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.
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 After an online campaign to challenge outdated guidance from OfSTED, I was pleased to report in February that the Department for Education has finally updated their guidance (April 2018).
Despite teaching over 500 lessons per year, outdated dialogue requires teachers to produce written lesson plans (in detail) for observer purposes, 6 times per year when being observed.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.