As a student teacher supervisor, I coach many novice teachers in lesson plans design. One of the areas that we discuss often is effective pacing of lessons. Effective pacing optimizes the time spent on each task. This logical order will keep students engaged and better able to meet lesson objectives.
Lesson pacing goes hand in hand with effective lesson design. Effective lessons place the learner at the center of the learning process. A well-known research-based strategy to follow is the “ten-two” rule for lesson effectiveness. Students should receive no more than ten minutes of teacher-directed or teacher-presented content before they are given a chance to discuss, interpret, debate, or apply it. Keeping this lesson design in mind, opportunities for student reflection is an important part in lesson pacing. In other words, less Teacher Talk and more Student Talk. So, what are some ways to make every minute count when planning lessons?
4 Top Pacing Strategies
- Get organized – By getting your teacher materials ready, you can keep the lesson flow going. Have any handouts ready to be handed out or ready to upload so students can access quickly. Alternatively, project your screen for students to watch or read from. For younger students, materials such as glue, scissors, crayons should be available in a central location for student access.
- Use Visual Cues – To keep students engaged or on track, directions should be presented visually. This will save you both energy and time repeating directions multiple times. Oral directions are not ideal for all learning styles.
- Consider teaching styles and strategies – Choose the most effective teaching style or strategy based on the topic or type of lesson. Combine that with the most effective learning style of your students. “One size does not fit all”, so do not be afraid to mix multiple styles into a lesson. See post below.
- Use timing cues – Create a sense of urgency and value your lesson time. Work diligently through the lesson and be “aware” when you are wasting time from the task. Adjusting your pacing, should be used when additional thinking time is needed. Digital clocks and/or post its with “time checks” in your lesson design will help you keep on schedule.
Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.