Creating a successful lesson is down to thorough planning.
My ex-husband is a perfectionist when it comes to DIY and he used to spend hours, clearing, cleaning, preparing before he would start work. He claimed the only way to have a professional finish was to put the time and effort into the preparation.
Creating a successful lesson, I believe is the same.
When you plan the lesson, you need to be clear about what it is you want to achieve.
How are you going to achieve this?
As you probably know, I am a strong believer that you will need to use a variety of resources in order to thoroughly ensure the student is able to recall the information when it is required.
(I will be ensuring, creating a “Resources Bundle” a priority in the Starr Tutoring Association Membership Group when it goes live).
Start by breaking your lesson down into chunks.
Allow a couple of minutes at the beginning to let the student know what you will be working on and the resources you have prepared to achieve this.
You may want to give them the choice of which resource you start with.
Then, when planning the lesson, allow some time at the end to go over what you have done and ask the child if they are happy they now understand it or if they want to spend some more time on it. You may feel they need a bit longer and will suggest accordingly.
Then break the rest of the lesson into smaller chunks.
If there are (for example) 4 activities you have planned to support their learning you might allow 12 minutes for each. You may decide that writing a descriptive piece of writing will take longer than the resources you have prepared to think of initial descriptive words to use. Therefore you, will no doubt allow different lengths of time for each individual task.
Always under estimate how long a task will take so you have more resources prepared than you will need. You don’t want to anticipate something taking 15 minutes and it only takes 5 leaving you stranded 10 minutes before the lesson is due to finish.
When writing my lesson plan (I have attached a template that can be downloaded if you wish) I note how long I predict something will take in the first column.
I next state what the activity is and any resources you may need to complete it.
This has proven incredibly important over the years especially if you aren’t working in your own home or in a setting which has equipment available for you to use.
In the next column I allow space to explain what my objective is for creating this task. For example, if I am doing a descriptive piece of writing with a child the first task I may do is to ask them to think of 8 words to describe the picture (or whatever it is we are describing). They will then use these words to create a word search for me to solve and I will do the same for them.
I have found that by doing warm-up exercises like this the student is better able to be inspired.
I compare it to someone saying: “What shall we talk about?” and you can almost guarantee your brain goes blank. Given something solid makes the start so much easier.
Many writers state that putting the first word on a piece of paper is the hardest. These warm up activities, provide that first word.
I normally make it my principle to send this plan to the parents in advance. This keeps them in the loop as to what their child is studying with you (what they are spending their money on). Some parents, say you don’t need to worry about it and that is fine.
It also means that if the child/ parent changes their mind about what they want the focus to be on, it will give you chance to prepare alternative/ appropriate resources in advance rather than being unprepared when you arrive at the lesson.
I hope this has proven helpful.
If you want more ideas on starting / expanding your own tutoring company why not join us in the “Tutor’s Group”. The Tutor’s group is our Facebook group where tutors can come together and share ideas.
We will shortly be opening the “Starr Tutoring Association” which will offer a paid platform (£27/month) where you will receive, amongst other things; training bundles and support from experts to help you grow your business. For more details click on the link below.
Click here for the sample lesson plan template that you can adapt to suit your own tutoring needs.