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TKT Core Module 2: Lesson planning and use of resources for language teaching
Identifying the different components of a lesson plan

components 

Very few teachers have the time to write full lesson plans for every lesson they teach.  What follows is based on the ideal world.
If you are taking, have taken or will take a practical teacher training course, you will probably have to write full plans.


keys

Key concepts in this guide

By the end of this guide, you should be able to understand and use these key concepts:

  • the nature of plans
  • the components of a plan
  • the learners
  • aims
  • the lesson focus
  • timetable fit
  • assumptions
  • possible problems
  • procedures and timing
  • materials and equipment

Look out for these words like this in the text.
There will be tests at the end of the guide for you to check that you understand the ideas.

In this guide, we will mostly consider planning for a single lesson but all the points apply also to a series of lessons.


parts in a plan

Putting the parts into a plan

Some parts of a lesson plan should always be there.  For all lessons, you need to plan the aims and the procedures.  Other parts of the plan may be needed but in the real world all the parts of the plan will not appear.
To make a good plan, we first have to have an overall picture of what should be in the lesson.  That can look like this:
planning

We covered writing aims in the last guide, now we need to look at the other parts of a good plan.

thinkwrite

Task 1: Think and take a few notes about each of these areas and decide:

  1. Why is it in the plan?
  2. What should we put in this part of the plan?
  3. Should it always be in the plan?

Click on the eye open when you have thought what goes in the right-hand column.

Components ... is in the plan because ... and should contain
the learners
eye open
WHY:
This is the first place to start.  We must have a clear idea of what our learners need, how they like to learn it and how we can involve all of them.
WHAT:
Here we need to make some notes about things like ages, interests, possible reactions to the lesson and so on.  We need to think, too, about the level of the students and their abilities.
If you know your class and the learners well, this is optional in a plan for you.  If the lesson is observed by someone who does not know the class, you must include it.
aims
eye open
WHY:
Obviously, we need to know where we are going and what we think (hope) the learners will be able to do at the end of the lesson that they couldn't do at the beginning.
WHAT:
You will need a main aim and you will probably need a subsidiary aim.  You may have a personal aim and all these should go into the plan.
This is essential for all plans.
the lesson focus
eye open
This is not the same as the aim.
WHY:
We need to be comfortable that we have analysed the language or the skill that forms the main aims of the lesson.  If you don't analyse what you are going to teach, it will be difficult for you to respond to learners and explain things clearly.  You may also tell your learners something wrong!
WHAT:
Make a clear statement of what the learners need to know about the lesson's focus.
Look at the aims and decide what your learners need to know about it.  Select those items and analyse them.  There are lots of language analysis guides on this site to help you.
You should think carefully about this for all lessons.
timetable fit
eye open
WHY:
Learners need a sense of purpose and progression.  Lessons or series of lessons should be connected.
WHAT:
Think about:
a) How this lesson builds on what has come before.
b) How following lessons will build on what this lesson covers.
assumptions
eye open
WHY:
Because thinking about what assumptions you are making will help you to see if you are matching the aims to the learners.
Will they be able to learn this?
Do they need to learn this?
WHAT:
What are you assuming your learners already know?
What are you assuming about their interest in the topic?
What are you assuming about the learners' reactions to the procedures and the materials?
Again, if you know the class really well, this section will be easy.
possible problems
eye open
WHY:
If you have thought about what problems you or the learners can have, you can prepare yourself to solve them.  That way, you don't get surprised in the lesson.
WHAT:
Think about:
What problems could the learners have with the lesson targets?
What problems could they have with the procedures and tasks?
What problems could the learners have with the lesson's topic?
What will you do if some finish earlier than others?
How will you solve the problems if they do happen?
What problems will you encounter?
You should think about this area for every lesson you teach.
procedures and timing
eye open
WHY:
Looking at the procedures and the timings on paper is a good idea because it is easy to see what is in the wrong place and whether you have allowed enough time for each stage of the lesson.
WHAT:
You need a clear running order of activities and procedures.  This should include:
a) what the stage is called (introduction, controlled practice, free practice etc.)
b) what the aim of the stage is (see the last guide to stage aims)
c) what the interactions will be (teacher to students, students to students etc.)
d) how long the stage will take
materials and equipment
eye open
WHY:
Stage aims need to match procedures and materials need to match the aims or the lesson will go off track.
Equipment should help not get in the way.
WHAT:
Look at your materials and check that they are error-free and accurate, then ask:
Does this material contribute to my main or subsidiary aims?
Is it interesting and attractive?
Is it at the right level or too difficult / easy?
What equipment do I need?
What will I do if it doesn't work?
What will the learners take away from the lesson to help them review and revise?
Do I have / need a homework task?


self test

Self-test questions

Before you go on, make sure you can answer these questions.  If you can't, go back to the sections which give you trouble.

  • What is the starting point for all planning?
  • Give a reason for stating aims clearly.
  • Explain the meaning of timetable fit.

If you are happy with your progress, go on.


practice

Tests and practice for TKT

There is only one test for this short guide.

Test 1 A matching task

... return to the Module 2 index: blue arrow
or go on to the next guide which is to planning an individual lesson or sequence of lessons.