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Lesson Planning Tips for New ESL Teachers

Lesson planning should follow ‘the rhythm of your class’ and your students’ needs.

Finding this “flow” will require getting to know your students and the curriculum requirements of the school you teach at.

You could get students who benefit greatly from structure or you could get students who need less structure.

It is up to the teacher to read the students and to get to know them over time.

Here are 3 tips to help you plan lessons that meet your students’ needs.

About the Author: Clare is a new teacher in Toronto and she recently completed the TESOL Certificate with Practicum.

 1. Integrate a Variety of Skills into the Lesson

If you are teaching a full day of 4-8 hours, engage students in many different skills throughout the class.

Make sure you’re not engaging them in one or two skills where they are working silently but rather engage them in a variety of skills that have them moving around the room, speaking in groups or pairs, listening, reading, and/or writing.

Read: Create a Learner-Focused Lesson Plan

2. Be Prepared to be Spontaneous!

Although I spend a good amount of time planning, the reality is that what you plan may not resonate with your students or may not work out the way you had hoped.

I always note a few extra activities at the bottom of my lesson plan just in case I run out of time or feel the students need to engage in something different that day.

I often find that they are tired and groggy on Mondays and their attention wanes on Fridays.

For those days, I often plan very active team-oriented activities like taboo, pictionary or Stop to get them learning the language in a stimulating way.

3. How to Begin

Since it’s likely you will be teaching a series of lessons, your lesson will be cumulative.

I always begin every class with a review of the homework.

Then, depending on whether there was an activity that needed completing from the previous day, I have them complete that.

Depending on the skill that the activity focused on, I move into a different skill that engages them in a different way.

For example, in a pre-advanced class I finished off the class with a running dictation where students worked in a team composed of three different roles; reader, listener/runner, and writer.

Since running dictation is such an interactive activity, I followed it up with an activity that has the students working silently at their desks on a writing activity or quiet reading activity.

Related Articles on Lesson Planning:

Planning for a Grammar Class Using PPP Format

Planning for Receptive Skills

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