Lesson Pacing & Time Management
Classes are only allotted a certain amount of time, and thus, VIPKid teachers must manage their time wisely so that the lesson objectives can be taught well and the class can go smoothly and efficiently.
By MarJanita B
Did you ever have one of those dreams in which you are supposed to attend an event, but the more you try to get there, the more you seem to move in slow motion? Usually, those dreams always end with the arrival at the event taking place hours after it has been over. That nightmare can become a very real feeling for teachers if they are unsure of how to manage lesson pacing and time management well.
This may sound scary for new teachers. But no need to fear! You’ll master lesson pacing and time management like a pro with these three simple tips used at VIPKid:
When preparing, it is important to know the lesson before teaching it. Just as a race-car driver is familiar with the car before a race, and a chef knows a recipe by heart prior to a competition, so does the time-efficient teacher know the lesson before class.
Knowledge means knowing how long the class is required to last. It is also beneficial to understand the lesson objectives, content, structure, and interactive options. Most VIPKid lessons have approximately 25-28 slides, with the beginning and ending ones being filler slides. Dedicating one minute per slide is usually a helpful strategy to remember while teaching. Unit Assessments may seem intimidating because they often have double the amount of slides; however, the material is review content for the learner, and many of the slides are filler slides for the game theme.
Knowledge will allow the teacher to make sure there is a clear understanding of the lesson, so there will be no unexpected surprises.
Once the teacher has the knowledge in place, then it can be helpful to put it into practice. Setting a timer or 5-minute alarms while mock teaching the lesson can be helpful for preparing to teach the class to an actual learner. If looking for an audience during those mock-teaching sessions, pets such as cats, dogs, and goldfish are always a great option if you don’t have anyone to practice with.
1) Regular Teaching Goals
Now that preparation has taken place; then the teacher is ready to teach. During the lesson, the lesson objectives must always be met. It is wise to spend more time on new material and less time to review concepts. Skipping slides is unfair to the learner, so it is important to always teach the lesson completely. Plus, skipping slides could be a cause for negative parent feedback, which, of course, no teacher wants.
Young learners who are working at processing information in a second language need wait time. Giving this wait time is important for the teacher to give the learner to process information.
2) Extension and Scaffolding
Teachers can be prepared with some strategies for time management if the learners are finding the lesson too easy or too difficult. An extension is useful for learners that move quickly through a lesson. Expounding on the lesson objectives and incorporating coordinating questions are good for these situations.
Some learners have more difficulty with the lesson and require extra time. Teachers should scaffold in these situations to ensure that learners are being challenged, but also receiving the support they need. Teachers and learners taking turns reading during long reading passages would be one example of this. Prompt corrections are always needed; however, overcorrection is never helpful for the learner, nor is it helpful for the lesson pacing.
Yes, teaching is so much fun that it can be easy to lose track of time, but efficient teachers always keep one eye on the lesson slide number and one eye on the lesson timer. This way, they are aware of how the lesson is proceeding in regards to pacing, and they can make adjustments if needed.
Teachers also watch their emotions and responses to the learners. Although learners who are having difficulty with the lesson and taking extra time can be frustrating, it is important to remain patient and not show frustration.
Remembering to Prepare, Teach, and Watch will keep teachers free of time management and lesson pacing nightmares during their classes so that they can live happily ever after in ESL fairy-tale land.
This Teaching Essentials Blog Series looks at some tools-of-the-trade for online ESL instruction. In it, we explore a few key concepts and dive into what makes them indispensable to our teachers.
MarJanita refers to her VIPKid classes as the best part of each day and becoming a VIPKid teacher as one of the best decisions of her life. She lives in Lancaster, PA, USA, where she is also a brick and mortar classroom teacher, author, VIPKid teacher, artist, and thrift-store addict.