Module 5 - Adult Literacy Classroom
Basic Elements of a Lesson
There are many ways of structuring a lesson. Different instructors, as a result of their initial training and subsequent experience, design lessons differently. Yet, if you review a large number of lessons, you will see common elements. Every effective lesson has:
- a purpose or goal — objective.
- characteristics of learners to consider in planning.
- an introduction to these purposes for the learner — set.
- the body of the lesson – various learning tasks designed to achieve the lesson goal — activities.
- instructional resources to support instructional activities.
- some type of lesson summary tying back to the initial goals — conclusion.
- an evaluative component whereby the instructor can measure whether or not the goal was met – how much the learner understands and can apply from the lesson — assessment of learning.
“When I prepare lesson plans, I work to include an intro and a conclusion for each lesson, and I generally have an objective in mind. I find it hard to have time for formal lesson planning; but I do admit, however, that the lessons that I sit down and plan out on paper are often more successful. ”
“We do different things every day – but it’s not crazy, you know? Like there’s always an explanation of stuff before and then we talk about it, and then we try it out on our own. And stuff connects from day to day – but it’s fun, you know, I like it.”
Take a moment to consider these basic elements and their implications for instruction of adult literacy learners.
On your worksheet, record your initial thoughts about these basic elements of a lesson.
Take a look at these sample lessons. Can you see these common elements? These lessons are all written to be shared with other instructors. These summaries may range from very brief outlines to quite extensive explanations including all of the elements described above – and more. The process of documenting a lesson helps to clarify and refine instructor’s plans, improving the experience for the learner.
Listed below is a real-life adult education scenario. While you are reading, look for the basic elements of the lesson. How do you think these basic elements assist the students in the learning process?
Real-Life Scenario – Tamara Teaches Contractions:
Tamara had noted that most of her students were having difficulties using contractions in their writing. She reviewed some materials and created her lesson plan. When it came time for language arts study the next day, Tamara wrote “The cat _____ not…” on the board. She then asked her students to help her brainstorm words that would make sense in that space – using as her example “can.” The students came up with a number of words – was, will, would, did, could, is, etc. She then asked them if they could think of another way to say “can not.” After some discussion they agreed on “can’t” – Tamara wrote that on the board. She then discussed the concept of a contraction, noting the use of the apostrophe, and challenged the class to pair up and, in teams, come up with contractions for all their brainstormed words. She cautioned them that not all words can be contracted. After the pairs had worked for a bit, Tamara had them report out and discuss until the class all agreed on contractions to use for each pair of words, or that no contraction could be made. Lastly, she had them discuss when they would want to use contractions - or not – in their writing and assigned them to practice creating and breaking apart contractions on worksheets. Tamara hoped to see some improvement in their next writing assignments.
On your worksheet, record your thoughts on how the instructor used the basic elements of a lesson.
In reviewing these ideas, did you find any similar to your own? Did any of them strike you as particularly interesting? Did they provide any new insights for your instruction of adult literacy learners?
On your worksheet, make note of any tips, insights, or new ideas gained from the instructors’ suggestions.
Effective lessons generally share several basic elements.
- Lessons are based on objectives, which help the instructor narrow and focus their instruction.
- Instructors generally begin the lesson with a ‘set’ or introduction to the ideas in the lesson – assisting them to make connections between this new learning and any existing knowledge.
- The bulk of the lesson is made up of one or more activities designed to assist the learner in grasping the concepts, form stronger connections in their understanding, and practice new skills.
- Lessons should have a concluding activity or discussion that relates back to the original objective or helps learners to gain deeper insights.
- In many cases, additional activities for independent practice are suggested or assigned as well.
On your worksheet, record any final notes or thoughts, specific ideas you want to remember, plans for further study, etc.
Click "Next" below or a specific topic on the outline to the left to continue.