We’ve already discussed the common pitfalls of planning too much and planning too little for a lesson. A third common mistake is adhering too strictly to your plan. Remember that a lesson plan is really just a guide; it’s not a set of instructions carved in stone. Here are some reasons why you may need or want to modify your original lesson plan:
- Your students raise a question that tells you additional explanation and practice is warranted.
- Your students need more time to complete an activity.
- Your students request a specific modification. To receive more support they might ask to complete an exercise as a whole class rather than independently.
- A natural digression occurs. Your students might raise a question on a related topic and you choose to address it. The brief digression can actually deepen their understanding of the original topic.
- An interesting and relevant discussion emerges. You are able to use this discussion in place of a planned activity.
- You see that your students are capable of handling a new challenge, and so you present more or ask for more than you originally intended. For example, you can add a few bonus questions to a textbook exercise. Or in the midst of a communicative activity, you choose to modify or add on a step: Instead of having students submit short individual compositions on a given topic, you ask them to work in groups. They prepare notes and make group presentations. The individual compositions are assigned as homework.
(To Be Continued)