Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lesson Planning Tip

Each of our students carries an "emotion backpack" on their backs as they enter your lessons. When we have them look forward to our lessons, they will carry that backpack with intrigue, laughs, feeling/recollection of success and achievement having understood a difficult concept for the first time.

Lesson Planning Tip #1: Getting Started
Be honest and take a clear-eyed look. If you take a few minutes and put yourself in the shoes of your students, you'll be pleasantly surprised at what you discover.
And from the point of view of the teacher, professionalism means appealing to a wide range of student learning styles as best we can, not compromising on an opportunity to connect with students on an emotional level.

Lesson Planning Tip #2: Pre-Assessments
Like other students, our most challenging students need opportunities to grow, develop and feel a sense of accomplishment and achievement.

But before teachers can provide these kinds of opportunities, it's crucial to really get down to the "nitty gritty" by understanding their world. What motivates them? What do they talk about? How do they connect with others?

It's also important to gather some basic information about their learning styles, academic preferences, basic reading, writing and learning abilities.

Once you have gathered enough information to create a learning profile, ask yourself how can you connect with them on an emotional level so they will look forward to your lessons
Chances are, these students will probably connect best when you use real-life learning experiences where students immediately see HOW what they are learning applies to their real lives - both inside and OUTSIDE the classroom. You can also stick to basic themes and concepts using learning games that all students can relate to such as "money" and "food." And finally, songs are a great way to introduce a theme, preteach new vocabulary or introduce a problem solving task.

Final Words
It's necessary to find the right recipe for learners who need a challenge, but the effort is well-worth your time and energy. You may not, in the long term, satisfy the need for a learner to learn in a certain way, but you will have motivated your learners and they will look forward to your lessons with intrigue and curiosity. And that's a gift in itself!

Try it!
For more tips about diversity and how you can empower your challenging students from diverse backgrounds and ability levels, register for the mailing list at When you do, you'll get a free weekly newsletter of tips and articles from The Teachers' Diversity Coach, Dorit Sasson, plus a free e-book, Taking Control in the Classroom.