During language teaching, learning theories play a very significant role in terms of jusfying the rationale behind certain approaches, materials and resources. In this case a successful lesson was planned on a strong theoretical background that has been explained in this paper. The success of the lesson plan was based on a strong theoretical foundation as articulated in this paper. Two major language theories were utilized in the course of planning and implementation of the lesson plan to the target learners.
The role of the mentor’s observations towards the success of the lesson plan has also been put on the spotlight.
Rationale for the lesson.
An effective lesson plan has to be constructed on a stable theoretical platform for it to yield the anticipated knowledge and skills in the learners. This is because, the learning of language skills involve cognitive processes that are influenced by the teacher and the learning environment. For the lesson be effective in achieving the intended objectives it had to be founded on a strong theoretical background and this was reflected in the various components of the lesson. This concerned the planning of the lesson and the execution of the important components of the lesson. The lesson had to be planned according to the level of learning of the learner and other important aspects that affect learning. (Yang, 2006)
The rationale for the lesson was to provide an enabling environment to the learner to facilitate the acquisition of important language skills. The enabling environment in this case includes the activities and experiences through which the learner was taken through alongside the resources and materials that facilitated learning of the language.
For it to have a strong theoretical background, the lesson plan was informed by the behavioral theory and the interaction theory of language acquisition.
The behavioral theory was put forward by B.F Skinner and argued that children acquire language skills through imitation of the adults. By putting this theory into consideration the lesson had to be structured in the sense that the important learning activities included learners listening to their teacher. The theory emphasized on the importance of the participation of the learner in the classroom activities. Activities such as reading and comprehension were part of the important elements in the lesson that facilitated the learning of important language skills.
Small discussion groups were also part of the lesson and it provided and opportunity for learners to gain from each other. The best learners in language skills were selected to lead the groups and the rest of the members had to learn from them especially in things like pronunciation of words. Hmelo-Silver& Chinn. (2007).
With this in mind, it is important to mention that the teacher had to perform the crucial role in the lesson to monitor and control the learning activities. Going by the behavioral theory of language acquisition , the teacher had to employ techniques such as questioning to allow learner time to express themselves as they learnt language., Listening, reading and writing were therefore very important activities in the lesson. The theory also informed the lesson plan in terms of the resources. In this case, the English language text book was a very important resource through which the learner benefited in the lesson. The textbook provided simple examples through which the learner could acquire English skills. (Yang, 2006)
The teacher in this case referred most of the time to the textbook for examples. The textbook also formed a good foundation for the participation of the learners. With all the learners having access to the textbook, they were able to read and carry out the assignments that were given in the course of the lesson. The teacher also made use of the whiteboard to write important things for the learners. Chats were also included in the resources section of the lesson plan. The teacher referred to the chats for the students to visualize the various phrases that were being learnt in the lesson. The chats also made the lesson interesting and helped to keep the learners focused on the important activities. Hmelo-Silver& Chinn. (2007).
In terms of assessment at the end of the lesson, the behavioral theory was featured prominently in the lesson plan. It is by considering the theory that a suitable assessment tool was arrived at. The assessment tool involved a one on one dialogue with the teacher whereby the teacher observed and listened to various responses from the learners concerning the content that had been covered in the lesson. Instant feedback in this case was vital in determining the achievement of the objectives.
The theory of interaction as postulated by Jerome Bruner was also of equal importance to the lesson. As mentioned by Bruner language is a tool for communication and can be acquired through an interaction with the people who want to communicate. In this case, he argued that child directed speech is adapted to facilitate the learning of language skills.
This means that both the behavioral theory and the interaction theory advocated for the full participation of the learners in important learning skills adopted by the teacher in the lesson.
Unlike in the case of the behavioral theory which emphasized on the need for the learners imitation in learning language skills, the theory of interaction emphasized on the relevance of communication between the learner and the teacher in the course of acquiring language skills. (Sweller, 2003)
However both theories advocated for close interaction between the teacher and the learners in the course of teaching language skills. The theories therefore led to the selection of relevant techniques like guided practice that were relevant towards learning of language skills. In an activity where learners were required to pronounce some vocabularies in the lesson, there was a lot of interaction that was founded on the two theories of language learning. (Sweller, 2003)
In the course of planning the lesson, the contribution made by my mentor was of great importance in achieving the objectives of the lesson. Important strategies of motivating the learners were acquired through mentorship. The mentor emphasized on the importance of feedback in the course of interacting with the learners during their participation in activities. The mentor argued that positive feedback was essential towards learning of language skills. Learners are motivated through positive feedback especially when they make mistakes in language skills. Ways of reinforcing the learners were to a great extent influenced by the mentor during lesson planning. (Sweller, 2003)
The mentor teachers were also influential in the construction of the lesson objectives. They were very useful in providing guidance on setting achievable objectives within the lessons time frame. Initially I had been setting objectives that were not being fully achieved. The mentors therefore led to significant improvements in objective setting.
The observations that were made by mentors became crucial towards the inclusion of some strategies like differentiated instruction that had been overlooked in the lesson plan. I must agree that it was a challenge to include differentiated instruction in the lesson plan but with their guidance and mentorship, it became easy to cater for the needs of students with different abilities in the lesson plan.
The two theories of learning led to the success of the lesson plan in achieving the set objectives. Both theories led to the inclusion of learning resources that facilitated the delivery of instructional materials to the learners in a very suitable way. With the theories in mind there were adequate preparations before the lesson began. This also involved the gathering of all the resources and materials. Another important thing on the lesson concerned the introduction and conclusion which was well articulated based on the theories. The theories led to a drafting of a very interesting introduction that captured the attention of the learners and maintained the same tone through out the entire lesson. (Yang, 2006)
In conclusion, it is vital to observe that the lesson was planned on a strong theoretical foundation. The behavioral theory and the interaction theory helped so much to inform the lesson planning process. The teaching strategies and learning activities were influenced by the two theories of learning. The learners were also evaluated based on the theoretical implications of the learning theories. The lesson was also influenced by the observations of mentor teachers who made significant contributions towards the lesson plan by strengthening the weak areas. In essence, the lesson would be a success because of the strong theoretical foundation and the mentorship provided by colleagues.