Guest Post by Karen Pao
“As altruistic teachers, we should take time planning for our classroom.” These were the words of my school principal way back during my very first year as a public secondary school teacher. And even though I was transferred to another station, her words always reverberated in my teaching because I had experienced their efficacy.
Planning for the classroom helps me a lot in giving my students the best teaching experiences they deserve. As I begin each new school year, I always look forward to the greater engagement of learners.
Well, for me this sounds selfless, as teachers should be. If we are truly concerned for the improvement and progress of our learners, we should be willing to go the extra mile for our students not because we are heartily compensated for our work but because we live with our teaching passion.
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Importance of Planning in Teaching
So, why should we take time planning our classroom? How can it benefit our learners?
I am reminded of an expression I have often heard, “A teacher who doesn’t plan, plans for failure.”
Planning is an important facet in the teaching profession. It’s a way of keeping things organized and on track. The more we plan for the classroom, the more our students achieve positive progress and academic success.
I know that teaching involves an intricate pattern. Yes, it gets overwhelming at times. The diverse learning of my group is part of the challenge. But, I carry on with my strong motive of giving them high-quality instruction to keep them engaged and connected by taking the time for classroom planning.
I need direction in making teaching and learning efficient. So, I plan.
It’s important to plan every inch of teaching and learning. Our students should be our main concern. They are the center of the educational process; thus, we must be mindful of our format of plans for the classroom.
Moreover, effective planning is an important part of the teaching-learning process. Equally important, we must consider its impact on the education of the child.
5 Effective Ways of Planning for the Classroom
1. Plan the classroom layout
Another decision that we should make is how to make the classroom a pleasant and attractive learning environment. If you consider the physical attributes of your classroom, what good can it bring to your students?
Obviously, no one likes to be in a messy classroom. When chairs are not arranged accordingly and display walls are not updated, our students will get gloomy each day and no one wants that to happen.
The seating arrangement is included in the overall classroom layout because it’s the scene that best captures the attention of whoever enters your room. The manner in which our students are seated and arranged in the classroom will either improve or harm learning.
For me, I don’t have a ‘constant’ seating arrangement for my students.
I arrange the chairs according to the needs of my students depending on the classroom activity, instructional plan, and materials.
Moreover, my main concern of having the right seating arrangement every time is the engagement of my students. When I need to rearrange the seats, I do it to encourage interactive and fun learning.
Room Structuring/ Bulletin Boards
Have you considered updating your bulletin boards from time to time? Well, you should. As we aim to create a friendly and attractive learning environment, we should have the eagerness to make attractive displays on the walls.
Bulletin boards are meant to make learning more visible to the learners. The illustrations and content are to supplement and complement our teaching objectives so students will appreciate the learning materials more and more.
2. Always PLAN for Lesson Planning
Our lesson plan is our Bible in teaching and it’s a mortal sin to not create one when delivering instruction. We should have a sound lesson plan first and foremost.
Carefully crafted lesson plans ensure the smooth flow of our lessons. Hence, we should acknowledge the importance of lesson planning in teaching and learning. We might say that “I can deliver my lessons without my plan”. Well, whether true or not, we have to prepare our lesson plans.
Through our lesson plans, we are given an advanced scenario of what is to transpire in a certain teaching period. Therefore, we should not underestimate its role in teaching. It’s our most constructive way of making our students achieve the learning objectives.
Furthermore, with our lesson plans, we are more confident in our instructional delivery, and we are certain with the teaching strategies to use.
A thorough lesson plan is the backbone of well-prepared lessons. The congruence of our evaluation or assessment and our learning objectives are well taken care of because we plan ahead. So, kudos to us!
3. Get Updated with Behavior Management Strategies
As we strive to promote productive learning among students, we have to pay heed to our classroom management styles. One of the most important areas we need to consider is behavior management.
It’s the most important path leading to the academic success of learners. The behavior of our learners matters a lot. In fact, behavior issues can be among the challenges most teachers face. But they should not be a reason for us to give up!
Aside from setting expectations and written classroom rules, I model ideal behavior to my students for greater impact. Based on research, effective teachers model certain behaviors they want their students to emulate because self-modeling is a way of increasing task-behavior among students.
Showing our students how they should behave in class is for me a very effective strategy. It’s direct. It’s more like teaching by example and our students love examples and instances.
So, exemplify, exemplify!
4. Establish Classroom Routines
Your classroom routines set the tone of the learning environment you have created for your students.
Do your students know what they should do in the classroom? Do they know what is expected of them?
Well, I begin by saying that my students are aware of what time they should come every day. That’s an exact routine and it instills discipline. It’s right to teach them about the value of time.
By establishing clear classroom routines, you can facilitate teaching and learning efficiently. When your students know exactly what to do and how they should do it, it will be easy for you to manage learning activities and procedures with maximum student participation.
As a new school year is approaching, I have to get ready with my plan for classroom routines, starting from very simple things like what should my students do immediately upon arriving in the classroom. In other words, I have to make things organized so my students will not lose track and they will know how to be responsible.
For example, the daily routines of keeping the classroom clean should be posted on the display walls. They should know exactly what to do first. Moreover, end-of-the-day routines are part of the whole scenario too, so don’t forget about those!
5. Get Ready with Classroom Technology
The integration of technology into our classroom will facilitate learning and will make students more engaged and connected. Therefore, we need to prepare our computers, laptops, projectors, speakers, and other technological learning tools before we begin the lesson.
If your classroom has not yet had installed an overhead projector and you are to make presentations, you should borrow from your property manager in advance. Knowing the great advantage of educational technology, we should plan our lessons more creatively and update our technical skills as well.
This advancement should not separate us from the realms of teaching but should make us more equipped in preparing and executing fun and interactive activities to enrich our students’ classroom experience.
On the whole…
Better classroom management requires planning. Thus, as teachers, we should make it a necessity if we aim to give our learners the best learning experiences.
When effective planning is made, our students will be benefited the most and it can also make us happy as teachers. I am a happy teacher and I want to inspire. Hence, I tried to collaborate and I hope you are a happy teacher too!
Karen is a public school teacher and a writer of teachersarethebest.com. She is happy writing about her best teaching practices and wishes to collaborate with other educators in the world.