Lesson Planning in English

By November, trainees on campus routes should know:

  • How to write objectives focused on learning, using ‘Know’ ‘Understand’ ‘Be able to’ as sentence starters (though they may still need help with this).
  • That planning involves thinking about how to scaffold and sequence learning within a lesson – with some understanding of how to plan with engaging introductory activities, opportunities to elicit and build on prior knowledge, bridge-building, direct instruction, modelling, opportunities to practise, consolidation.
  • Some principles of formative assessment (though this is likely to be relatively underdeveloped at this point).
  • How to plan at Medium Term level by identifying key learning for a unit of work, linking this to the national curriculum and identifying appropriate assessment activities and focuses.
  • How to create an outline sequence of learning across c.12 lessons, working from a medium term plan top sheet.

Their understanding of Medium Term planning has been developed through their first formative assignment, where we ask them to create a plan for a 12 lesson sequence on a KS3 topic of their choice. They won’t all be completely secure in their understanding though! Key issues they can struggle with are:

  • ensuring that objectives clearly identify learning rather than ‘doing’
  • making sure that they are teaching a skill rather than just asking students to ‘do’ it (most commonly a problem with Spoken English (particularly use of Standard English) but also sometimes writing
  • making sure that what they are assessing clearly matches the key learning
  • not getting carried away by ‘good ideas syndrome’.

They will need support with lesson planning when they begin to teach in school, with some team-planning. Ideally, we’d like them to work from provided medium term plans and resources (not necessarily full lesson plans or powerpoint), with room to adapt these. They won’t be able to create lessons from scratch. They will likely particularly struggle with timings, pitch and transitions as they get to know the students and understand what they can expect from them.

We have 3 lesson planning templates. The ‘normal’ lesson plan (which can also be used for episodes) is very basic as we want to avoid overloading plans with unnecessary bureaucratic detail. The ‘scaffolded’ lesson plan has more detail, if you feel the trainee needs to map out some details more precisely. The ‘developing independence phase’ plan is for use in the summer term when trainees need less detailed individual lesson plans- this encourages them to plan across sequences of lessons.

The Medium Term plan template shows the information that we think needs to be in place before trainees can approach planning at lesson level (e.g. main objectives and assessment activities/focuses; national curriculum links; outline sequence).

Planning templates