Clear learning objectives assume central importance for both teachers and students. Possessing definite goals for each lesson, educators understand what learning materials they should utilize, what primary activities learners should perform, and whether learners have acquired delivered knowledge. Simultaneously, apparent learning objectives help provoke students’ considerable interest in lessons’ topics and maintain focus on the points needing assiduous attention. In this regard, teachers can use one of the famous goal-setting approaches, namely, “SMART” criteria that require objectives to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. These principles bestow specific meaning for pupils, which serves as a powerful drive to learn.
Lesson structure also plays a crucial role in the learning process since it promotes the better acquisition of a lesson’s materials. In particular, depending on educators and contexts, the structure typically includes a warm-up, material presentation, practice or activities, and the assessment of students’ understanding. Pachina (2019) adds that a structured lesson plan aids in class management and effective time arrangement and draws learners focus on core items. Overall, these components make learning coherent, establish a direct connection between lessons, and help students retrieve necessary knowledge more conveniently.
Making the learning process consistent and meaningful with the clear division of lessons that is guided by a particular, overarching theme and aim is critical for the acquisition of skills. Irrespective of their age and abilities, all students should be prepared appropriately, that is, have the necessary knowledge obtained from the previous lessons, to comprehend the current topic. Otherwise, the theme can remain vague for pupils, and the learning outcome will fail to correspond to objectives and expectations. In addition, lessons that do not consider students’ preparation can totally disengage them from active and fruitful learning.
For example, the study by Dong, Jong, and King (2020) has inferred that students with less prior knowledge are inclined to experience lower engagement and higher cognitive load. The researchers also add that educators should design instructional plans to provide optimal cognitive load. Another research by Zambrano et al. (2019) revealed that inadequate prior knowledge significantly worsens both individual and collaborative learning. As a result, this can severely impair the connection between sessions, worsening or eliminating learners’ interest in the subject overall.
The Assessment Methods
To evaluate and guarantee that pupils consolidate material provided in each lesson, I typically use the most widespread assessment methods in the learning environment, namely, formative and summative. The main goal of the former is to monitor students’ learning to give ongoing feedback that can be applied to update the teaching approach and refine students’ performance. This format of assessment facilitates learners’ detecting their strengths, drawbacks, and gray areas needing urgent consideration. Consequently, formative assessment help educators ensure that pupils consistently acquire their knowledge without missing a link. The instances embrace group activities and discussions, self and peer evaluation, and exercises, including asking to write two sentences or draw a concept map that shows students’ understanding of a theme.
The second technique targets estimating students’ knowledge when a particular learning section ends, in accordance with an established evaluative criterion. Data gained from summative assessment I utilize to direct learners’ and faculty’s efforts in subsequent sessions. In my lessons, I have used tests and exams. It is also worth noting that compared to formative assessments, it has a high point value (Carnegie Mellon University, n.d.). Besides, I should note that I preferred to apply formative assessment more frequently because I could better understand pupils’ comprehension and interests, and they were also much more engaged in this format.
Dong, A., Jong, M. S. Y. and King, R. B. (2020). ‘How does prior knowledge influence learning engagement? The mediating roles of cognitive load and help-seeking,’ Frontiers in psychology, 11(591203), pp. 1-10.
Pachina, E. (2019). 9 crucial reasons why teachers need a lesson plan. International TEFL and TESOL Training. Web.
What is the difference between formative and summative assessment? (n.d.). Web.
Zambrano, J., et al. (2019). ‘Effects of prior knowledge on collaborative and individual learning,’ Learning and Instruction, 63(101214), pp. 1-8.