Lesson plans are highly organized outlines that specify the subject matter to be covered, the order in which the information will be presented, and the timeline for delivering each section or component of the subject matter. While these plans are often used by corporate trainers as part of new employee orientation or continuing education opportunities for existing employees, the device is more commonly associated with teachers. Today, it is not unusual for school officials to evaluate and approve the teacher’s plan in advance.
The main function of the lesson plan in an elementary to senior high school setting is to ensure that teachers are following the correct curriculum and that each class will be exposed to the data in a timely and efficient manner. When the plan is prepared properly, it also provides the teacher with the opportunity to plan learning modules and strategies in advance, so that the material in question will be covered effectively. In most school systems, it is the responsibility of the teacher to prepare the lessons in accordance with the guidelines and regulations provided by the school system.
A basic lesson plan includes three main divisions. The foundational element has to do with the material that is to be presented in classrooms. This means the choice of material must be part of the approved curriculum. While some systems may allow additional resources to be included, there is still the requirement to make use of the approved resources.
Along with identifying the curriculum that will be used, a lesson plan also organizes the material into a series of classroom sessions that will allow the teacher to effectively present the subject matter within time period specified. This leads to the third division of the plan, which has to do with defining the strategies that will be employed in each setting to accomplish the goals for that class period.
Increasingly, the teacher submits the lesson plan to someone connected with the administration of the school. The administrator is tasked with the responsibility to review each facet of the plan and confirm that the structure and content of the plan is in keeping with school standards. Once the plan is approved, the teacher is free to begin assembling any resources that will be helpful in implementing the provisions of the plan.
Depending on the school jurisdiction, the lesson plan may be highly detailed. For example, the plan may identify each point to be covered within the class session and assign a specific portion of the class time to make the presentation. All the individual points are presented in a specific order and must be completed by the end of the class session. In other jurisdictions, the teacher will still be expected to identify what will be covered in the session that day, but has some flexibility as far as the order of presentation and how much time to spend on each individual point.
Under the best of circumstances, a lesson plan makes it possible to present students with all the relevant information regarding the subject. However, there are critics of this system, noting that if the plan is so detailed that it leaves no room for creativity, the process may be more of a hindrance to the learning process than a help.