Lesson planning differences: practicum vs. my teachables course

*This post was written by Susan He, a Master of Teaching student in the Senior/Intermediate stream.

Earlier this month, I started my first practicum in the MT program. A month and a half has gone into preparing me on theory and practice teaching. In this post, I will talk about my take on lesson planning in the OISE classroom and during practicum.

Resources for Learning Materials

All of my instructors shared useful resources, from ministry documents to specific lesson activities available online for teachers. However during practicum, I am overwhelmed by these additional resources and when and how to incorporate it into my lessons. For my first teaching practicum, my AT was kind enough to share with me her worksheets and the textbook used in the class. In future practicums I definitely plan on using the additional online resources by having a list of activities prepared ahead of time so it doesn’t feel overwhelming when the practicum begins.

Lesson plan structure

A great thing I noticed in my classes at OISE was that many of my instructors had gone over what to include in a lesson plan and how to incorporate aspects of the course they were teaching into it.

In my general science teachable class, there were 3 lesson planning activities. They ranged from learning to incorporate questioning as a method for effective student learning, to carrying out a micro lesson in 7 – 10 minutes, to planning a hypothetical unit in science.

In my Fundamentals of Teaching class, my cohort had weekly observations in grade 7-12 classrooms at UTS in the month leading up to November practicum. Each week, the focus for these observations changed according to a concept taught in class.

I was able to observe:

-a senior chemistry class for overall lesson structure

-an intermediate drama class for lesson environment and space

-a senior biology class for transition of activity to activity, and

-an intermediate math class classroom management of different lesson tasks and activities

What I did in the preparation for practicum at OISE was more challenging than lesson planning in an actual classroom. That is because being in an actual school where the lessons are a continuation of what I taught the previous class, I have the entire 75-minute period to carry out a full lesson and I have a realistic idea of what type of expectation I should have from my students and that influences my lesson plans. That being said, in a real teaching environment, I am faced with more time management and classroom management issues that a perfectly planned out lesson or monthly unit plan cannot foresee. Don’t fret, this is just another opportunity for me to observe how long students can hold their attention performing a particular task and communicating with students in a form other than delivering a lesson.