Activity 6

Designing Lesson Activities

At the heart of successful lesson planning lies the effective design of appropriate learning activities.

READ: Read the following extract about ‘the process of lesson design' from the 2003 DfES publication, Key messages: pedagogy and practice.

The process of lesson design

Successful lesson design should be viewed as a series of planned learning ‘episodes'.

1) Locate the lesson or sequence of lessons in the context of:

  • the scheme of work;
  • pupils' prior knowledge;
  • pupils' preferred learning styles.

2) Identify clearly the essential objective(s) for pupils in terms of:

  • their knowledge, understanding, attitude and skills;
  • their attitudes and personal development. 

3) Structure the lesson as a series of episodes by:

  • separating the learning into distinct stages or steps.

4) Decide how to teach each episode, then choose:

  • the best pedagogic approach;
  • the most appropriate teaching and learning strategies;
  • the most effective organisation for each episode. 

5) Ensure coherence by providing:

  • a stimulating start to the lesson;
  • transition between episodes which recapitulate and launch new episodes;
  • a final plenary that reviews learning.

REFLECT: To what extent do your own processes of lesson design fit into this template?

WRITE: Choose one of your own recent lesson plans. Explain its objectives, its key episodes and how you decided to organise these episodes for your learners. Explain the transitions between episodes. Explain how you managed the start of the lesson and its final plenary.