What is the importance of a lesson plan and why are they created?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lesson plans are the "road map" for a teacher's instruction.  Imagine a teacher standing in front of a group of 25 young people.  They have finally quieted down and have given the teacher their undivided attention.  The window is small, for after about five minutes, disruptions will start, focus will be lost, and the task to educate and mold minds will increase in difficulty.  The teacher looks into the faces of these children, the eyes, in particular.  The moment of action and of decisive execution of their duty is upon them.  

This instant is made easier through the lesson plan.  Simply put, the importance of the lesson plan is to make sure that instruction is focused in a clear and effective manner.  At the moment of looking in the eyes of 25 children, lesson planning cannot be effectively undertaken.  There is little chance of being able to construct a lesson in an engaging and insightful manner, keeping in mind the lesson's link to state and national learning goals, assessment administration, and consistency with the core values of the teacher.  This cannot be designed in one's mind at the critical moment of action.  Rather, it must be thought out and poured over in a lesson plan.  The lesson plan constructs the lesson, designs it in reference to learning standards, incorporates reference to assessment, and ensures that vibrant instruction has a plan.  

The lesson plan is created with the intent of delivering high quality instruction to students with a design and purpose.  Great teaching is not "done."  It is not "whipped up." Rather, it requires deep reflection and thought.  The lesson plan allows for this to happen. The lesson plan is created to ensure that one has a plan for the critical moment that is upon every day for every teacher when the class quiets for that instant.  It is for these moments that the lesson plan is created and its importance is seen in the teacher that can say with confidence, "Okay, folks, here's what we are going to do today."

mizzwillie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To me as a teacher, I need to know exactly what I want my students to learn and be able to do in a year's time.  My yearly plan contains that information and I give the students the broad picture of what we will be doing for 8th grade for the year.  The plan shows them how much we need to accomplish and an idea of what the year will be like.  The lesson plan is the daily plan I follow to make sure these ideas are taught.  For example, using complex sentences in writing is a skill which needs to be practiced once the students truly  understand what miracles it can do for their writing.  I may do three days in a row of various ways of practicing in groups before allowing them to work on their own piece of writing. For example, groups would write one together.  Another way is to write your own, put it on a paper, walk about the room, and have other students tell you yes or no for correctly written.  I also had words on cardstock, cut apart, so that groups could create together on the floor with me being the final checker.  Without planning, I may not be prepared for using every minute of time in class.  I need to keep a daily roadmap which is the lesson plan for the day for me and the students so that we accomplish the goals set for the year.   

chrisyhsun | Student
As a student, I find lesson plans important not necessarily because they are explicitly communicated to me, but because when a teacher has a lesson plan, there is more direction to the content presented and that makes the lesson itself more understandable. When teachers do not have a lesson plan or don’t know their lesson plans, this can sometimes be rather obvious because they are more likely to be derailed by tangents and less likely to complete whatever topic(s) they aimed to complete. Regardless of how interesting these tangents may be, it can be frustrating for students, especially because many have been conditioned to think in the mindset of only knowing what is on the test. I don’t think this should be the goal of education, but even in delivering extra, compelling information, the teacher should communicate this effectively and concisely so that students do not feel like they are wasting their time. Having a lesson plan greatly helps this cause by giving the teacher a good idea and roadmap of how the lesson will be structured and conducted. It is clear that lesson plans do not only benefit the teachers, but also serve the students of the classroom well.
zumba96 | Student

With lesson plans the class can stay on schedule and people can have an understanding of how much they need to know before the test. This also helps showcase the teacher's progress as well as the student's progress. 

eli468 | Student

Lesson plans are created to keep focus on the subjects needed to be learned and can keep classes on track. It allows a teacher to already know what they will be doing in order to get their students to where they need to be at a certain point during the class year, quarter, or semester. 

Lesson plans are also great to be able to show a teacher's progress and work with what they have been teaching. They are a great framework to be able to educate in a structured and easier way.