Sunday, January 20, 2013

Experiment: long and short lesson planning

I have finished my two-part experiment with long and short lesson planning. Successfully!

Part 1 was short planning, done in late November last year. I restricted myself to 20 minutes per student for the whole week's lessons (approximately 14 ). During the week, I asked each student 3 survey questions at the end of each lesson:

  • What was the level of difficulty today? Easy, medium, difficult?
  • Did you feel the teacher was well prepared?
  • How well did the lesson fit your personal needs and goals in learning English?
All students answered very positively to all the questions. 

Part 2 was long planning, done in mid-January this year, 2013. I allowed myself to take all the time I wanted, roam the Internet, delve into my files and library, create new worksheets, etc. during the week, I asked the same survey questions again.

All Students answered positively again!

This experiment showed me several things about my practice:
  • 2-3 hours preparation is enough to satisfy my students
  • Long preparation put me in a "mold" which didn't allow enough student centeredness
  • I should do more experiments like this, because they produce valuable student feedback
My next step is to do 2-3 hours prep on the weekend and use the thus freed up time weekdays to tend my PLN, read professional journals, and experiment/create new materials.

1 comment:

  1. I think it is a great idea to experiment like this and share with other teachers who can certainly learn from your experience. Perhaps your next experiments could using a dogme style with your students, perhaps as review lessons after a block of lessons. This would allow you to ring the changes and put the focus more on the students who will have to provide you with the questions/ problems/ideas that you could work on in a lesson with them dogme style. When you know the students well and have extensive experience then this should not be difficult. You can prepare (in your head) by thinking about what problem areas the students have or what their needs needs are in terms of grammar, skill etc. When you are comfortable with low input preparation then I strongly recommend trying dogme and of course getting student feedback. Good luck.