Lesson Planning for Instruction

Once you have a solid syllabus in place, you can begin planning individual classes. We recommend that you revisit your course learning outcomes and keep those in mind while you shape the plan for each class meeting.

There are six essential elements of lesson design.

  1. Activate prior knowledge
  2. Set the context
  3. Instructional phase
  4. Check for understanding
  5. Practice and application
  6. Closure and extension

Activate Prior knowledge: This phase of the learning captures students’ attention and calls to mind what they already know about a topic before adding new information. Activating prior knowledge is great for students because it shows them what they already know, which contributes to their interest in future learning and clarifies the foundations of their learning.

Set the Context: In this phase the teacher provides the goals and expectations for the lesson by showing students the big picture. This is where you can connect the learning outcomes for this specific lesson with the course outcomes overall.

Instructional Phase: This phase can take several forms, such as lecture, demonstration, role play, or discussion; students may also engage in active learning techniques alone, in pairs, or small groups.

Check for Understanding: After instruction, the teacher should check for understanding of the main points of the lesson through an informal assessment. This could be a quiz, question & answer, or brief discussion.

Practice and Application: In this phase students implement their learning. For example, students might analyze a primary text, role play, or solve a problem set.

Closure and Extension: Provide clear closure to a lesson by returning to the lesson’s goals, addressing any points of the lesson that may still be confusing, foreshadowing the next lesson, or showing how the lesson extends to a broader context.

These phases of lesson design are meant to be used flexibly. You may choose to leave out some steps or alter their order, but we suggest that you at least keep the first and last steps to clearly frame the lesson. The TATP have also created a useful lecture plan template to plan your individual lectures. This template helps keep you focused for each lecture and maintains consistency of your lessons across the term.