Monday, February 6, 2012
How big is the goal?
A lot of schools require that teachers have lesson plans before the start of a class. Teachers should be prepared for what they are about to teach, of course. But that goal is too small. In addition to knowing what they will say that day, they should also be preparing for how that class will be better taught next time. What else is required for that? Not much.
- The lesson plan must be recorded in a way that will be readily recalled next year. (I prefer a database but an orderly collection of files would be sufficient.)
- A period of reflection after class along with notes for improvement is just as important as creating the lesson plan in the first place.
- The key criteria for the lesson must be clear: that it follows the curriculum, the learning standards and aligns well with courses that come before and after this one.
- It should facilitate debugging: if students do poorly on assessments for a particular learning objective, is it easy to pull up the specific lesson plans relevant to that objective?
- Finally, once a teacher has gained a new insight from his experience and reflection on a day's lesson plan, how does that insight get shared among the other teachers?
It is essential that educators think beyond the scope of what they will do that day. To be most effective, they must understand how each day's lesson fits into the larger whole. That is the proper size for planning.
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