1. I received some requests recently via e-mail concerning how to prepare a scheme of work as the new term has started. I believe that schemes of work should not be standardised. A strong statement maybe? I'm speaking from experience. Let me share something with you. I am teaching two Form 5 classes this year and in terms of proficiency, they are miles apart. Given their rate of learning, I must have two separate schemes of work for them. It will be unfair to my students to have the exact same thing as their abilities differ greatly. As a matter of fact, I spent three weeks to get them completed. My advice to teachers is to go through the process of preparing your own scheme of work essentially because it is a good way of learning. When it is ready, all you need to do is to alter the neccesary part the following year. Cutting and pasting from colleagues is not a good idea because it will just mean having something just to please your boss! Look at the students you have and plan what is appropriate for them. There is no one standardised format for a scheme of work, you will agree with me but some principles to look for are:
- Begin by breaking down the year into chunks. How many themes/topics/language skills do you need to teach? Allow yourself a couple of weeks at the end for revision and assessment - or games. Allow a week at the start for introductory lessons.
- Decide how long you'll need for each of these chunks. Perhaps you'd have about 2-3 weeks per chunkThink about what resources you'll need. Textbooks? Mahjong paper and felt tips? Computers? Write these in the Resources column. (Some schemes of work have a 'resource' column.)
- Decide the core language skills you cover for the semester absed on you curriculum specifications. (Some teachers prefer to build their scheme of work one semester at a time). This seems very flexible to me.
2. On a more serious note, your scheme of work is your work plan for the whole year and what you hope your students to achieve. Don't forget, it is the teacher's equivalent of the builder's plan and the engineer's blueprint. Hence it's an important part of our job to plan one suited for our classroom. Having said that, I have included a template for a scheme to download SAMPLE TEMPLATE. I hope it helps. Remember to leave lots of white space, for annotations, after thoughts, reflections in order to see what works and what doesn't. You will be able to take these feedback into consideration when you plan your next scheme of work.
3. Another thing I do is to have a file with monthly dividers and weekly dividers where I place master copies and answer key for the handouts, activities carried out for that week. Obviously these resources must go hand in hand with my scheme of work. This helps me greatly as I will have a complete resource for materials that I have used the following year and photocopying the materials is much easier! On top of that, I have blank sheets in the weekly divider to jot down any reflections on wether the materials work or otherwise after the lesson. Yes, it's a lot work..but this is what am paid for :)