Preparing for Lesson X

Sometimes, I am asked to come up with the idea of a lesson plan in a hurry. I am writing this post because I think how you prepare is often relevant to the question “How would you teach lesson X?”

Often the specific grammar topics people are asking about are not ones that I can anticipate.

It is more professional to say that although I may have taught a lesson on the subject before,  I don’t just teach things off the top of my head.  The context of the class is that the teacher prepares.  It isn’t an impromptu thing, so, although it is standard to ask about obscure topics you might teach about in a job interview, it makes sense that the actual answer is different than what I would improvise in that moment.   The activities are researched, sometimes for a short time, and sometimes for a few hours.  While I am sure I will get new favourites, so far my process is usually as follows:

1)The first thing, of course, is referencing the text.  If I have the text book and the teacher’s notes, I go through them.

2)Then, I like to think I go to the reference books, but this is not always the case.  The ones that I have are written by Scrivener and Azar.

Scrivener understands how to organize a good lesson, and he describes it in a very step by step way. Azar while being analytical and old fashioned in terms of the her drill exercises, is technically precise about the grammar points.

3)Often, I might print a Linguahouse lesson on a topic, because this is a professional library, and I have paid for them. I find them more dependable and more organized than going on other sites.

Obviously, there are plenty of web resources. I like adding videos to my lesson, from sites like Film English, and Grammar to Assess movie Goals. I also like adding news stories, and one of my favourites if I don’t have time to edit my own news stories and add original questions is Breaking News English.

4)As I write the lesson plan, it helps to go back to basics. Some of the teaching acronyms are useful such as PPP,( Presentation, Practice and Production).  Another I remember is STAG. (Show Tell Ask Give). The reason this acronym is important, is that many times a teacher will forget one of these steps, especially the comprehension check.  The idea  is that the teacher must show before they explain, and ask comprehension questions before they assign.  These are not only mnemonic, they are actually ways to label the steps that you can write in your margins to organize your lesson plans.

Looking at teachers that I admire, I feel that they execute these steps without thinking.  However, I know that this second nature came both from practice and planning.



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