During your training you will have been asked to provide lots of detail in your planning. There are various reasons for this. When you first start teaching you are learning and experimenting and it's important for you tutors to see what you are doing and why. Although it might not have felt like it at the time, while you were training you will have had much more time to spend on planning lessons than you do now. Once you’re in a real teaching job, you have almost a full timetable and a large administrative workload. Should you continue to plan in such detail? The short answer to this question is ‘no’.
Find lots of ways to keep time spent on planning to a minimum. Here are some time-saving tips to help you
Use the school format
If your school has a set format for lesson planning or schemes of work, this makes life easier for you. The amount of detail you include can vary according to what suits your neds
Don’t reinvent the wheel
Teachers are notorious for redoing work that has already been done. If there are schemes of work already in existence then use them as they are or with minor adaptations. Ask other teachers in your school or department for advice on lesson s that work well for them in each particular topics are or with specific age groups.
Reuse your material
If you are a secondary school teacher delivering the same material to more than one class, use the same lessons with each one. A quick word of warning – make some minor changes each time so that you don’t become bored and stale in your lesson delivery.
Use a computer
If a basic outline format for planning is available you will save a lot of time by filing this in on a computer. Many of the details will stay the same for a class form lesson to lesson (for instance any SEN information or details of children who need differentiated work).
Use a project
I have had great success using projects with my students. Projects are useful for a variety of reasons:
They take up a number of lessons, which means less planning for you
The activities in a project are typically very engaging for the students
The tasks require independent learning and encourage the children to be self-motivated
Less able students can access the work at an appropriate level
More able or keen children can do extension activities outside lesson times
The plan for project-based lessons can be brief and quick to prepare (for instance a worksheet with a list of numbered tasks)
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