Planning your session

If a class is going to be useful to students, you'll need to plan it beforehand.What should you be concerned about achieving at the end of your session? Should you make sure you “cover” a large amount of curriculum content? Or should you ensure your students grasp key concepts, or apply knowledge and skills? These are very important questions to discuss with your subject coordinator.

Your class is one component in the subject and course in which students are enrolled. You may find that content is “covered” in lectures, and that your tutorial is intended to help students gain deeper understanding of concepts “covered” in those lectures.

Once you and your subject coordinator have discussed the overall purpose(s) of the session, you can use the intended learnong outcomes and subject information to design your sessions to best encourage learning in the subject.

Below is a planning checklist of some typical things to consider before you design a class session.

Planning checklist

  1. What are your intended learning outcomes?
  2. How are classes linked to assessment?
  3. Is any assessment carried out in the classes?
  4. What are the assessment criteria for these?
  5. How are the classes connected with lectures?
  6. Who are your students?
  7. Where do they come from?
  8. What challenges might they have?

Having given some thought to these questions, you can structure the learning that your students will do.

  1. How much of your session will be focussed on content,
    and how much on process?*
  2. Where will you begin?
  3. What happens in the middle?
  4. How will you close the lesson?

*Process includes discussion, reflection, group work, presentation.
Content includes disciplinary activities, problem-solving, analysis, evaluating evidence, theorising, clarifying and understanding (Exley and Dennick, 2004).

Your subject coordinator may already have planned the classes in the subject. If not, it's a very good idea to plan your sessions beforehand. The simple session planning document provided here can help you make your classes active and useful learning experiences, and can also help you identify what does and doesn't work in the teaching strategies you're using. Feel free to adapt and modify it to your own purposes.

Session Planner [DOC 14.6KB]

Like to learn more?

La Trobe Learning and Teaching (LTLT) provides advice and support to all academic staff seeking to develop their teaching practice. To find out more about LTLT induction activities for sessional staff, click here.

Log onto the La Trobe LMS (with your staff name and password) and search for ‘Learning Futures Programs and Services’ (LTLT-LF-PS) for access to a comprehensive suite of programs and resources to support your teaching.