Phil Beadle’s 14 Steps for a Perfect Lesson

Phil Beadle has kindly offered ‘Lookout for Learning’ his irreverrent and hilarious thoughts on how to design the ‘perfect’ lesson in 14 easy steps.  Do any of these ring true with you?

Phil is both an internationally recognised expert on teaching and learning and an inner city English teacher.  Specialising in working with students in challenging circumstances, his contextual value added scores are year-on-year amongst the highest of any teacher in the country.

He has won national awards for both teaching and broadcasting and been nominated for a European Commission award for his journalism.  His books on teaching and learning have been translated into five different languages:  his ‘How To Teach’ book was awarded 10/10 by the Times Educational Supplement and his latest publication ‘Dancing About Architecture’ lifts the lid on how to implement a little bit of creativity into your teaching.

Phil’s 14 steps:

  1. Don’t have a full time job. If you are to teach a perfect lesson, then the first thing you must ensure is that you are not a full time teacher. Full time teachers haven’t got the time to teach perfect lessons. It’s only gurus who can do this because gurus don’t have pigeonholes to check.
  2. Identify the technical part of the subject that everyone avoids because they are scared of it. What is it about this particular subject that you don’t know? If you don’t know it there’s little chance that your students already know it.
  3. Cut and paste the Wikipedia entry about it onto your lesson plan.
  4. Print it out, and take it with you as you go and have a cup of tea. Enjoy the process of making the tea, and do make sure that you leave      the bag in for a little longer than normal, as then the tea will really revive you. (You may also want to make yourself a bit of bread and jam.  Perhaps even toast it).
  5. When drinking your tea sit with the printed Wikipedia entry and a red pen. Read it, and take notes as to what you understand about the knowledge. Don’t stress.
  6. Go back to your computer and type up your notes – noting any ideas you have for lesson activities
  7. Go onto Google and do an image search on “Name of subject + cartoon.”  If there’s anything funny stick it in a Powerpoint.
  8. Stay on Google and do a further image search on “Name of subject.” Harvest any images that resonate and stick ‘em in the Powerpoint.
  9. You now have the key parts of a narrative, but they are not in the correct order. Reorder them.
  10. Using the Powerpoint as the narrative of the lesson, insert three activities that the kids do themselves.
  11. Check if there is any way of making the learning physical. If there is, bung this in.
  12. Make the first activity paired, the second in fours and the third individual.
  13. Fill in your lesson plan, asking yourself what you are going to  do that is special for 1. The underachieving kid, 2. The bright kid, 3. Lukasz (who has just arrived from Poland).
  14. Rehearse what could go wrong.

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