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Coming up with a lesson plan: why is it a good idea and what happens if you don't?

This time, last week I was hosting some Halloween Cartoon Art workshops (eight, to be precise) at a local primary school. Talking to classes of twenty five children at a time was a great challenge for me, because I am a deaf tutor. That said, the same thing will also apply to a tutor who is not deaf. It is expected of anyone who co-ordinates a class or workshop at a school.

So, why is a lesson plan a good idea?

1. If you are a workshop facilitator, a lesson plan helps you create a structured and fun workshop for children and adults. It is expected of you, if you are responsible for their learning and engagement.

2. Children will be a tough crowd to please, especially if you don't plan your lessons and give a poorly co-ordinated workshop.

3. A lesson plan helps with your public speaking. When you talk to a classroom, you will have your topics ready, understand your subject and outline the plan for the afternoon. After all, you have one hour for your workshop, so if it is well-structured, you will get the best out of everyone. My classes consisted of a quick talk and a question-and-answer session about their topic, followed by the fun bit, which is the Halloween Cartoon Art workshop (ie learning how to draw Halloween monsters from my step-by-step drawing templates).

4. A workshop is more than just about learning to draw cartoons. It is also about showing children how to engage, collaborate and share ideas with others. I also encouraged their teachers to participate (and they agreed to do so) so they could also show children the benefits of taking part. These are important life skills we all need in order to manage our busy personal and professional relationships.

What happens if you do not have a lesson plan?

1. Obviously, you will not pull off a well-structured workshop and it will be a poor one.

2. Word will get around fast that your workshops are sub-standard. Teachers taking part in your workshops will be unimpressed, and will feed back their private thoughts to other teachers in their school and possibly other schools, too.

3. You won't be hired back. You do want to be hired back, so make sure you produce a structured and thorough lesson plan.

I would like to thank Mission Grove Primary School, Walthamstow for the opportunity to host my workshops. I am very grateful for all their help and support they provided me.

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