COLLABORATIVE PLANNING FOR THE EFL CLASSROOM

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We know how it goes: you’re sitting in the staffroom having your umpteenth cup of tea and your colleague asks you, “So what are you doing in the next lesson?” and you reply, “It’s the second conditional with my Intermediates” or “Colours with my 6-year-olds” and they turn around and say, “Oh, I’ve got a great activity for that!”.

As if it’s helpful now that you’ve already done the planning and are about to walk into the classroom!

But when you think about it, there’s an idea here. What if teachers planned their lessons together?

Sound impossible?

Well, let’s think about it.

Every week (or fortnight or month) the teachers can have a sort of staff meeting but no admin is discussed, only lesson plans. Teachers will present what they are teaching in their next lessons and the group brainstorm ideas on what could be done.

We all end up teaching the same thing at some time or other anyway so we always have relevant activities or nice worksheets to go with a certain topic or language structure. This session would allow us to share our resources with each other, thus cutting down on planning time.

At the same time it can be used as a time for teachers to ask questions about the language that they are not sure of. A senior teacher could be available to clarify any language issues and make sure the teachers feel comfortable teaching that particular lesson, instead of a teacher hurriedly asking a grammatical question five minutes before their lesson.

Of course there is the (very real) possibility that some teachers will end up doing all the work while others will simply take all the ideas and resources without giving up any of their own, but this is where the collaboration comes in. If a teacher is not pulling his or her weight in the planning session, chances are other teachers won’t be very forthcoming when it comes to helping them out.

If the teachers in your staffroom are likeminded individuals, there is no reason why this idea cannot save everyone a lot of time. Instead of recreating the wheel for every lesson, the teachers can build up a bank of resources for communal use and utilise each other’s knowledge and experience.

Do you think this could work?

If you think this is a useful idea, why not bring it up with your Director of Studies and see if you can trial it to see if it works?

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