In my career as a teacher and teacher
educator, I have read and evaluated thousands of lesson plans written by
education students at all levels. On a consistent basis, I see mistakes that
distort or weaken what the plans are supposed to communicate. If you are
serious about improving your skill in planning lessons, you should begin by
first thinking carefully
about what the lesson is supposed to accomplish. There is no substitute
for this. In teaching students how to develop lesson plans, the
following are mistakes I have observed that students make most often:
1. The objective of
the lesson does not specify what the student will actually do that can be
observed. Remember, an objective is a description of what a student does
that forms the basis for making an inference about learning. Poorly written
objectives lead to faulty inferences.
2. The lesson assessment is
disconnected from the behavior indicated in the objective. An assessment in
a lesson plan is simply a description of how the teacher will determine
whether the objective has been accomplished. It must be based on the same
behavior that is incorporated in the objective. Anything else is flawed.
3. The prerequisites are
not specified or are inconsistent with what is actually required to succeed
with the lesson. Prerequisites mean just that -- a statement of what a
student needs to know or be
able to do to succeed and
accomplish the lesson objective. It is not easy to determine what is
required, but it is necessary. Some research indicates that as much as 70%
of learning is dependent on students having the appropriate prerequisites.
4. The materials specified
in the lesson are extraneous to the actual described learning activities.
This means keep the list of materials in line with what you actually plan to
do. Overkilling with materials is not a virtue!
5. The instruction in
which the teacher will engage is not efficient for the level of intended
student learning. Efficiency is a measure that means getting more done with
the same amount of effort, or the same amount with less effort. With so much
to be learned, it should be obvious that instructional efficiency is
6. The student activities described
in the lesson plan do not contribute in a direct and effective way to the
lesson objective. Don't have your students engaged in activities just to
keep them busy. Whatever you have your students do should contribute in a
direct way to their accomplishing the lesson objective.