According to Cicek (2013), a lesson plan is vital tool for a teacher because it acts as a guideline for teaching. It is useful in the management of time and other resources to ensure high learner output. An effective lesson plan gives the instructor the idea of the vital things that he is going to teach in every lesson. The effectiveness of the lesson plan helps the teacher to organize and structure each lesson, and therefore, it streamlines the teaching process. The quality of a plan determines the learning outcome of the students. This is because it determines the quality of a lesson, which consequently affects the learning process of the students. An effective lesson helps the learners to think, and it allows them to interact with the teacher and other students to maximize learning outcome. An effective lesson plan entails taking into consideration the curriculum and the objectives of the lesson. Besides developing an effective lesson plan, the teacher should incorporate effective lesson delivery strategies to maximize what the learners will gain and retain. Effective lesson delivery includes the use of strategies such as interactive learning, the use of discussion, and creating a conducive learning environment. In line with these aspects, this paper is going to discuss the effective planning as well as the delivery of an effective lesson.
How to plan an effective lesson
An effective lesson plan takes into consideration the curriculum requirements of the involved country (Cicek & Tok, 2012). The educational curricula determine who, what, when, how, and why. It is the guiding principle regarding what the learners should learn within a particular period of their learning process. In this regard, when planning a lesson, the teacher or the instructor should take into consideration the requirements of the curriculum in order to include the relevant content that is appropriate for the involved group of learners. An effective lesson plan contains all the learning expectations that outlined in the curriculum. On this basis, an effective lesson plan highlights the duration with which the various requirements will be covered and how they will be covered.
Outline Learning Objectives
An effective lesson plan is one that has highlighted the learning objectives of the involved lesson (Nesari & Heidari, 2014). For an effective lesson plan, there should be clear and concise learning objectives to be achieved by the learners at the end of the class. The instructor must indicate what the students are expected to learn at the end of class. To establish effective objectives of the lesson, the instructor must consider the topic that is under study. After understanding the topic of the lesson, the instructor will identify the important learning points that the students or pupils should learn or do when the lesson comes to an end. After identifying what the students should derive from the class, the instructor should organize the objectives according to their order of importance (Cicek & Tok, 2012). Ranking the objectives in descending order helps the teacher to effectively manage time and to ensure that the most important lessons are learned during the class.
Develop the Introduction
An effective lesson plan has a thorough and a comprehensive introduction to the topic under study, based on the set goals and objectives of the lesson, and with regards to the curriculum requirements (Stella‚ 2012). To achieve this, the instructor should develop an introduction that has specific activities that will be implemented to help the learners gain an understanding and in the application of what will be learned at the end of the lesson. The introduction should be very engaging to help the students to interact with the topic under study in the earliest state possible, to ensure that they understand it. The instructor should develop a creative introduction in order to elicit the interest of the learners by encouraging them to be creative during the lesson. A good introduction of an effective lesson plan should focus on the questions what, how, and why. Therefore, while developing a lesson plan, the instructor should include questions to the learners, for example, the instructor should include questions such as what they know about the topic under study (Naimie‚ et al., 2012). These activities should include questions that establish the knowledge of the learners regarding the topic under study. This will enable the teacher to gather background information and to identify the areas to stress on during the lesson. To facilitate the development an effective introduction, some of the vital questions that the instructor should take into consideration include, what is known about the topic and how will I find out what the learners know about the topic.
Outline of the (Body) Learning Activities
This is regarded as the most critical section of a lesson plan because it contains the content of the lesson to the students. Here, the instructor develops a clear explanation of the material in a manner that will grab the attention of the learners (Gafoor & Umerfarooque, 2010). The body section of an effective lesson plan should highlight various learning styles that are appealing to the learners involved. In this section, the instructor should include in the lesson plan analogies, actual examples, and visuals elements to demonstrate to the students what they are learning (Coppola, Scricca, Conners, 2004). In this section, the lesson plan should outline the specific time that each element of study will take to ensure effective time management. An effective lesson plan allocates time for additional explanation and discussion over the various problems involved in the topic under study. While developing this section, the instructor should include the things that he will do in order to explain the topic under study to the learners. This includes the various strategies that are useful in illustrating the topic to the students in an engaging manner. In addition, the instructor should identify and include the things that the students need to gain a comprehensive understanding of the topic under study.
Formulate Questions to Determine the Learners Understanding
An effective lesson plan has a list of question that highlights some of the questions that will be used to test what the students have learned at the end of the lesson (Ebrahimipour, Vafaee, Amini, Lael-monfared, Sepahi Baghan, 2014). The main goal of a lesson is to enable students to learn vital lessons at the end, therefore, to establish whether the aim of the class was achieved, the instructor should be able to establish whether the learners grasped the important aspects of the topic under study. In this regard, the instructor should formulate some that encourage critical thinking among the learners to establish what they have learned and how much they have learned from the just concluded topic under study (Farrell, 2002). To ensure that this section is effective and that it facilitates the learning process, the instructor should focus on developing questions that are productive to the learners. Before presenting the learners with the questions, the instructor should write down some of the possible answers that are expected from the learners.
Establishment of a Timeline
Educational curriculum should be completed within a specific period of time, and therefore, based on the requirements of the curriculum. Similarly, a lesson should also be completed within a given time, and hence, an effective lesson plan should have a clear timeline to facilitate the completion of a lesson in time (Fattahi et al., 2009). In this regard, when developing a lesson plan, the instructor should narrow down and list three or four concepts that should be covered during every lesson. Every lesson should be allocated specific time within which the lesson should be completed. The allocated time should be enough to cover all the concepts that have been highlighted. The time needed to complete the concepts may vary from one concept to another; however, the instructor should use the time available to complete the entire topic.
How to Deliver and Effective Lesson
A well-designed lesson plan is of less value if the content of the lesson plan cannot be delivered to the learners through effective strategies that maximize the outcome of what they learn (Williams, Childers, & Kemp, 2013). In this regard, the instructor needs to adopt and implement effective teaching strategies to elicit the maximum learning potential of the students. To ensure that the learners get the best out of the lesson plan, the instructor should implement the following lesson delivery strategies.
Establish Clear Goals For Every Lesson
For effective lesson, it is mandatory that the instructor should make clear to the learners, every goal (s) of every lesson (Fattahi et al., 2009). This includes what the instructor want the students to gain at the end of the lesson. According to (Williams, Childers, & Kemp, 2013), clarity with regards to the goals of the lesson is an effective lesson delivery strategy because it enhances the outcome of learners by a greater percentage. The instructor should not just hold a high expectation without making clear what is expected because this will have a confusing effect among learners. Establishing clear goals at the beginning of every lesson enables both the teacher and the learners to concentrate on the vital aspects of the lesson, and this ensures maximum learning outcome.
Use of Illustrations
As already alluded in the section of how to make an effective lesson plan, another effective method of lesson delivery is the use of multimedia illustrations such as videos, graphics, images, and audio. According to Paolini (2015), learners tend to remember more of what they see than what they hear. In this regard, the use of diagrams and videos to demonstrate what the teacher is discussing in class is a vital element of effective lesson delivery because it maximizes learners’ outcome.
Create a Positive Learning Environment
An effective lesson depends on the prevailing learning environment. Therefore, to ensure that the learners get more from the lesson, it is vital that the instructor should first create a conducive environment for learning to enable the learners to feel a sense of belonging (Zaitsev, 2010). The instructor should provide an inclusive environment for learning to ensure the safety and security of all learners. The creation of a positive learning environment helps the learners to respond positively with appropriate behavior towards the teacher (Williams, Childers, & Kemp, 2013). It also encourages active participation in class, and this enhances learning. This is because by responding to the teacher's questions, engaging in student-teacher discussions, and by seeking for clarifications from the teacher during class develops the cognitive abilities of the learners. It also promotes learning by enhancing the memory of the learner.
Implementation of Formative Teaching and Assessment Skills
The summative method of lesson delivery is effective in measuring the learning of students based on the established standards and benchmarks; however, the formative method of teaching entails a method of lesson delivery that creates room for adjustment of learning interventions and instructions to improve the personal outcome of learners. Over the past decades, institutions of higher learning that train teachers and instructors have been focusing on equipping teachers with summative lesson delivery skills (Shagoury & Power, 2012). This has accounted for the widespread use of summative assessment methodologies across the globe, and hence, hindering the personal development of students. In this regard, to ensure personal development and improved educational outcome for every learner, teachers should utilize formative lesson delivery techniques so that they can use this knowledge and skills to create a positive learning environment for students. Training will enhance the instructor’s teaching ability, for example, it will boost the exchange of information between the teacher and the learner in a cyclic manner, and hence, maximized learner outcome.
Ask Questions to Confirm Learners’ Understanding
Recent research studies show that feedback plays a vital role in shaping learners’ outcome (Schinske & Tanner, 2014). In this regard, effective lesson delivery should implement ways of getting feedback from the learners to determine whether they have understood the topic or not. Before the transition to the next topic through strategies such as using answer-boards. Feedback encourages self-development among learners, and therefore, in lesson delivery, teachers should adopt the practice of encouraging feedback from students. To achieve this, there should be a major shift from the current teacher-oriented method of learning to one that is more collaborative between the teacher and the learner.
Facilitate Practice Among Learners
After each and every concept, it is critical that the teacher should allow the learners to have time to practice what they have learned (Smittle, 2003). This is because through practicing, the learners are able to retain a larger percentage of the knowledge and skills from the class. Practice is another useful way of determining the understanding of learners on the just concluded topic. Giving learners time to practice is an effective lesson delivery method because it promotes the meta-cognition development among them. According to Hackathorn et al. (2011), meta-cognition growth refers to the development of an individual’s thinking skills as one engages in critical thinking to solve the problems at hand. This has a positive impact on the learner’s outcome because it enhances in-depth understanding of the concepts learned. Besides, it facilitates the retainment of what is learned. This is the essence of exercises that are found at the end of every topic. After testing the understanding of the learners, it is also important to let the learners know how they have performed in the test.
Collaboration and Peer-to-Peer Feedback
Another effective lesson delivery strategy is the use of collaborative learning methods in class. According to Ertmer and Newby (2013), collaboration among students in the learning process increases the productivity of the learners. This is because while working together, the students engage in the sharing of information with one another regarding what they have learned. Peer teaching is a very effective method of enhancing learners’ outcome because the learners are free with one another, therefore, they can ask questions that they would never ask the teacher. Working in groups also encourages positive descriptive feedback from peers. Descriptive feedback should be prioritized because it gives information regarding how the learner can achieve competence. In a research study that was carried out by Rojstaczer and Healy (2012), it was established that learners who received descriptive feedback performed better in subsequent problem-solving and quantitative tasks as compared to those who received evaluative feedback. This is vital because it helps the students to learn their strength and weaknesses, and hence, identifying the areas to improve.
In summary, a lesson plan is the guideline of the teacher towards the delivery of an effective lesson; however, without effective teaching strategies, a good lesson plan may not be of value. To develop an effective lesson plan, the instructor should meet the requirements of the curriculum in order to establish effective goals and objectives of the lesson. A good lesson plan should also have a captivating introduction with a body that highlights how the various concepts of the topic under study will be covered. A lesson plan should also contain a realistic timeline for completion. Besides this, to ensure an effective lesson, the teacher should adopt effective lesson delivery techniques to maximize learners’ outcome at the end of the lesson. At the beginning of every lesson, the teacher should make clear the goals of the lesson. This should be accompanied by the establishment of a conducive learning environment to facilitate the participation of learners during a lesson. Another effective lesson delivery entails the use of collaborative learning, generation of descriptive feedback and the testing of the understanding of learners. Finally, the use of illustrations will ensure that learner gain and retain more information at the end of the lesson.
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