Lesson planning is an essential part of teaching anything. However, it can be the single most tedious and time-consuming task.
Most of these plans also include what you as a teacher must say during class and the responses you can expect from your students.
Even though it can be crucial, the more comfortable you get in your classroom, the less you need to follow a structured plan.
There are many efficient ways to structure your ESL lesson plans based on the TEFL certification course.
Therefore, here we will discuss a lesson plan that focuses on student-centric activities for listening and speaking.
Before you start making your ESL lesson plan, here is a list of questions that will help you outline it:
- Will you be reviewing whatever the school is teaching your students? Or will you work on forming new learning goals? If the targeted language is unique for your students, then ensure that it is fitting to your students' level
- Which aspect will you focus on: listening, reading, speaking, or writing? Or will you focus on a combination of two or everything? You might also have to look into your school's preference
- Will you be teaching alone, or will you have help? In some instances, you may need a translator to help you teach students without basic knowledge of English
Effective ESL Lessons Planning
Once you have found answers to the above questions, it is time to plan your ESL lessons efficiently. Here are some tips for you to prepare those ESL lessons to make the most out of them:
Defined Lesson Objectives
Before starting any lesson planning, ask yourself, "What aspect of the language am I focusing on?"
Your lesson plan must start with defined objectives so that your classes have a clear direction and purpose.
One efficient way is to use 'will be able to.' This statement helps you articulate your lesson goals. Here is an example:
'When this lesson ends, students will be able to note down critical points via listening to signpost language.'
Hence, when you do this, you prioritize objectives aimed towards achievement, and you also make sure that all your lessons are student-centered.
In simpler terms, you create a lesson that ends with your students gaining more skills and knowledge than the start.
Therefore, when the lessons end, students should feel like they are taking home valuable information.
Usually, lesson plans are structured according to deadlines. Therefore, timing is crucial, but do not fret too much if you stray from the pre-decided timeline.
Most of the time, teaching activities run longer or shorter than anticipated. Just go with the flow since you will be dealing with various cultural concepts of time and language barriers.
However, the amount of time you spend teaching will dictate the amount you earn.
Another essential aspect of lesson plans is having a list of required materials. Therefore, you should ensure that you have prepared the items required.
Hence, try to check the classroom before each lesson to make sure that everything is in proper working condition and available.
As a qualified teacher, ensure that your students must be motivated and interested in the activities you provide. Consequently, it would help if you tried to make it more enjoyable and relatable.
However, their enjoyment isn't all that matters. You should be able to enjoy teaching the plan because your enthusiasm will dictate how they learn.
Knowing your students and their interests can lead to you designing the right lesson plan for them.
Of course, no two classes or two students are similar, so understand that your plan may not work with another class, even if it has proven successful with one group.
Will your lesson topics be the same for a group of adults and a group of teenagers? Catering to your students' interests will help foster higher interest and engagement – essential requirements for successful language learning.
Students are expected to work alone when asked to comprehend or read. In contrast, pairing provides optimum speaking time if you consider your students as individuals.
Moreover, it can be easier for introverts who do not like to be in the spotlight. Group work will foster social learning, and it will also increase your students' ability to carry out complex tasks, such as role-playing with 5 to 6 characters in a dialogue.
Furthermore, group work will also bring different perspectives to the discussion table. This can teach students how to express their agreements and disagreements.
Irrespective of interaction patterns, all these situations are essential to learning a language in a classroom.
Therefore, your lesson plans must always accommodate for diverse and healthy student interaction.
Basic Structure Of ESL Lesson Plan
To plan your ESL lessons, you must also understand the basic structure of any ESL lesson plan. Typically, it includes these five sections:
It typically begins your lesson with energy and gets your students excited to start the lesson.
Typically, recaps include reviewing the previously learned material or including what will be covered in the day's lesson. Therefore, your warmers have to be concise and motivational.
Some suggestions for a warmer activity in the classroom include 'passing the ball'; it is an effective way to begin any English lesson regardless of age group.
This portion of any ESL lesson typically introduces your topic, vocabulary, grammar points, and the key expressions you will teach.
The presentation segment of a lesson plan is where you, as a teacher, will assume the lead role and have your students listen and repeat a phrase.
You can use a sound bite, quick video, or any visual work to involve your students in the presentation. Asking your students questions to engage them in new material also works.
Here, students will start practicing the target language. This portion of your lesson plan is a guided section, one in which you as a teacher will provide examples and monitor your students' responses.
One way you can practice is by pairing English expressions in Q&A form, generally known as 'couplets.'
Here is how you can incorporate couplets practice in your classroom:
- Form two visual aids with available materials like a marker, two straws, two large papers, and tape
- Write 'S' for a student on one paper and 'T' for a teacher on the other
- Remember that 'T' also refers to 'question'
- Similarly, 'S' also refers to 'answer'
Practice every Q&A in this order:
- TT – The teacher will ask the question first and answer it, so students understand the example of proper intonation and pronunciation
- TS – The teacher will ask a similar question with the visual aid 'T' and passes 'S' to students to answer in pairs, small groups, or individually
- ST – Students ask a question while passing 'S' around the room, and the teacher answers with the 'T' in hand
- SS – Students in small groups, pairs, or individually take turns answering and asking questions while passing around both 'T' and 'S' visual aids
You should ask and answer each expression pair at least two to three times, in a similar order, so all your students get a chance to practice, and they hear the key expressions multiple times.
Using these visual examples will allow your students to show who is answering and who is asking. Moreover, you can also write 'Q' for the question and 'A' for the answer instead of 'T' and 'S.'
This is possibly the most crucial part of any ESL lesson. It helps students produce the language they have practiced. In this part, at least one or two student-centered activities must be performed.
The role of the teacher in this segment is only to monitor their students and jump in when they need assistance.
Setting out sufficient reviewing time is integral to the entire activity because it surmises everything that has happened in the lesson.
One of the things to look out for includes any repeated mistakes your students were making with lesson material. If there is, address it now so they can understand.
You must form an established method of reviewing work. It should be a process that your students will become used to, will expect, and enjoy.
You can award your students for behavior or participation during a lesson review, or you can ask questions or a quiz to get maximum feedback.
Planning ESL Lessons
Your school might set the type of assessment you use in your ESL lesson plan. However, it is worthwhile to understand whether your students are learning.
Make your classroom a friendly and welcoming place, where your students feel free to make mistakes, participate, have fun, and help each other.
Remember, stress is a great learning de-motivator, whereas motivation and interest make learning easier. This is very important to understand for those becoming an ESL tutor.
Similarly, games and various interactive activities serve as a break and offer an essential purpose in effective ESL learning.
But if you are still not sure how to make an effective ESL lesson plan, then head on to Superprof.
With hundreds of ESL tutors near you, learn from the best to ensure that you have all the skills required to teach in an ESL classroom setting.
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