How Can Teachers Shift From Doing To Learning?

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I Can't Doing To Learning


Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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How can teachers move lesson planning from doing to learning?

For almost a decade, I have advocated that lesson planning is not a form-filling exercise, but a habit of thought. The challenge for schools and school leaders, is to develop the capacity to allow teachers to veer off the lesson plan and work with teachers who require support to plan lessons – and not necessarily on paper.

Teachers are ‘time poor’ and in constant conflict between what they would like to teach, why they have to teach it and how best to evidence their decisions for external partners – often tracking back over the academic year!

Focus on the Learning

So, how can every teacher avoid planning for activities? How can a teacher shift focus away from doing to learning in the classroom? And how do medium-term schemes of work evolve into day-to-day planning?

The simplest way to test yourself is to use the ‘so why?’ question for a one-off lesson plan. What is the lesson objective? And then ask ‘why?’ This reasoning in my opinion is ‘stickability‘ which I have explained in full. With this in mind, here is a short video explaining the 5 Minute Lesson Plan thought process.

Latest Guidance

The headline question in the post is something I pose when discussing planning with teachers in training sessions. After an online campaign to challenge outdated guidance from OfSTED, I was pleased to report in February that the Department for Education has finally updated their guidance (April 2018).

Despite teaching over 500 lessons per year, outdated dialogue requires teachers to produce written lesson plans (in detail) for observer purposes, 6 times per year when being observed. But for whose gain? To learn the ability to plan on the job, or to demonstrate the ability to plan for an observer who ‘pops into a teacher’s lesson’ for 6 hours per year?

There has been very little noise on social media, so I suspect a large number of Initial Teacher Training providers – and trainee teachers – are unaware of this change. Trainee teachers in England NO longer need to provide detailed lesson plans for observers. But, that does not mean that they do not require to learn the art of planning.

If you’d like to learn more about the thought processes behind the 5 Minute Lesson Plan, there is a free 30-minute webinar available with more explanation.

2 thoughts on “How Can Teachers Shift From Doing To Learning?

  1. Thank you for this article. My main cocern is that there is too much teacher talk and input and not enough learning. Sometimes the children can be at their desks or on carpet for 20+ mins. How do uou change teachers mindset. I think the fear is that if teachers do not give a long input, children will not be able to work independently or cooperatively as the teacher has not passed onto them the skills and knowledge yet to complete the task. I would welcome your advice. EYFS have it right!

    1. Difficult to answer as every school and age will need a different approach. Questioning for me – regular checking of learning – and low stakes quizzing is a good way to drive engagement and for the teacher to assess where students are and what to do next.

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