Week Twelve: Lesson Planning 1

What was this week’s module about?

Lesson planning, part 1. There’s a second part coming just at the end of the course, which we’re promised will be full and in-depth preparation for the assessed teaching. This week, on the other hand, was a lovely surprise.

What was surprising?

The reading started with this article from Duncan Foord, director at OxfordTEFL. I can say pretty confidently that when that edition of ETP came out, the article was derided in my staffroom because of the title. Lesson plans from the heart. Why on earth would I read about how to write a lesson plan? It’s a simple thing, we all know how to do it, so just move on.

Except we don’t. There have been a few stages in this course so far when I’ve been reflecting on the idea that sometimes you aren’t ready to learn something. Lots of players of the much-derided Cyberpunk 2077 have complained that the gameplay is limiting. There are too many objects, they argue, that you can’t use until your character has reached a certain level. It’s restricting, they say. Except in terms of professional development, I suspect that’s how we work ourselves. During one of the live lessons, someone asked Ceri if the planning from the heart method could be used with trainee teachers. She said it probably could, but that there were other important aspects of planning you had to get right first. When my director asked me back in 2014 if I planned my lessons from the heart, I said that I didn’t. I didn’t care, I wasn’t ready.

Thank goodness I am now.

You sound rather enamoured. What on earth happened?

It’s important to remember that the course at OxfordTEFL to prepare for the Dip isn’t just about preparing for the assessments. There’s a whole journey along the way, which the shiny promotional video tells you is transformational. This week on the course was certainly when that transformation really started to be noticeable.

What was your main takeaway from this week?

Not wanting to repeat myself, head on over to this blog post to read more about planning from the heart.

Were there any lows?

Sometimes group work sucks. Our live lesson this week was a tough-un. In preparation for the assignment, we had to sketch a plan from the heart in groups in just ten minutes. Our group wasn’t the most productive, and by the time that the breakout closed we had very little. I felt like the kid at the back of the class being picked on when he hadn’t done the work!

What about highlights?

See above. I’m in love with teaching again.

What’s next?

Next week we’re moving on to look at assessment. Let’s see how many Cambridge haters there are…