Lesson Plan

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Grouping and warm up

Why warm up exercises?
  • they help the learner to be present in the learning situation and focus on the matter
  • they are motivating
  • they start the group process and create good atmosphere for learning
Grouping exercises
  • they are needed when a new group starts to work together
  • they build a good and safe atmosphere for learning
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Orientation and pre-existing knowledge

The purpose of orientation is to prepare students’ minds to receive and process new knowledge. Orientation activates students’ prior knowledge and helps them to make the right connections between new knowledge and pre-existing notions. This way new information is easier to understand and it becomes relevant to learners.

For orientation students can be given the new theme to be handled, or a problem or claim related to that theme. During an orientation task, students can for instance map out their previous knowledge about the topic, analyze that knowledge and ask questions based on their pre-existing notions. Orientation tasks can be written presentations, charts, pictures, concept maps etc. Students can work on their orientation exercises alone, in pairs or in small groups, and these can also be carried out online.

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    Often the purpose of the lesson is to help learners to acquire new knowledge. There are at least three main possibilities to obtain new knowledge. New knowledge can be acquired by

    • teacher teaching the students
    • students teaching each other or
    • students acquiring the knowledge themselves.

    The traditional way of obtaining new knowledge is by the teacher teaching the students. This can also be done in an activating way by using the activating lecture method.

    Sometimes it is also good to let the students find the knowledge themselves and teach each other. By doing so, they also gain valuable skills like information seeking and processing. They also tend to remember the things they found out themselves much better than those told by the teacher. According to scientific studies the most effective way to learn something is to teach it to someone else. This applies to the students as well.

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      The scientific studies state it very clearly: if you want the students to learn something, they have to be active themselves. New knowledge or skills cannot be transferred from the teacher to the students as such. If the learners are not activated somehow and process the new information themselves, the new information is not truly understood and learned by them.

      Activating the students is especially vital if you look for deep learning and good learning results.

      Activating the students can be done in various different ways, for instance:

      • asking students questions (especially those kind of questions that dont'd necessarily have the right answer)
      • giving students reflection tasks about the topic
      • letting students to discuss the topic with a pair or in small groups
      • requesting the students to ask the teacher questions about the topic
      • asking the students to apply the new information or skill in a new context
      • using activating teaching and learning methods that require students' own thinking and action.
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        Reflection is thinking about and analyzing your own learning. Reflective learners process their learning, relate it to what they already know, adapt it for their own purposes, and translate thoughts into action. Reflection develops creativity, ability to think critically about information and ideas, and metacognitive skills (ability to think about one’s own thinking).

        Furthermore, reflecting one's own learning enhances deep learning. Through reflection new knowledge is adhered to one's own knowledge structure and is more easily remembered afterwards.

        To promote reflection the teacher can ask the students the following kind of questions:

        • What did I learn today?
        • What did I find interesting?
        • What was difficult for me and why?
        • What would I like to learn more about?
        • What helps me to learn better?
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          Drawing conclusions

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