Adjusting lesson plans in real time

Making quick mental calculations can at times be an awkward maneuver, but it’s far better to readjust in response to the natural pulse of a class than to forge ahead, blind to the individual needs in the room. Christina “V” Villarreal is carefully attuned to these immediate needs and exercises plasticity with her lesson plans to accommodate them. In this video, she uses the guiding questions outlined in her syllabus to prioritize class time and focus spontaneous discussion.


Christina “V” Villarreal, Lecturer on Education

Student Group



Harvard Graduate School of Education


Ethnic Studies and Education

Course Details

23 students

  • Craft lesson plans but be flexible with them
  • Develop clear and visible guiding questions for each class and use these as road maps to keep even the most organic conversations grounded and relevant
  • Use your syllabus to maximize class time and temper the natural rhythm of the class
  • One study demonstrates that designing challenging essential questions correlates with student self-reports of academic growth (Shim & Walczak, 2012)
  • McTighe & Wiggins argue that clear, focused guiding questions generate more focused, reflective discussions (2013)