The 51 year Lesson Plan

It takes a lifetime to plan, not five minutes. Wherever you plan your lesson, whether it’s in your head, on paper, or online, a lesson plan is a struggle, a labour of love, hate, and compromise. It is open to constant revision, it is a dialogue with the past, present and future and will always take longer than the writing of a few words.

An example:

In a school in which I taught the head of D&T was told off for having the following written in his planner:

‘Dovetail Joint’

Apparently as a lesson plan it was not detailed enough, it didn’t include differentiation, it didn’t include assessment, it didn’t include levels and he, a very experienced teacher was told he had not put enough thought into his planning.

Pardon my French but Couilles!

He’d been teaching kids to do dovetail joints for years, he knew better than any detailed written lesson plan would ever recognise! This is the sort of silly bureaucracy that wastes so much energy and stresses out experienced staff needlessly.

Then someone pointed out that dovetail joints are unnecessary in the twenty first century and he should be teaching ‘how to use a staple gun’ or how to read Ikea instructions, brandish alum keys and a screwdriver. I pointed out we always need Classics and craft and the dovetail joint is a sign of beauty and care that connects us to our past and to quality.

A bit like an old teacher.

17 thoughts on “The 51 year Lesson Plan

  1. thom

    Sometimes it is a real struggle to get fellow members of SMT to understand that planning is a reflection of teaching and learning, not the other way round. Funny thing is,, when I asked senior teachers in my school to redesign the lesson planning format (I gave them a blank slate), they created the same format, just in a different arrangement. It was one of those ‘ah ha’ moments when I realised we needed not to break changes but break down walls. So we did, and continue to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. johnwoottonuk

    I bet we could replicate that story across hundreds of schools in the UK. Sometimes it feels as though the last 30 years of my teaching life haven’t existed! Young SLT think they have invented everything … Active learning 1986 … Bring back ‘Fresh Oven Pies’!


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