Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Competency-based Lesson Planning

Six integrated and cross-curricular lesson planning ideas and seven teaching practices that would go well with the new national curriculum guidelines

By what standard can we decide whether a class is competency-based? Well, after reviewing many lesson plans and referring to a competency-based lesson planning manual published by the MOE, I was confident enough to write a few lesson plans for one of the major textbook publishers as supplementary resources. For me, it can be boiled down to the following five key elements:  

1. Real-life Scenarios

Rote memorization has dominated English teaching practices for decades. We spent long hours getting our students to do mechanical drills on textbooks and ready-made exams, which left students less and less motivated. 

By creating an authentic and meaningful context, students would feel the need to USE the language. They collaborate to finish the assigned tasks, such as making English-speaking videos, gallery walks oral reports, introducing the beauty of their hometown during Skype sessions.   

2. Autonomous Learning

Traditional lecturing nowadays makes it harder and harder for students to concentrate in class. They sit quietly and copy down whatever on the blackboard when teachers do all the talking throughout the whole period. 

Activities like information gap, literature circle, jigsaw reading, and gallery walk help students take a more active role in learning. Also, with differentiated tasks, students with mixed abilities can all contribute to the team's success. 

3. Real Application

Sentence patterns are for better communication. When designing a competency-based class, put those patterns in context so that students will be motivated to practice the desired structure. For example, using Google Map to plan an itinerary is a good way to put giving and asking for directions into practice. 

4. Cross-curricular

This feature is an optional choice. If the learning outcomes are intended to be related to students' real life, the lesson plan is going to be integrated and cross-curricular, instead of being a single-subject design. 

With the embedded slide show presentation, each cross-curricular teaching practice has a QR code to lead to the original blog posts. 

5. Three Domains and Nine Items

Finding matching indicators from the framework of the curriculum guidelines is super easy as long as the first three requirements are met. 

Not a big fan of finding the indicators first and then proceeding with the rest. Instead, think up what the final product will be and then arrange activities that help connect the dots. 

6. Learning Content and Learning Performance

Again, it's a piece of cake to locate the corresponding elements out of guidelines if my students are doing something meaningful with the language. To meet the requirements of the so-called competency-based format, it's a must to present the indicators. 

I take pride in presenting my blog posts at workshops. With photos, video clips, lesson plans, worksheets, students' products, and my reflections, I can prove those plans don't just look good on paper. Furthermore, they all have been carried out in real classes. 

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