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Concourse 2

Strand 2: Planning the time


You have arrived here because you partially or fully agreed with:

I never seem to have enough time in my lessons

If you often feel that you'd like to stop the clock in your lessons because you are running out of time and won't be able to complete all that you wanted to, then there are clear problems with how you estimate time (and possibly how you use it).

This guide can't give you the 'right' answer but the activities suggested here can help you develop better time-management and time-planning skills.


Why is timing important?

There are many who think that it is a simple matter to clear up any overrunning by going back to the lesson the next day (or the next teaching slot) and finishing it off so it doesn't matter if you get the timing right.  That's mistaken.  Can you think of three reasons why it's mistaken?
Click here for a list of five when you have them.


Activity 1: estimating sensibly

Here are some lesson stages (from a variety of lessons) designed for a class of twelve low-level (A1 /A2) learners with average attention spans.  The lessons were conducted by an experienced teacher who gave clear, concise instructions and explanations and did not go off-topic frequently.
Can you estimate the amount of time each stage actually took?  Click on the table to compare your answers after you have thought a little.

timing task 1

Actually, all of these procedures bar 1 took longer than this experienced teacher had planned.  If you have answers which are very close to the numbers here, then you are good at estimating timing.  If, however, your answers are more than 25% out, here are some things to consider.

Before you go on, think why you might have been wrong and then click here.


Activity 2: learning from experience

  1. Plan a lesson with realistic timing for each phase (see Activity 1).
  2. Teach the lesson and make notes on the plan showing how long the phases actually took.
  3. Amend the lesson plan to take account of any discrepancies and insert or remove phases so that you have a coherent lesson with a beginning, a middle and an end.
  4. Teach the lesson again and see if it helped.

Repeat this often enough and you can train yourself to time things properly in the classroom.  As we saw, it's an important skill.  Well timed lessons impress everyone, not least your learners.


Gauging progress

There's a separate guide in this section of the site to gauging and measuring progress in your development.  Go there for more ideas.
In terms of planning timing more effectively, the best judge is probably you, so focus on ways of recording what you did and whether your timing is getting better.