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Sunday, February 5, 2017

Lesson Planning

It’s time to lesson plan. This doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. With the right attitude and resources available to you, creating a lesson can be fun and a chance to be creative!

Remember: Always plan before class. Keep the lesson simple yet effective making sure you’re covering the material.

Depending on the textbook (s) you’re using, most times it will provide an outline of a lesson for each unit and/or topic. With most textbooks, there’s a teacher edition which gives lesson plans and activities you can use in your class. However, if there is no textbook, the way you plan will be solely up to you. Here are some tips to help you through this process.

Always have a warm-up activity. This activity can be a get-to-know exercise between students, a dialogue practice, or a game. The purpose of the warm-up activity is to get students talking.

Preview Similar to a warm-up activity, you may introduce a new topic with an in-class activity or a simple question and answer exercise. For example, the topic is jobs. You ask your students, “Who wants to find a job?” Depending on how they respond to you, you can do a follow-up question like, “What kind of job are you looking for?”

TIP: Write your questions on the board (do so one at a time) and write students’ responses. Sometimes based on students’ responses, it can create a conversation between classmates or encourage the shy students to participate.

TIP 2: Draw a bubble map by writing the topic in the center bubble and students’ ideas in the surrounding bubbles.

Courtesy of

The lesson If you are using a textbook, there may be a vocabulary list of words that the unit will cover, or an activity. Go over this with your students. However, if there is no textbook available, you can choose what activity you want to do. I usually like to introduce a few vocabulary words by writing them on the board, have the students repeat them after me, and use them in a sentence.

Afterwards, I may create a dialogue practice where students can use these new words. The dialogue will focus on the topic. Here’s an example.

Topic: Jobs

New vocabulary word: retail

A. Hi Mary, I want to find a job.
B. Really? What kind of job are you looking for?
A. I’m looking for a retail job.
B. Okay.

This is a very basic dialogue and you can add to it as students are practicing and learning new vocabulary.

Pairing/group work You want to encourage your students to work together. Peer learning is effective, because it allows students to help each other. Some students may feel more comfortable asking their classmate a question than asking the teacher. This is also helpful when you have multi-level classes where some students are more advanced than others. You can pair the advanced student with a lower level students to assist in classroom activities.

Repetition Repeating is important to help reinforce student learning. For lower level classes, you will be repeating a lot to help students in learning the alphabet, sounding out words, and basic sentence structures. For advanced classes, you may not have to repeat as much, but it’s still necessary. For grammar, repetition and review is crucial since there are many rules to grammar.

Review Always review with your students. You can do this at the end of class or at the beginning of the next class. Reviewing grammar points, vocabulary, and concepts is important in helping students remember. Another way to review is by assigning homework or warm-up exercises from the previous lesson.

Time Timing is everything! You only have a set amount of time to complete your lesson. However, this may not always be possible. Each student has their own learning pace. Depending on the lesson, you may not be able to cover everything. This is okay. You can continue where you left off in the next class, but don’t forget to REVIEW what students learned. You want to keep a steady pace with lessons.

Student feedback Student feedback is important and necessary for the ESL teacher. You want to make sure you’re not only completing lessons, but allowing students to share how they feel about the lesson, the learning process, and even your teaching style.
Whether the feedback is positive (yay J) or negative (uh-oh L) this helps you to make adjustments. It also encourages students to feel comfortable sharing their feelings to you as their teacher. If students aren’t happy, they won’t do well and may even drop out of the class. You want to encourage them to try their best, let them know you are there to help them, and how they’re feeling is normal.

Remember, it’s about student learning. You are their guide in the learning process. 
Happy planning!

For ways to implement your lesson, check out my latest video from my ESL series on my YouTube channel 

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