Research update: What are the lesson planning practices of teachers?

A survey conducted by the Elementary School Science Group on teachers in a public elementary school in Quezon City revealed how they go about planning their lessons as well as their references, sources of information, and materials. The survey attempted to determine what kind of help they need in their lesson planning activities that can be provided by NISMED as a research, curriculum development and professional development extension unit.

Preliminary results responding to the main research question in the title are indicated in the following statements culled from the raw data:
  1. Almost all of the 17 teachers who returned the questionnaires write down/encode their lesson plans.
  2. Most (13) prepare their lesson plans on their own while a few (4) sometimes prepare these with other teachers.
  3. Just slightly more than half (9) revise their old lesson plans every year while the rest (8) just revise “sometimes.”
  4. Most (13) write new lesson plans every year; very few (4) “sometimes” write new lesson plans every year.
  5. Most (15) prepare their own lesson plans; only two (2) “sometimes” prepare their own lesson plans.
  6. Most (13) sometimes borrow another teacher’s lesson plan; a few (4) “never” do.
With regard to the procedure or steps they take in lesson planning or preparing to teach a Science lesson, most start with a lesson plan, lesson guide, budget of work, the Philippine Elementary Learning Competencies (PELC) Science, the aim, or subject matter; others start with the references (books and teaching guides). Only a few begin with a consideration of the pupils’ ability level, materials or equipment needed (like a projector or computer).

Most attend to the “materials,” “activities,” “visual aids,” “pictures,” needed AFTER they have made the lesson plan.

Majority (11) of the teachers initially surveyed said that they use ready-made lesson plans but as references only in preparing their own.

During the informal focus group discussion (FGD) the teachers explained that they edit these lesson plans, if not in writing, surely in delivery. They usually revise the activities or add to these, since they consider the activities in the textbooks and accompanying teaching guides inadequate or in need of adjustment or changes here and there.

In this light, the seemingly contradictory practices of writing “new lesson plans each year,” which a majority (13) did, and revising “old lesson plans every year” which is practiced by more than half of the total number respondents (9 of 17) may be explained by the fact that they do edit, revise, adjust and make some changes in the delivery, as well as re-write anew (with the current date) their lesson plans each year, as required of them, though these may be copies of old lesson plans.

The teachers also revealed during the FGD that they lack activities to be used in teaching Science. The textbooks contain very few activities that they can use in their classes if they intend to teach Science using the inquiry approach.

The findings of this survey, detailing the methodology and more thorough analyses and literature review will be reported in an article to be written for publication by the Elementary School Science Group.