Planning is set a goals and chose to achieve them. It allows you to “see” your dreams and motivates you to act. It supports effectiveness and reduces the level of stress related to the performance of tasks. In everyday activities, creating plans increases work efficiency because it saves time that can be devoted to the implementation of tasks, and not considering the next steps or related fears. And at school? the educational process.
It is an important factor increasing the effectiveness of students’ work and influencing their activity. If a student knows only the topic of the lesson, he has no idea what to expect from him, he does not know what this knowledge is for, he does not know what to associate it with or where it is going.
Instead of activated, we have…
- Full of apprehension (What’s going on?)
- Avoiding difficulties (Why should I be so tired?),
- Stressed out (I wonder how can I get a good grade?)
- And as a result of a resentful (again, something up!) young man on the bench.
If the student knows not only the subject, but also the goal and the next steps that must be taken to achieve this goal, we have a chance for effective cooperation in the lesson.
An interesting way of planning together with students in the educational process can be the use of mental maps as a presentation of the goals and topics of the next lessons. During the classes, the students, on their own or with the help of the teacher, complete the map with content, slogans, symbols, associations, and in addition, each of the participants of the classes keeps notes in the form of maps from each lesson (they can complete them at home as part of their homework). To reduce the time needed for such work, you can prepare ready-made diagrams with the main topic and specific ones, and there can be pre-written main goals for all the lessons. At the beginning of the class, students plan specific goals based on the information they already have.
The most important questions teachers should ask themselves before setting lesson goals:
- Why am I teaching this?
- How will my students benefit from having this knowledge and skills?
- What are students expected to know, understand, and apply after this lesson?
Formulating goals in a language that the student understands
Once the teacher has answered the above questions, it is time to think about how to communicate this goal (s) to the students so that everyone understands, knows the benefits of mastering this knowledge and skills, and is not afraid to take action. If you confine yourself to giving the students the purpose of the material distribution or the result plan, it may turn out that only the teacher and possibly Student from the first grade understand it. To make sure that the students really understand the objectives of the lesson, you can ask for comments or for pairs to discuss the details of the plans.
The important thing is to focus on the effects, not the process, in planning. The process itself can go on, even enjoyable, but if I don’t know what effects it should lead to, I can’t say whether the goal has been achieved.
Such terms elude the possibility of measuring, so the question of whether the goal has been achieved and to what extent, usually quite intentional answers are given: I think so … I tried … I worked hard …
The goal should be clearly defined for each student to understand it, measurable, i.e. measurable, ambitious but achievable, and finally set in time.
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For example, an English language lesson, topic: We get to know the words that will describe a person’s appearance. Objective: By the end of the class, students will know and understand 15 terms related to human appearance. Of course, it doesn’t stop there. Now it is necessary to engage in a conversation with students about the benefits of this lesson and also about its relationship to the previous and next. For example, you have already learned the names of things, you can describe a room, a street and a school, but now you have to put people in these places. Today we will learn the terms that will allow us to describe a person, and in the next lessons we will get to know those that will be used to describe behaviors and feelings.
Checking the achievement of goals
If the set goal was measurable, checking the degree of implementation should not be a problem. In the case of the goal of the English language lesson, the verification may be to prepare a description of the human figure in the notebook. If the student correctly describes the drawing, using a minimum of 15 terms, we announce success. If there are fewer expressions, we encourage you to repeat the exercises from the lesson at home and please complete the description. Or maybe posters and work in teams? Maybe a combination with the previous lessons and placing the human figure in the already described spaces of the house, school, and street … There may be many ideas, but it starts with indicating a goal focused on effects. Without this, it will be extremely difficult to measure achievement. If we want to issue a grade that will sum up the student’s work in this lesson, it would be good to also provide indicators when setting goals, what needs to be done to get a specific grade.
Homework has as many supporters (because they help consolidate knowledge and skills, are a way to memorize more effectively, are necessary in the process of implementing the core curriculum, teach regularity, etc.) as opponents (because they take a lot of time, because school should teach, not home , are a waste of time refilling exercises and rewriting textbooks, etc.)
There are many arguments, but one thing remains the same: in order for a child to learn, he must exercise himself. The number of exercises varies from child to child, so it is difficult to arrange lessons in such a way that each one can work independently for as long as it actually needs. So what to do with these tasks?
The key question will be: WHY am I asking SUCH a task? Applying the method of assigning the same task to the whole class brings rather sad results: for some students it is too difficult and they engage the family to help, for others it is too easy and boring, and for everyone it is a message that tasks need to be done, because this is what school is like. The students’ reluctance increases. How to change it? First, answer the question posed above. If the answer is: for students to recall the content discussed in the lesson, there are many more ways to do so than forcing them to solve tasks from a textbook or workbook.
Examples of task forms:
- The students themselves choose the number and type of tasks to be performed.
- The teacher gives suggestions for tasks that require different amounts of time.
- The teacher proposes tasks for students who use different styles (for auditory learners: Listen and write down; for visual learners: Read and make a graphic note: Put together a whole from the given fragments of the text and prepare a short presentation of the content). Or maybe the students will decide for themselves which form they will choose?
- The teacher suggests that the students use a drawing, a collage, newspaper clippings or a humorous definition to present difficult terms from the lesson.
- The teacher encourages you to check the terms in different sources and write down the definitions in different forms (e.g. memory map of definitions from different sources, highlighting differences in sources).
- The students themselves formulate their homework.
- Students ask each other tasks, and in the next lesson they check and provide feedback for colleagues.
- Supplementing the mental map of the department (or topic) that was used to plan and achieve the goals in the lesson.
Planning educational processes and the lessons themselves requires a thorough knowledge of the core curriculum of one’s own subject and related subjects, seeing the content and tasks in a perspective longer than the department (a year, two or the entire educational stage). It also requires constant reflection on the actions taken. Hence, it is so important to evaluate the effectiveness of undertaken activities and to evaluate the lessons (lesson cycle). Constant modification of plans based on conclusions and recommendations from self-evaluation will increase the effectiveness of learning.