2 Lesson format
For some of our students, school can feel like a confusing and even frightening place. Those students who come from backgrounds where there is little structure need to be given a feeling of security if they are to work to the best of their ability. Finding ways to give a clear format to our lessons will give the students a ‘hook’ to hang on to when the demands of the academic environment are putting them under pressure.
There are various ways in which we can format our lessons to encourage good behaviour. The pressures of the job mean that these approaches to teaching are sometimes forgotten or overlooked. Consider how you might use the following ideas to help you format your lessons better.
The lesson journey: View your lessons as a journey in which the destination is a place where new knowledge or understanding has been gained.
Map the lesson: Start your lesson with a statement of aims, telling the students ‘This is what we are going to achieve today’. Map out the direction of the lesson, giving your students an overview of all the places (activities) they will visit.
Use short tasks: With short activities, there is less opportunity for the students to get bored, and they are more likely to stay on task. Using short tasks allows you to: set a clear time limit to focus the class; give a target to aim for; and offer a reward for achieving that target.
Use a variety of tasks: By using a range of tasks you will allow students with different learning styles to succeed. This range might include: writing; speaking; listening; drawing; hands-on, practical work; and active, ‘get-up-and-do’ work.
You be teacher: Think about ways in which you can hand over the learning to the students whenever possible. This helps give them a sense of ‘ownership’ of the learning, and will also give you a rest from teacher-led work.
There has been much discussion and study in recent years about different ‘learning styles’. It will not always be possible for us to differentiate the work that we set to suit each individual's preferred learning style. However, what we can do is ensure that we incorporate a range of tasks that will work best for different learning styles within the majority of our lessons.
The resources referred to in Activity 1 give information that will help you to adapt and develop your teaching to suit learners with different styles or ‘intelligences’.
Look now at Activity 1.
Click on the linkfor a description of the ‘Three main learning styles’ – visual, auditory and kinaesthetic – and some ideas about teaching approaches to use.
If you click here, you will also find a detailed outline of Howard Gardner's theory of ‘Multiple intelligences’.
You might like to talk through some of your recent lessons with a colleague, examining the learning styles for which each activity caters, and how you could adapt these lessons to suit a wider range of learning styles.