Flowchart planning: The problem with planning is this: the more decisions one makes in advance, the fewer decisions one can make in the moment. But ‘in the moment’ is exactly when one is most informed about how best to make a decision, particularly in the classroom.
Whilst I’m sure many great teachers can balance thorough preparation and flexibility with good-old fashioned planning in discrete, chronological episodes, I have had to find a different solution: the ‘flow-chart lesson plan’.
The first box in my flow chart doesn’t say ‘starter task’, but ‘am I happy with the atmosphere in the room’? Then ‘if no, attempt to rectify’, then ask the initial question again (repeat until answer is ‘yes’). Later question boxes might be more AfL focused, or assess remaining time or available resources but, crucially, each offers a planned teacher intervention that is also responsive.
Maybe the flow-chart lesson plan is gimmicky; certainly it is a visualisation of what good teachers do anyway. In any case, it has helped me to prepare thoroughly without sacrificing the spontaneity which is crucial to a successful lesson. Perhaps others will think it worth a try too.
@wroberts3 Teacher of Music and Maths – South East, UK