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Lesson PlanningLesson planning is invaluable to me as a new teacher of english as a foreign language. Primarily it organizes lessons into easy to follow steps, enabling me to build simple structure into my lessons, without which I would struggle not only with course content, but control of the class itself. I can see the benefit of having each stage of the lesson fully organized, and how this would have a positive effect on classroom management. After all, if the students are fully engaged in the lesson, their minds are far less likely to wander! When preparing my lesson plans, I can actually visualise each step of the lesson, giving me the confidence to carry them out in practice. Planning gives me the opportunity to foresee potential problems that may arise (academic or behavioural), and come up with possible solutions before they materialise. Possible problems on an academic level can be detrimental to the flow of the lesson, if not thought of in advance, and lesson planning allows me the time and space to think about probable solutions to these problems, before I even enter the classroom. Of course, it's not always easy to foresee behavioural problems, and sometimes these issues can be beyond our control, but if the lesson plan is fully thought through, and the lesson is engaging, there is far less chance of classroom management issues arising. Lesson plans cover both learners' and teachers' objectives and aims. It is vitally important for both to have these, as it gives the lesson a positive direction to move in. These objectives and aims should always be specific to the lesson material, and be measurable and achievable, ie - make sure the objectives/aims are appropriate for the level of learner. They also act as a strategy plan for teachers, to keep the flow of the lesson moving, and as a series of 'cue cards' for the students, ie - 'what they're doing, and when they're doing it.' Although a lesson plan creates a good general structure for any lesson, they can always be flexible. For instance, if students are obviously enjoying an activity, and it benefits their learning, there is no reason why that particular activity can't be extended, and other/later parts of the lesson be carried over to a later lesson. Used as a record, lesson plans can show a teacher what has been covered in previous lessons, so as not to repeat work (unless necessary), and as a tool to set realistic goals, especially over a sequence of lessons. During the course of a sequence of lessons the teacher can look to both previous and future lessons, to determine whether the goals and objectives of these are 'on track'. They also allow the teacher the opportunity to 're-cycle' useful parts of previous lessons into new ones. On the point of records, lesson plans also allow substitute teachers to 'step in' more easily, when they need to cover for regular teachers who may be absent through sickness etc.. Last but not least, lesson plans provide a teacher with an opportunity to self analyse, an invaluable tool in self improvement. It is paramount for any teacher to continually improve, and understanding how lessons play out, what was good and bad in them, and what can be improved upon, is vital to this process. In conclusion, I have worked previously as an education assistant, in a remote australian district high school, where many first year graduate teachers are sent to 'cut their teaching teeth', so to speak. Some of those planned their lessons meticulously, and as a rule had less academic and especially behavioural problems, in a community renowned for behavioural issues. Others didn't! Two of those who didn't, taught for two years, and no longer teach, primarily because the behavioural problems they encountered put them off teaching. Lack of planning, or maybe just coincidence? Of one thing I am sure. Teachers can become better teachers, and students can become better learners, all through effective planning. I will be planning my lessons, and I would advise any budding teacher to do the same!