Our position on lesson planning

planning speaking lessons in week one

We believe that teachers should be thoroughly prepared to teach before they enter a classroom; this does not mean that they need a formal lesson plan under their arm.  Instead, it means that they need to be prepared to respond to circumstances for their learners’ benefit.

We also believe that beginning teachers can learn a lot about teaching by considering in advance what the best ways may be for achieving certain aims in a lesson.

We do not believe that failing to plan is planning to fail in the sense that beginning teachers need to detail every eventuality in a formal document and be able to manage events so that they show themselves able to implement said plan in every detail.  In our view, this is teaching in the face of the learners.

Instead, we believe that teachers should be well-prepared to teach whatever they enter the classroom intending to explore with their learners.  Part of this preparedness is in having considered alternatives to their initial conception of the lesson should learners’ needs “conflict” with their idealised procedure.  This does not mean being ready to jettison their plan for the class entirely at the first sign of difficulty; on the contrary, a prepared teacher should be able to take several detours and make several changes in their approach but still be able to say that their learners still developed in the ways the teacher had hoped for at the outset.  Many roads can lead to Rome.

In our next post, we will outline our position on texts.


  • This, to me, is one of the most valuable aspects of Dogme – forcing you to consider your approach to a subject from many different angles. As a practice, it seems to me to be much more challenging for your trainees too than simply trotting out the party line for a lesson plan.

    • Very true: we find it sometimes incredibly difficult not to “run out a party line” and instead to take the trainee’s ideas on its own terms. The attempt, though, makes us grow. It would be a lie to say that we always manage it, however! We are still VERY far from unplugged Nirvana!

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