Thursday, July 12, 2007

Lesson Plans

In some situations, like mine, you are given free reign over what to teach the students. Some people would love this freedom, but for me it’s more of a burden as now I have to plan a 50 minute learning experience for the students. Actually it freaks me out since usually I have no idea what I should be teaching the students.

To the system, I'm not an English Teacher (the school already has a bunch of those). I'm a Native Speaker and I'm supposed to be part of the culture teaching program (not the language teaching program) so I should be teaching something cultural. Of course all that really means is that the students have somebody else to help them memorized some standard dialogues while I have to engage the students in English conversation activities for 50 minutes per week.

I need those activities documented since I'm under threat of having my lessons reviewed. But since my co-teacher hasn't actually reviewed these lessons yet, I (from what I've heard from other native speakers) expect this review to happen on my last day when I hand in all of my lesson plans along with my classroom key. So most of my lessons plans are in Microsoft Word format, using the following template:

The English level of the intended audience and the time length of the lesson.

A brief description of the lesson.

A brief listing of what the lessons results.

This is the short version of the lesson, organized in time segments.

Material Required
A listing of what materials are required and what website you can download them from.

The three part lesson broken into the introduction, the lesson, and the termination.

Assessment/Observations/Teacher Reflection
Suggestions on how the lesson can be modified based on how the students interaction with the lesson

Board Work
When using one or more boards it’s best to use one as your main board and the other as your scratch board. One contains the information you want to keep up for the students during the class, the other is just for doodling.
Now, my actual process of making a plan is really a thought organizing process that results in a collection of categorized information that, in truth, is rarely looked used during class. That said here are some notes about my lesson making process:
  1. I steal other people’s lessons. Other people more intelligent and resourceful and creative and who enjoy making lessons have already done so. People who are lazy can just steal the lessons from the Internet.
  2. I have no master plan. There’s no core curriculum so I teach whatever I want, so my topic searching is really limited by whatever I've stolen already.
  3. I have one official resource book. Officially it’s the JLP Program Resource Book and it contains many of the activities that I use with the lessons that I steal.
  4. I teach in an English lab. I don’t roam from class to class. Instead I stay firmly planted in my own English lab, complete with my 50-something inch TV, a marker board, and my own video projection system with five speaker surround sound. I’m technically literate enough to know how to use them and I usually do; a TV & PowerPoint combo usually substitutes well for one of my boards.
  5. I’d rather create a PowerPoint file than write something on the board. I’m lazy. That and I know enough PowerPoint to make it an interactive blackboard.
  6. I use the concept of Core and Bonus in my lessons. Sometimes I have smart kids who can shave off 9 minutes from a 10 minute activity. For these kids I usually plan a bonus part of the lesson that can be set on continuous loop until the end of class.

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