A thought on lesson design…

‘Every lesson you create represents an opportunity to design something that has never been designed, to create an interaction unlike any other’

Adapted from Seth Godin’s ‘Linchpin’

How many original lessons of value do we actually design for our students? Or, do we find it easier to repeat mediocre lessons from standardised schemes of work? Indeed, do we have time to design brilliant lessons that have a positive effect on student learning and motivation on a consistent basis?  If not, then maybe we are asking the wrong questions.

Maybe the question should be:

What unneccesary parts of our jobs, as educators, need to to be thrown out and stopped immediately so that we have the time to design the best learning experiences possible for our students?

Any answers on  a postcard please!

@BebbPEteach

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7 Responses to A thought on lesson design…

  1. David Didau says:

    As Alistair Smith says, the job of scholl leaders should be “to strip out every demand on teachers except that they prepare and deliver outstanding lessons”. To that I’d add marking/feedback but I think he makes the point well.

    • Completely agree David. But where do we start? It’s a complex system that possibly requires a complete rethink rather than just a minor tinkering to give the time required for teachers to ‘prepare and deliver outstanding lessons’ on a consistent basis. I know I feel I can’t deliver outstanding learning oportunities for my students on a lesson by lesson basis due to other school commitments and therefore feel I’m letting students down. I’m sure a lot of teachers would feel like this.

  2. Shanti Lall says:

    But most of what ‘else’ we do is necessary, e.g. seeing/phoning parents, talking with children about their behaviour, collaborating with other teachers, etc. It would be nice to have much more admin support so we didn’t have to spend time tidying, filing and photocopying, filling in records, chasing kids, etc. But ultimately I think we need less contact time. I say this despite the fact that, like most teachers, my favourite part of the job is being in the classroom with the students. If we taught fewer lessons we’d have time to plan those lessons well and to give more consistently high quality feedback.

    • Lisa Ashes says:

      I agree that less contact time and more admin support is what we need. I work until at least 6 every day and two days in the week until 8. I plan in school on Saturdays and still the job list never gets cleared. I love what I do but can I realistically keep it up until I retire at 85? I think everything we do is necissary in some way shape or form but there just isn’t time at the moment in the working day to perfect it all.

  3. Shanti and Lisa, thanks for your insights. I agree, less contact time and more admin support would enable the quality and quantity of brilliant lessons to skyrocket. It is such a simple solution, however, the difficult part is putting it into practice with the funding public education currently receives.

    Lisa, I, along with others in the department I work in, are in a similar situation to you. We take huge pride in the national success of our sporting extra curricular programme that it does have an inevitable effect on our day to day teaching. It is just a question of time, or lack of it, for lesson design. We run an extensive programme in a wide range of sports every night of the school week (3.15 – 4.30/5.00pm) and also run fixtures on every Saturday morning during term time (anywhere between 7.30am – 3pm depending on where the fixture is). We absolutely LOVE doing this and we our really proud of all the students taking advantage of the sporting opportunities we provide at the our school. We also take work home most nights just like a high percentage of teachers do nationwide on a daily basis.

    The question our PE team are trying to answer now is how do we provide outstanding extra-curricular opportunities WITH consistently outstanding lesson experiences on a daily basis in core and examination PE? I don’t think there is an easy, simple answer but we are willing to try and find out which is a great starting point.

  4. Allen Boyd says:

    Someone once made the point that it was impossible to teach outstanding lessons all of the time and somewhere everyone needs a doorknob lesson….one you plan as you turn the doorknob!
    Valid ponts in my view

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