Effective lesson pacing is important because it determines how well students grasp new information. Information takes time to be processed at any level of learning process. Therefore, it is essential for the teacher to present new information at a pace that will not leave any student behind the lesson. This calls for the teacher to come up with a lesson plan that will be able to actively involve all students in every lesson activity.
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Need for Lesson Plan
A lesson plan is a comprehensive description of the course of instructions for a lesson. Teachers develop lesson plans for everyday teaching. The content of a lesson plan varies depending on the needs of the students and subject taught. The school may lay down rules on how to prepare the lesson plan. A good lesson plan must cover the interest of the students.
Pacing the lesson plan is necessary so as to ensure that the presentation of the lesson helps the students understand the material despite differences in their abilities and interests (Echevarria, Vogt, & Short, 2004). A teacher needs a lesson plan so as to individualize the teaching.
Individualizing a lesson plan ensures that no student is left behind and also, no student will be bored. In a class environment, there are some students who are able to grasp materials and solve challenging tasks faster than others.
Individualizing the lesson is necessary so as to move each student from the level where he/she is currently to the next, more advanced level. The reading level of students in a class may vary according to the ability and interest of the students. Therefore, they all do not need the same focus for skills and concepts (Echevarria et al, 2004).
Pacing for a Class that includes English Language Learner
It is necessary for teachers to know the strength and weaknesses of each student in the class; this will enable the teacher to plan effective lessons. Effective teaching plans help in keeping the students interest on the subject. It also gives room for independent development of each student (Jones, & Jones, 2004).
A student who is learning English as a second language will require more time to grasp the conceptions. This is because; such students may have to think in their native language and then try to interpret their thoughts in English. A teacher in such a class has to slow the material and give the students time to catch up with it.
ELL students may require that the teacher breaks down the concept and presents the material gradually. A teacher must consider slowing the pace of lesson if the class consists of ELL students. However, a teacher should make sure not to slow down too much so as not to distort the natural rhythm of English language. Slowing the pace of the lesson ensures EEL students are not left behind (Jones et al, 2004).
ELL students may require the teacher to involve extra activities in the lesson, and keep checking their progress regularly. If there is something that the student does not grasp as quickly as it is required, the teacher should try to present it slower or break the presented material into smaller steps.
When conducting the lesson, the teacher may include pauses, and allow students time to discuss and digest. This is because ELL students learn more from their peers than from their teacher.
This is as a result of EEL students always interacting with their peers, as opposed to their teachers. The teacher must also give the students time to ask questions. This will give the teacher an idea of what the students do not understand (Hofmeister, & Lubke, 1999).
Educators should pair up ELL student with their peers who speak English as their first language. Teachers should introduce songs. A song will boost the memory of a student and reduce the learning tension.
Music boosts the memory because it is rhythmic and learning a song comes more freely. The teacher should also encourage group reading. This way, ELL students will be able to master pronunciations.
Pacing for a Class that does not include English Language Learner
If a class consists of gifted students, the teacher will need to make the pacing faster than for ELL students with lower level of knowledge. Normally, students with exceptional learning abilities often find themselves in trouble.
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This happens because the lesson is too slow for them, or it is not challenging enough. The students are left with plenty of time doing nothing. The teacher should be able to recognize the presence of gifted students in a class and increase the pace of the lesson as necessary.
Pacing a lesson plan narrows down to one thing, the students. Teachers may increase or slow the pace of their class as per individual preference, but if students are familiar with the material, or they do not understand the lesson at all, then, no matter how much the teacher may try, it will not make any difference for students.
The teachers must ensure not to relinquish the quality of the class lesson to the quantity of materials they want to cover. Effective educators must be able to adjust their lesson pacing depending on the ability of the students. They must also reflect on the lesson plan and change it according to the needs of the students.
Echevarria, J., Vogt, M., & Short, D.J. (2004). Making content comprehensible for English learners: The SIOP model (2nd ed.). Boston: Pearson.
Hofmeister, A., & Lubke, M. (1999). Research into practice: Implementing effective teaching strategies (3rd ed.). Logan: Utah State University.
Jones, L., & Jones, V. (2004). Comprehensive classroom management: Creating communities of support and solving problems (7th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.