For years, I’ve been writing lessons for my lessons. Even though I’ve taught the same topics to the same age groups for 10 years in a row, I always write out my lesson plans afresh. It gives me the chance to re-think my teaching and adjust the lesson for my new classes. I also like to think that if I ever call in sick (and you never know!), someone else would be able to step in and teach my lessons, based on my lesson plans.
My ESL colleagues have been doing the same thing. Writing out lesson plans, for the same topics, with pretty much the same objectives, for the same age groups. We’ve been doing this work, individually, with no chance of feedback on our lessons. How to make them more interactive, for instance. How to let go of the book and start doing more interesting, interactive lessons. We’ve each been wasting time inventing our own wheel, all these years.
Today, however, I found out about a way that might help us off of our islands and onto a boat of collaborative learning. I watched the demonstration video, sceptical at first of what was, actually, a very boring video.
As the minutes dragged on, however, I started to see the possibilities behind this – free! – online tool. Of course, I saw shortfalls. But I also saw something bigger, and far more interesting: the opportunity to create lesson plans that others could easily adapt for their own use. These lesson plans could then be saved into a group file – also on the internet – and accessed whenever needed.
Just think of all the time we could save, and the ideas we could gain from one another, given this new manner of working! Personally, I’m excited about the possibilities this site offers and hope to persuade my ESL colleagues of the same.
I gave it a whirl, just to see how it works. This is, obviously, not my very best lesson, but good enough for a tryout: test-LDdesigner-BP3Un1-L1
There are several features I like about this particular site.
1) you can create a lesson template and adapt it again and again. This means that a group of teachers can agree to use a certain setup, so that others can easily understand what the lesson is about and how it is to be run.
2) you can see exactly how minutes of each lesson is spent listening/reading, practicing, producing, and discussing.
3) you can define objectives using Bloom’s taxonomy
And there are also shortfalls:
1) It’s not possible to integrate self-made worksheets into the lesson plans. These have to be kept elsewhere.
2) The layout can be a bit off-putting for those who don’t feel very confident in the world of ict.
I wonder if I can convince my fellow ESL colleagues to join me on this adventure?