4 Lesson content
To a certain extent, the actual content of your lessons will be dictated by the curriculum requirements. However, it should be possible to put across that content in an interesting, imaginative and creative way. Not only will doing this help to engage your students with their work, it will also mean that you enjoy the lessons as well.
There are various ways in which we can make our lesson content as successful and appealing as possible. The more inventive and skilful we can become as teachers, the better the behaviour from our students will be. Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
Use props: Seeing something in the classroom that is not normally there will capture your students' attention, and get their imaginations working. These props help ‘key’ the students into the work.
Personalise the teaching: Find ways to make the content of the work relevant to your students' lives, for instance basing a topic around a current classroom craze.
Be inventive and imaginative: See the planning process as a chance to experiment. Not every experiment will work, but you will often find that you are far more successful in engaging your students when you do harness your own imaginative powers.
Make the learning active: Find ways of actually ‘doing’ the concept that you are trying to teach. For example, you might get your students to act out different verbs.
Use all the senses: We tend to make most use of sight and hearing in the classroom. Try to get your students using smell, taste and touch as well, for instance by using a blindfold and feeling different objects.
It can be tempting to see planning as a very linear process, in which we work through the lesson content in a chronological way. However, this style of planning – which we were typically taught at university – can tend to stifle the teacher's creative powers.
Look at the, which offers some excellent and unusual ideas for the planning of lessons. Although these ideas are aimed at teachers working with EFL students, there is some really useful advice here that applies equally to teachers in the mainstream classroom who wish to develop their lesson planning skills.
After looking at the site you might like to try using one of the strategies to plan for a forthcoming lesson. Having done this, you could examine how the lesson went to see whether this approach to planning has helped you become more creative and imaginative in your teaching.