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Difficulty with planning

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by Jenerena, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. I wonder if anyone can help me as after hours of planning for my final placement I think I've identified the problem I've got which has caused other problems such as poor time management.

    I have a problem in my planning in that I get to my learning objectives, I write my objectives and then I'm stuck as to how to meet them. I spend hours and hours and hours searching the internet for activities that I could use to meet an objective. I use other people's ideas, resources, and I rely on other people's plans to guide a scheme of work.

    However, if I have a stimulus, such as another person's idea, I can develop my ideas quite well. I just need a stimulus to begin with. Right now I'm wondering how on earth I'm going to teach an Islamic unit. I've looked at the QCA units, agreed syllabus but it just doesn't provide enough for me to really engage with what I'm teaching and how.

    I want to be able to sit there with my objective and think 'ok, I'll do this activity as that will get them to think this etc'. I just can't do it. That said, the actual delivery of my lessons are good. I differentiate well, I question well. It's just the initial planning that I'm struggling with and even though my planning was graded as outstanding, that's only because of the level of detail and the good activities that I finally managed to find. I'm spending too long though, far too long. I need to be able to have an idea of how I want to teach something, not rely on TES resources to tell me how.

    So really my question is, how do you connect with the learning objectives? What are your thought processes? Do these kind of things come naturally to you? How do I make it easier for myself to plan a good lesson?
  2. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    I think the trouble is that you are setting objectives that are too rigid and struggling to work out how the students are going to learn this. Here's what I do (I teach English):
    1) At the beginning of a unit, I decide how many pieces of evidence I want from the students by the end of the unit and in what form. I try for one reading task, one writing task and one speaking and listening per unit. These are the tasks I will use to judge their progress and evidence their level.
    2) I figure out what skills the students will need to complete these tasks and then work my planning from there. So if I'm doing a unit on poetry and I want students to produce a mini-essay comparing two poems, I break the essay down into a series of skills: formal, passive style (lesson 1), introductions (lesson 2), Ability to locate quotations to support a claim (lesson 3, possibly also 4), ability to explore word choice and sentence structure (lesson 5), join all of this into a paragraph and compare to a 2nd poem (lesson 6), produce the essay (lesson 7).
    3) There's my medium term planning done. Now I just have to figure out what they are going to do to learn each of these things. I try to alternate lessons styles. Sometimes 'chalk and talk' is necessary, other times it can be more active. So, learning how to write introductions probably needs to be chalk and talk, but finding quotations to support points can be active with card sorts and team races. Modelling analysis of word choice and sentence structure is quite dull, but students can work in groups with large paper to produce their first attempts at a paragraph putting it all together. Comparing two poems can be down kinaesthetically or visual with venn diagrams; the essay is written in exam conditions.
    4) Then I write my lesson objectives:
    Lesson 1: To exlore the formal writing style needed for exam essays
    Lesson 2: To improve essay style and structure by writing an effective introduction
    Lesson 3: To practise selecting quotations to support a claim.
    And so on.....

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