Creating Lesson Plans: Common Mistakes

The ability to plan effective lessons essential for quality teaching. This article discusses some of the most common mistakes educators make when developing lesson plans, and how to avoid them.

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Great teaching requires knowledge, dedication, and a lot of planning. Even the most talented teachers can fall short when their lesson plans are ineffective. According to Dr. Bob Kizlik,, planning lessons is 'a fundamental skill all teachers must develop and hone'.

Here are some of the most common mistakes teachers make when planning their curriculum:

Students are Unprepared

Be certain that all course prerequisites have been met before creating a new lesson plan. A student who is missing a valuable concept can find even the simplest lessons difficult to complete. Do your part by doing your research on your students as well as the class topics.

Unclear Objective

An objective, or the description of what is expected of the student, is the foundation of a quality lesson plan. Be sure your expectations are clear and concise, so that there will be no confusion.

Missing Materials

If students don't have graphing calculators, for instance, then perhaps advanced graphing equations are unreasonable. Do your best to collect and provide whatever tools you as an instructor need to be effective.

Set a Firm Grading Scale

You need to determine how you will know when the lesson's objective has been met, and relaying that information to your students will help them better define how to go about accomplishing success.

Too Boring!

A student who is uninterested in a lesson will probably not even listen to it, let alone retain it. Make sure you do your best to make lesson plans interesting or unique, mixing up your teaching style or introducing new media whenever possible.

Teach to All Learning Styles

Every student has his or her own unique learning style. While some learn by hearing or seeing, others only truly learn by doing. Be sure you are stimulating as many of the senses as possible. For instance, don't simply talk before the class. Write down notes and key thoughts, encouraging your students to do the same. Establish hands-on or group projects when possible and appropriate.

Unrealistic Goals

A student cannot be expected to master a complicated concept in just one session--you must be willing to review the lesson or break up complicated ideas into parts, introducing each in its own time. A student who is overwhelmed is less likely to respond to you, no matter how well you relay the information.

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