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This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:
Good teachers walk into their classrooms with a plan. A lesson plan is an extremely useful tool that works as a guide, resource, and log document reflecting our goals for our students, textbooks, teaching philosophy. It can be described as road map. A lesson plan is essential for teachers who have little or no experience and convenient for experienced ones. There is no correct format for a lesson plan. The most important thing about it is that it should be useful for the teacher and for anyone who is observing them. We need to know what to teach and in what order. The lesson plan is a checklist which helps us know what we want to do next; a lesson plan is also a record of what we did in class and it helps us to prepare assessments. If we know what we taught previously it is useful when we teach the same course again. It will be a guide to the substitute teacher if any class is missed. Moreover, as we expect our students to be prepared before the class, students have right to expect their teachers to do so. A good lesson plan doesn’t work individually. Teachers should prepare plans for the year and weekly and daily plans follow the general perspective. Therefore, a good lesson plan is not only a sequence of activities. It has links to various lessons over the weeks. However, in order to avoid boredom, lesson plans should not follow the same pattern day after day. There should be variety in topics and skills over the length of the course. Despite the importance of planning, a lesson plan doesn’t mean that it can’t be changed during the class. Good teachers should know when it is time to change an activity, regardless of what the lesson plan says. Sometimes students ask a question which is a perfect opportunity to teach particular grammar or vocabulary; teachers shouldn’t miss the chance in order to follow the lesson plan they prepared. A good lesson plan should be flexible and in fact a teacher should have alternatives in case it is needed. Therefore basic principles of lesson planning are coherence, variety, and flexibility. Teachers must know the objectives and goals before they plan weekly or daily lessons as it give more benefit to both teachers and students. Time management is definitely challenging for inexperienced teachers. However, even experienced teachers find it difficult to predict how long an activity or discussion will take. Nevertheless, lesson plans must have minutes for each phase. Teachers need to anticipate where a lesson might go wrong. If there is a new activity or grammar point, teachers should think what kinds of questions students might ask, which part of the lesson may be difficult for the students or will there be problems during the activate stage. If we can anticipate problems we can solve them beforehand. It is also beneficial to have space in the plan for evaluation by the teacher after the class is over. This will provide a reflection about what really worked and what didn’t. If kept, student reactions to the lesson will be a good resource for the future plans. As teachers gain experience, they find it easy to prepare lesson plans.