Posted by S.Akilandeswari
Every lesson needs to be planned thoroughly for the objectives to be achieved.
Planning about pre-reading, while-reading and post-reading gives the teacher an agenda to follow. Recycling tried and tested discussions and activities for these can be a cushion for the teacher. A lesson plan needs to be detailed and specific with everything chalked out minutely. Such a lesson plan includes presentations, assignments / worksheets, informal and formal assessments, introducing new grammar concepts, reinforcing old ones and the resources needed. Assignments and assessments are also planned for differentiated learning. These can be planned for all types of learners and encourage them to move forward and take responsibility for their learning. If all these things are ready and handy, all one needs to do is either follow it to the T or make need based changes. With elaborate planning, tweaking will be minor and easy to handle.
A pre-reading activity can guide the students towards the theme of the text. This can be in the form of questionnaire, word puzzle or a robust class discussion. My students in grade 11 have J. B. Priestley’s ‘Mother’s Day’. I begin the play by asking my students “When is mother’s day celebrated?”. This leads to a discussion on the purpose of celebrating Mother’s Day. During this activity I make sure that every student comes up with an answer which may be repeated (sometimes). This is followed by a discussion on ‘who helps the mother more in her household chores – son or daughter?’ These activities / discussions are recycled with minor changes. This gets students to talk about gender discrimination and how / why it should not be encouraged.
This year I included a very informal debate ‘this class believes that boys should learn cooking’. The debate was so much fun that every student had something to agree and disagree. It was so enjoyable and successful that I plan to begin the play with this next year. This is followed by reading out the play by different students taking on different roles. I plan where to pause, where and what the students have to be questioned, where I make them think beyond the text etc. This planning is very useful as I can anticipate students’ reactions to the play and be ready for them.
In the end my students are divided into groups and they frame questions along with answer key from the text. Each group then asks the others the questions and answers are discussed. This is an interesting activity as students try to outsmart each other by trying to frame ‘difficult’ questions. This session also goes into uncharted territory as every year I get a few interesting and new questions apart from the regular ones. I too am armed with a few questions to make the students understand the values and skills discretely taken up in the play. Language teachers are the best ones to introduce students to values, ethics, and life skills. How these will be interwoven in the teaching of the lesson is also thoroughly planned.
Having covered the three language skills namely – listening, speaking and reading – I proceed to the fourth one i.e. writing. Topics for writing can be ‘women empowerment’, ‘why and how gender equality should be addressed’, ‘the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world’ etc. While discussing the last topic I nudge my students towards the thought that the hands that rock the cradle need not be a mother’s, they can be a father’s too. Students can express their thoughts in the form of an essay / an article for a newspaper / a poem / a short story which can be displayed in the display board. This will act as an incentive for them to further explore creative writing. I also make sure that their writings find a place in the school magazine.
But every text, every poem and every class also gives the teacher unplanned opportunities to give the ‘extra’ something which makes the class standout. Elaborate, detailed and specific lesson plans give the teacher the luxury to move away from the plan as it is easy to come back and follow the plan and achieve the objectives.