A lesson is a structured period of time where learning is intended to occur. It involves one or more students (also called pupils or learners in some circumstances) being taught by a teacher or instructor. A lesson may be either one section of a textbook (which, apart from the printed page, can also include multimedia) or, more frequently, a short period of time during which learners are taught about a particular subject or taught how to perform a particular activity. Lessons are generally taught in a classroom but may instead take place in a situated learning environment.

In a wider sense, a lesson is an insight gained by a learner into previously unfamiliar subject-matter. Such a lesson can be either planned or accidental, enjoyable or painful. The colloquial phrase "to teach someone a lesson", means to punish or scold a person for a mistake they have made in order to ensure that they do not make the same mistake again.

Lessons can also be made entertaining. When the term "education" is combined with "entertainment", the term "edutainment" is coined.

Types of lesson

There are many different formats and structures of lessons:
*One teacher/instructor with many students
*Private tuition (one-on-one teaching)
*No teacher presence, perhaps a formal learning time with use of textbooks or multimedia

Pre-recorded tapes have been a popular method of learning, particularly for foreign languages and modern techniques such as video conferencing have allowed teaching to be undertaken without the students or teachers being in the same room.

Lesson plan

Teachers and instructors usually have a lesson plan which dictates the structure of the teaching. A group of lessons may be linked together in a unit plan, scheme, or work. The detail of the plan may vary with some being a simple list of what is going to be taught in a lesson with others working including much more detail, such as a time plan and the learning aims and objectives. Student teachers and beginning teachers are usually advised to put a great amount of detail into the written plan. This ensures that the plan will be cohesive, that all the components of a successful lesson are taken care of, and that one has a checklist to ensure that practicalities are taken care of (e.g, resources, scheduling, and classroom management considerations). Furthermore, beginning teachers are often advised to script some sections for themselves, such as questions they might ask the students in order to get a discussion going at the beginning of the lesson. The expectation is that the teachers can and should depart from the script when appropriate; improvisation is definitely encouraged and the fact of having written it out in advance ensures that an adequate amount of thought has been put into it ahead of time. Another reason for including a great amount of detail is that student teachers are often required to submit lesson plans in advance to their mentor teachers or professors in order to receive feedback on their ideas. When creating the lesson plan it is usual to look at the following:
*The aims (the broader goals of the lesson, what it is reaching towards)
*The objectives (the specific, measurable outcomes of the lesson - the particular skills or knowledge students should have acquired by its conclusion)
*The number of attendees and the student-teacher ratio
*The previous knowledge of the learners (which may or may not be the same for all) and how this will be activated at the start of the lesson
*The motivation of the learners (school students, for example, have no choice but to attend so the teacher must build some kind of motivation into the lesson)
*The time required for each section of teaching and learning
*The resources required and available
*Catering for the different needs (cultural differences, learning styles, special needs) of the individuals
*How the lesson is to be evaluated.


The word "lesson" comes from Latin "lectio" "the action of reading (out)". From there, the word was also used for the text itself, very often a passage from the Bible read out during a religious service ("first lesson", "second lesson"). Finally, any portion of a book to be studied was referred to as a "lesson".

ee also

*Frontal instruction
*Learning by teaching (LdL)
*Music lesson
*Cognitive Acceleration

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Lesson — Les son (l[e^]s s n), n. [OE. lessoun, F. le[,c]on lesson, reading, fr. L. lectio a reading, fr. legere to read, collect. See {Legend}, and cf. {Lection}.] 1. Anything read or recited to a teacher by a pupil or learner; something, as a portion of …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • lesson — [les′ən] n. [ME lessoun < OFr leçon < L lectio, a reading, hence text, lesson < pp. of legere, to read: see LOGIC] 1. something to be learned; specif., a) an exercise or assignment that a student is to prepare or learn within a given… …   English World dictionary

  • Lesson — Les son, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Lessoned} ( s nd); p. pr. & vb. n. {Lessoning}.] To teach; to instruct. Shak. [1913 Webster] To rest the weary, and to soothe the sad, Doth lesson happier men, and shame at least the bad. Byron. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Lesson XX — Género Drama, Romance, Yaoi, Shōjo Estudio Daiei Co. Ltd Lanzamiento 1995 …   Wikipedia Español

  • lesson — [n1] information taught assignment, chalk talk*, class, coaching, drill, education, exercise, homework, instruction, lecture, period, practice, quiz, reading, recitation, schooling, study, task, teaching, test, tutoring; concepts 274,285,287… …   New thesaurus

  • Lesson — (spr. óng), René Primevère, Naturforscher, geb. 20. März 1794 in Rochefort, gest. daselbst 28. April 1849, begleitete 1822–25 den Kapitän Duperrey auf seiner Weltreise auf der Korvette La Coquille und wurde dann Professor der Botanik in Rochefort …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • lesson — index caveat, correction (punishment), guidance Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • lesson — ● lesson Mot anglais signifiant leçon et désignant en Angleterre, aux XVIIe et XVIIIe s., une suite ou sonate pour un ou plusieurs instruments. (J. Dowland, T. Morley, H. Purcell et G. F. Händel sont les principaux auteurs de lessons.) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • lesson — (n.) early 13c., a reading aloud from the Bible, also something to be learned by a student, from O.Fr. leçon, from L. lectionem (nom. lectio) a reading, noun of action from pp. stem of legere to read (see LECTURE (Cf. lecture) (n.)). Transferred… …   Etymology dictionary

  • lesson — (izg. lèsn) m DEFINICIJA 1. glazb. pov. instrumentalno djelo, posebno kompozicije za orgulje (u Engleskoj u 17. i 18. st.) 2. čitanje odlomaka iz svetih knjiga za vrijeme službe u crkvi ETIMOLOGIJA engl …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • lesson — ► NOUN 1) a period of learning or teaching. 2) a thing learned. 3) a thing that serves as a warning or encouragement. 4) a passage from the Bible read aloud during a church service. ORIGIN Old French leçon, from Latin legere read …   English terms dictionary

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