Why do my students say my lessons have no structure?

Help, tips and advice in teaching English

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Why do my students say my lessons have no structure?

Unread postby Fiona » 03 Aug 2004, 09:04

Dear Auntie Lucy,

My students have said that they don't see any structure to my lessons. I spend a long time planning and my lessons are well-thought out. What can I do?

Thanks for your help. I don't like getting complaints from my students.


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Help - I have problems structuring lessons

Unread postby Lucy » 03 Aug 2004, 11:19

Dear Fiona,

Sometimes what seems to the teacher as a very well-structured lesson doesn’t come across that way to the students. The teacher is clear about what (s)he is doing and where (s)he is going but doesn’t always put it across to the students.

You could think about being more explicit about the structure. For example, do you write up the objectives on the whiteboard at the beginning of the lesson? Do you explain orally to the students what language points or skills they will be covering in that lesson? If not, this might be a good place to start.

You could also write up the aims of each stage. For example,

1) Brainstorm: what makes a good presentation?
2) Video which presentation techniques are used?
3) Plan a presentation.

If you put this up on the board at the beginning of the lesson, you can tick off each activity when it is completed.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to spend time doing this, you can ask students at the end of the lesson what was covered. They can tell you retrospectively what your plan was. All of these techniques make your plan explicit to students. The old adage of “tell them what you are going to say, say it, then tell them what you have said” is very useful here.

Another point to consider is whether you make clear the movement from one activity to another. If this isn’t the case, some students may continue with the previous activity while others move on with you. A feeling of “discohesion” can emerge. Think carefully about how you mark the movement from one stage of the lesson to the next.

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