Lesson planning can be one of those situations where you stop seeing the wood for the trees. You can either be a slave to the coursebook, potentially neglecting to question what you do, or you get so caught up with what you do in the lesson, that you overlook those important components – the students!
I find a useful way to view my lesson plans is to take a few paces back and plan with the notion of balance at the forefront of my mind. For me, with the classes that I teach at the moment, the main balance is: input and output; ‘me time’ and ‘them time’; ‘quiet time’ and ‘noisy time’; accuracy work and fluency work; receptive versus productive, etc. I’m sure you can think of your own metaphors for these: I often perceive clarification of language – whether grammatical, discoursal or lexical – to be ‘the meat’ or the protein, whereas skills work is ‘the rice’ or the carbohydrates! This metaphor reminds us that both elements are needed for a healthy student. If you rate meat over rice in your diet, then perhaps find a more neutral pairing, such as ‘yin’ and ‘yang’. Next week we’ll look at one or two practical ways to focus on this.