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Teaching ESL: Creating a Lesson Plan in Four Steps

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Four steps to creating an ESL lesson plan

Four steps to creating an ESL lesson plan

Teaching English as a second language requires a great deal of patience and 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 and 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 four-step guide to lesson planning for ESL students.

ESL Lesson Planning Guide

  1. Introduction, 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 of 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.


Resources and Further Reading

  • Dave\'s ESL Cafe\'s Web Guide!: Lesson Plans
    A resource for teachers interested in creating original ESL/EFL lessons based on authentic web sites. .
  • ESL Activities
    ESL is your resource for classroom activities and games. Click on a link from the menu at the left to use any of our great teacher tools or ...
  • Activities for ESL/EFL Students (English Study)
    Free Online English Learning: Study English with Quizzes, Tests, Crossword Puzzles, Exercises and other activities for students of English as a second language.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Jeff Davis


Eflsheets on March 15, 2019:

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

Maria on January 29, 2019:

Thank you!

Asma on September 14, 2017:

Thanks it is indeed helpful..

Emaan khan on February 16, 2017:

Very easy and understandable

Mariam Shams from Sheffield on August 02, 2015:

awesome piece of hub. Well done

Mona Ahmed on October 04, 2013:

Nice topic I got fruitful information. Thanks a lot

Nono on March 04, 2012:

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

englishfreestyle on February 26, 2012:

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

Jeff Davis (author) from California on April 05, 2011:

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

Middlespecialist on March 27, 2011:

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.

Jeff Davis (author) from California on January 05, 2011:

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

umesh jha on January 04, 2011:

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

Jeff Davis (author) from California on October 07, 2010:

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

World-Traveler from USA on October 05, 2010:

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

Jeff Davis (author) from California on September 01, 2010:

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

kasgjal on September 01, 2010:

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

Jeff Davis (author) from California on June 26, 2010:

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

Di from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. on June 26, 2010:

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