lesson. This is known as the procedure and normally includes the following:

  • Stage names
  • Activities
  • Interaction patterns
  • Timing
  • Anticipated problems that may arise in that stage and solutions to these problems

Let’s look at each of these sections in detail …

Stage names

On your CELTA course it’s highly likely you will be given a list of suitable stage names. To decide which stage names your lesson will have, you need to think about the focus of the lesson. If you have a skills lesson eg reading the stage names are likely to be pre-reading, in-reading and post-reading as well as possibly a warmer and/ or a lead-in. You may well have several pre-, in- or post-reading stages depending on your activities.

If your lesson is a language-focused lesson (grammar, lexis or function), your stages will probably include a presentation stage* and controlled as well as freer practice. Again, you may well have several controlled practice stages as you may want the students to do several different activities to help cement the new language in their minds.

* Presentation does not mean the teacher is giving a presentation as in the normal meaning of “giving a presentation” but rather that the students meet the language. This may be done in a variety of ways eg a dictogloss or through visuals.

Activities

In this part of the lesson plan, you are expected to describe in detail what you and the students will be doing throughout the lesson. To give you an idea of how much detail you should include in this part, you should imagine another teacher will be teaching from your lesson plan. Script your instructions here to ensure they are clear and simple and include any ccqs or icqs (instruction checking questions) you are planning to ask.

Look at the following example taken from a listening skills lesson plan:

Sts listen to the CD (Track 13)  and fill in the gaps in the song text.

Instruction: “Now listen to the song and fill in the missing words.”

ICQ: “Do you need to understand every word in the song?” “No.”

Sts listen to CD once.

“Now check your answers with your partner.”

T monitors to see if sts need to hear the CD again. If most sts have most answers then check in plenary. T writes answers in gapped text projected onto board.

Any teacher would be able to go into the classroom with this procedure and know exactly what to do so it contains enough detail.

Interaction patterns

By putting interaction patterns into the procedure we can ensure students have a variety of interaction patterns in the lesson. We are aiming for a lesson with a mixture of learners working alone, in pairs, in small groups, as a class as well as getting them up and moving around, maybe through a mingling activity. Thinking about interaction patterns also helps us reduce the amount of teacher talk and makes the lesson more student-centred.

Timing

When you first start teaching, it is often tricky to predict how long an activity will take. This will get easier as you get to know your students and with practice. Activities generally tend to take longer than we think but by adding a filler activity we have covered the eventuality of getting through things quicker than planned. Try and break timing down into smaller chunks according to the parts of a stage rather than allocating 20 minutes for the whole stage. This will help you manage time better. So for the example we had above, the timing might look something like this:

Sts listen to CD once. 3 mins

“Now check your answers with your partner.” 3 mins

T monitors to see if sts need to hear the CD again. If most sts have most answers then check in plenary. T writes answers in gapped text projected onto board. 2 mins

Anticipated problems

The Language Analysis section of your lesson plan will include problems that may arise with the language you are introducing but, depending on your CELTA centre, you may have another “Anticipated problems” section in the procedure itself. This refers to problems that may come up regarding classroom management. Whenever you anticipate  a problem, you need to suggest a solution of how you are going to deal with that problem.  For our in-listening stage, we might include the following anticipated problems:

Sts listen to the CD (Track 13)  and fill in the gaps in the song text.

Anticipated problem: CD player doesn’t work.

Solution: Check equipment before the lesson begins.

“Now check your answers with your partner.”

Anticipated problem: Some pairs don’t want to check together.

Solution: Monitor and enourage reticent students by asking if they have the same answers.

… check in plenary. T writes answers in gapped text projected onto board.

Anticipated problem: Confident students call out answers.

Solution: Nominate students to answer by calling on them by name.

Anticipated problem: Projector doesn’t work.

Solution: Check equipment before the lesson begins and write answers by hand on the board.

To sum up, the more work you put in at the planning stage, the easier the lesson itself will be. Do you have any tips to add?

 

 

 

Author: Amanda Momeni

A CELTA tutor, English language tutor and co-author of The Ultimate Guide to CELTA

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