Teaching ESL: Creating a Lesson Plan in 4 Steps

Updated on February 27, 2020
jdaviswrites profile image

With my writing, I hope to educate and inspire in order to make a positive impact on others.

Teaching English as a second language requires a great deal of patience, and some careful planning. The purpose of any lesson in education is to teach something new to the learner. For the ESL teacher, it may be a new set of vocabulary, syntax or grammar. Whatever the subject, you as a teacher will need a guide to help with time management, keep the material organized and easy to understand. That is where the lesson plan comes in. But where, and how does a teacher begin to create a lesson plan? This article will give you a 4-step guide to lesson planning for ESL students.

Lesson Planning Guide

  1. 1Introduction, warm-up, revision
  2. Presentation
  3. Practice
  4. Production

1. Introduction, Warm-up, revision

Before putting your students directly to sleep by beginning a long lecture, it is best to complete a warm-up type exercise. If you plan on introducing a new lesson, take this as a good time to set the scene of the lesson. You can set the scene in a few ways: by asking your students to think about a certain topic, brainstorm on the whiteboard, play a game or review material from an older lesson. This will spark their interest right away. More importantly, it will help to get students thinking in the right direction, focus their attention, and prepare them for the lesson ahead. Regardless of the amount of time available for the lesson, this part of your lesson plan should only last for 5-10 minutes.

2. Presentation

The presentation part of the lesson is where the new material is well, you guessed it, presented. You can present the new material in various ways: a written text, a song, a dialogue on tape, etc. In order to help students actually digest the new material rather than just swallow it, this portion of the lesson must be paired with clear explanations of the grammar, along with examples. It is highly recommended to show several clear and concise examples, in context. Before moving on to part 3 of the lesson, make sure students have some understanding of the material they just learned, as well as an understanding of its meaning and proper use.

3. Practice

The practice stage of the lesson is where the student gets involved. The goal of the practice stage is that students use the material you presented in context. This is where the teacher provides activities/exercises for students. The teacher's role in this part of the lesson is to manage students and encourage them to use the new language by working in groups or pairs. The activities or exercises you'll want to prepare for this stage may vary: a short role-play, games, fill-in-the-blanks, guided dialogue, information gaps, and problem-solving activities are all some great ideas. The practice should focus on oral, reading and written skills. Upon termination, the teacher can collect these activities to grade and return or review the answers in class together. This part of the lesson will take up the bulk of class time. It will serve to ensure students have a solid grasp on the material you had just presented. It's best to use a large range of practice activities to keep students intrigued and excited. Below are some helpful websites to add to your arsenal of teaching tools.

4. Production

Finally, the production part of the lesson. This is the fun part. This is the part of the lesson where the teacher should have minimal to no involvement. It gives students the chance to use their newly learned material freely and openly. The production activity can be done in a group, in pairs, or individually depending on what it is. As a group, they can gather to solve a solution to a problem, or they can pair off to act out a role-playing activity. In the end, the student should be able to achieve the goal's lesson: to express an understanding of language by using the new material in context, with minimal, if any, teacher interference.

Use this as a simple guide when planning a lesson for ESL students. Use the links provided as helpful resources. And please, leave a comment below.

© 2010 Jeff Davis


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    • profile image


      16 months ago

      Thank you very much.I'm also a teacher and working on this blog www.eflsheets.com which contains a lot of lesson plans

    • profile image


      17 months ago

      Thank you!

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Thanks it is indeed helpful..

    • profile image

      Emaan khan 

      3 years ago

      Very easy and understandable

    • Mariasha profile image

      Mariam Shams 

      4 years ago from Sheffield

      awesome piece of hub. Well done

    • profile image

      Mona Ahmed 

      6 years ago

      Nice topic I got fruitful information. Thanks a lot

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This is really interesting! Thank you so much for sharing :)

    • englishfreestyle profile image


      8 years ago

      This is a useful hub for new ESL/EFL teachers. Good job!

    • jdaviswrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Davis 

      9 years ago from California

      Middlespecialist - Very true. Thanks for the valuable input and kind words...

    • Middlespecialist profile image


      9 years ago

      I think this is a great hub! Voted up and useful. The only thing I would add is an assessment activity in number 3 where the student gets feedback from the teacher or other students or self-assesses. Assessment really does help with retention.

    • jdaviswrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Davis 

      9 years ago from California

      umesh - I agree....I think. Either way, thanks for the comment.

    • profile image

      umesh jha 

      9 years ago

      for teaching as well that the student can not think the enligh is a burdan for the student

    • jdaviswrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Davis 

      9 years ago from California

      world-traveler - that's my only hope that people will benefit from what I write somehow. Thanks for the insight.

    • World-Traveler profile image


      9 years ago from USA

      Great tips for teachers and the students that come to your site here can benefit as well. Great!

    • jdaviswrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Davis 

      9 years ago from California

      kasgjal - glad I could help. happy you enjoyed. cheers.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thankyou... this year's beginning has really been tough for me, I needed a refresher.

    • jdaviswrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Davis 

      10 years ago from California

      aussieteacher - thanks for the comment. I hope teaching in China is going well...I have considered doing that myself.

    • Aussieteacher profile image


      10 years ago from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

      Good post. I've just completed my third semester teaching English in China. Quite challenging. You have some useful information here.


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