Unit planning

The teacher needs two kinds of plans to work successfully: the plan of a series of class-periods for a lesson or unit of the textbook or a unit plan, and the daily plan or the lesson plan for a particular class-period.

In compiling a unit plan, i. e., in planning the lesson of the textbook, the teacher determines the difficulties of the lesson, namely, phonetic difficulties (sounds, stress, intonation); grammar difficulties (grammar items, their character and amount), and vocabulary difficulties (the amount of new words, their character).

He then distributes these difficulties evenly over the number of class-periods allotted to the lesson in the calendar plan.

The teacher starts by stating the objective or objectives of each class-period, that is, what can be achieved in a classroom lesson. Of course the long-term aims of the course help the teacher to ensure that every particular lesson is pulling in the right direction and is another step towards gaining the ultimate goals of the course. To help the class to speak English better, To teach pupils to and or To develop pupils proficiency in reading cannot be the objectives of the lesson because they are too abstract to be clear to the learners. The lesson objectives should be stated as precisely as possible.

Pupils coming to the lesson should know what they are to do during the lesson, what performance level is required of them, and how it can be achieved. The teacher distributes the linguistic material (sounds, words, grammar, etc.) throughout the class-periods according to the objectives of each period, trying to teach new vocabulary on the grammatical material familiar to pupils, and to teach a new grammar item within the vocabulary assimilated by pupils; or he first teaches pupils hearing and speaking on the new material presented, and then pupils use this in reading and writing.

The teacher selects and distributes exercises for class and homework using various teaching aids and teaching materials depending on the objectives of each class-period. For example, for developing his pupils skill in dialogic speech within the material covered the teacher needs a record with a pattern dialogue, word cards for changing the semantic meaning of the pattern dialogue to make the structure of the dialogue fit new situations.

The unit plan, therefore, involves everything the teacher needs for the detailed planning of a lesson (class-period), namely: the objective (objectives) of each lesson, the material to work at, and the exercises which should be done both during the class-period and at home to develop pupils habits and skills in the target language.

The unit plan includes nine columns:

The importance of unit plans cannot be overestimated since unit planning permits the teacher to direct the development of all language skills on the basis of the new linguistic material the lesson involves. He can lead his pupils from reception through pattern practice to creative exercises, and in this way perfect their proficiency in hearing, speaking, reading, and writing. He can vary teaching aids and teaching materials within the class-periods allotted to the lesson. Unit planning allows the teacher to concentrate pupils attention on one or two language skills during the lesson; in this case the class hour is divided into two main parts: a period of 2025 minutes, during which he takes his pupils through a series of structural drills or other exercises supplied by the textbook, and a period of 2025 minutes during which the teacher engages the class in creative exercises when they use the target language as a means of communication.

The teacher should bear in mind that pupils lose all interest in a language that is presented to them by means of endless repetitions, pattern practices, substitutions, and so on, and which they cannot use in its main function of exchange of information through hearing or reading. That is why, whenever possible, the teacher should make his pupils values of his pupils aware of the immediate values of his lesson if he hopes to keep and stimulate their interest in language learning which is very important in itself. When a pupil is convinced that learning is vital, he is usually willing to work hard to acquire a good knowledge of the target language. It is well known that some pupils see little value in much of their school work in a foreign language and feel no enthusiasm for their work at the language. Careful unit planning helps the teacher to keep pupils progress in language learning under constant control and use teaching aids and teaching materials more effectively and, in this way, make his classes worthwhile to all of his pupils.

All this should be done by the teacher if there are no teachers books to the textbooks. If there are such books the teachers planning should deal with

(1) the study of the authors recommendations;

(2) the development of these recommendations according to his pupils abilities.

The teacher tries to adapt the plan to his pupils. He may either take it as it is and strictly follow the authors recommendations, or he may change it a bit. For instance, if he has a group of bright pupils who can easily assimilate the material, the teacher utilizes all the exercises involved in Pupils Book and include some additional material or stimuli pictures, objects for the pupils speaking within the same class-periods. If the teacher has a group of slow pupils, he needs at least one more period to cover the material, he also omits some exercises in Pupils Book with asterisk designed for those pupils who want to have more practice in the target language. The teacher may also increase the number of oral exercises and give pupils special cards to work on individually and in pairs.

The plan manifests the importance of planning pupils work in the classroom and at home. The teacher can see that in the classroom he should develop pupils speaking, and auding skills. As to reading, pupils develop this skill at home reading various texts and performing oral and written exercises connected with the texts. The teacher can also see what topics should be reviewed and what topics are new for his pupils. He can also find a new column in the plan Newspaper reading. It means pupils should be taught to work with this type of texts. There is a column in the plan dealing with grammar. Pupils should review grammar in a certain system.

The teacher therefore thoroughly studies the plans in Teachers Books and adapts them to his pupils.

:2014-12-15; :27

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