Minimise Planning and Maximise Progress

 | Teaching House Nomads Blog

It might be a bit of an understatement to say that lesson planning isn’t every teacher’s favourite part of the job! What’s more, a teacher who is burned out because they are spending all their free time planning isn’t going to be a very fun teacher in the classroom. In this post, we dive into how you can minimise planning and maximise progress in the classroom so you can enjoy your free time and be a fresh responsive teacher who got a good night’s sleep. In this post, we provide you with some tips on how to save time planning without compromising the quality of the lesson. 

Once upon a time they lived happily ever after

Just like a good book, a good lesson’s most important stages are the beginning and the end. Use the beginning of the lesson to really engage your learners - get them moving around, or playing a game. To wrap up the lesson, include some fun mingling or communication tasks to develop fluency. These can take longer to plan but once the learners are engaged, you can use the core activities straight from the coursebook saving time on planning without your learners noticing because they’re having such a good time!

Embrace the Flow of Inspiration

Another tip is to let your subconscious take the planning over. Picture this: you've reviewed your upcoming lesson and objectives beforehand, letting them simmer in the back of your mind. As you sit down to properly plan, you might notice something incredible happening – your ideas seem to effortlessly flow from your mind onto the paper. This approach often results in innovative ideas, unique approaches, and unexpected connections that can add depth and excitement to your lesson.

Trust Coursebook Writers for Engaging Resources

Alongside your own creative mind, trust the coursebook writers. Coursebook writers are industry professionals who are dedicated to creating engaging and up-to-date educational material. The resources offer engaging content and ready to use activities that can streamline your planning process and boost student engagement. But the benefits don't stop there. Many coursebooks come complete with teachers' notes that provide invaluable guidance on how to effectively navigate each lesson and ready-made communicative activities, which will save you time in the long run as you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. 

Building Personal Bonds

If you’re searching for meaningful activities without much planning at all, encourage students to  learn about their peers as well as yourself. This creates a classroom environment that goes beyond coursework and theory and requires very little planning. Genuine connections are made and empathy is nurtured all while learning. One easy way to achieve this is by incorporating personal stories into your lessons. Sharing snippets of your own experiences – whether related to the subject matter or life in general. These stories can spark curiosity, generate discussions, and inspire students to share their own experiences.

Empower Learning Through Peer Teaching

As we conclude our exploration of effective lesson planning, let's dive into a technique that not only enhances learning but also empowers students to take charge of their educational journey – the art of peer teaching.

Peer teaching encourages students to become teachers themselves. By explaining concepts, leading discussions, and sharing insights with their peers, students gain a deeper understanding of the material and develop invaluable communication and leadership skills, all while saving you time at the planning stage.  You will need to check they’re teaching correctly, especially pronunciation but this can be done while monitoring the prep phase.

Jigsaw Reading Technique

Using authentic materials in class is a great way to keep topics fresh, motivate learners and provide models of real language use. But planning a lesson around an authentic text can take time. Instead of writing your own comprehension questions, try using the Jigsaw Reading Technique. Start by dividing the class into 3/4 groups. Each group reads a portion of the text and prepares a summary - notes rather than a full written summary is sufficient. They then regroup so there’s one student from each group in a new group and they tell the new group their summary of what they’ve read. By the end of the activity everyone has read or listened to the whole text. By using this jigsaw method, you encourage communication and collaboration. Students become learners and teachers, creating a vibrant, respectful classroom.

We hope this blog post has provided some useful tips on how you can create captivating lessons while you cut back on your planning time. Many of the teaching strategies we’ve outlined are centered around student interaction, peer teaching and cultivating an environment that promotes curiosity and lifelong learning. These activities are efficient in saving time on lesson planning while still delivering effective educational experiences, leaving you more time to relax and explore your new city!

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