A lesson plan is a detailed description developed by the teacher that outlines how a particular subject or lesson will be taught. Lesson plans are subjective to the instructor, but most contain an introduction, teaching period and conclusion. The goal of a successful lesson plan is to help the teacher present the material in a concise and effective manner to students.
Teachers should ask themselves several questions before creating their lesson plan, including "What are the objectives for the lesson?," "What content needs to be covered?," "What do the students already know?" and "What materials might be needed to teach the lesson?" Teachers should also be able to explain why this material is important and how it fits into the overall goals of the class.
At the beginning of a lesson, teachers can state their objectives and introduce the subject to the students by outlining the plan for the day. According to the widely accepted Instructional Theory into Practice (ITIP) method, the anticipatory set is a short activity that helps students focus on the lesson. The instructor can then explain the purpose of the lesson and tell students what they will be able to accomplish with their new knowledge at the end of the lesson.
Development is when the teacher uses her instructional methods to teach the lesson; she may use lecture, labs and discussions or invite collaborative student participation. An effective lesson plan encourages students to use critical thinking and gives them an opportunity to apply the new skills and concepts being introduced. Using "guided practice" can promote question and answer sessions so teachers can confirm their students have a clear understanding of the subject matter.
At the end of the lesson, which could last up to several class periods, the teacher can summarize all of the information that was just covered and restate the objective so students know exactly what they are expected to know and understand. Assigning independent practice (homework) to students is one way for teachers to monitor their progress and also help solidify the students' skills. Teachers should also be responsive to students' questions and comments.
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