Working with ESL (English as a Second Language) is something I've never done before. This set of skills is in high demand as parents seek help for their children or themselves to master the English language. Joy Fonerderson shares with us. Enjoy! Adrianne
Lesson planning is an integral part of ESL teaching. It provides you and your students with the structure, the continuity and the confidence in the service you provide as a professional. Though there are as many variations as there are teachers and students, what you will find here are best practices you can use and adapt to help you achieve your goals as a tutor.
Choose a System
Whether it’s PPP (Present, Practice, Production ) or ESA (Engage, Practice, Activate) or something else… pick a system that speaks to your teaching style & philosophy. This will allow you to go with the grain of what works for you and by doing so, will cut time-wasting to a minimum. Whichever system you adopt you’ll want to include these phases:
- Topic Introduction
- Controlled practice
- Freeform practice
Side-note: These can be moved around but they should ideally all be included within each session.
Use Tech to Your Advantage
Some sections of the plan are recurring ( titles / Student info etc.) make the most of the power of tech for these by using a template that works for you. I plan my lessons on EverNote – I can access it online, on my tablet and on my phone in case technology let’s me down. Sections I include are:
- Ss name + age
- Name of book or materials + Level
- Topic of the session in question (book chapter or Ss requested review)
- Each stage (approximate time) detail of what I aim to cover
Make Notes to Yourself
Leave a feedback section in your plans – try to fill it in as soon as you can after your session – have it include what worked / didn't and why. If your student makes a comment or you notice something in behaviour or misunderstanding jot it down. Do not trust your insights to memory, these will be lost before you know it and they are a valuable marker of your progress as an educator and to assess what actually works with your students individually.
Recycle Some, Adapt More
If your focus is on a grade, book or exam, think of naming your plans and collating them in a file or notebook in Evernote so you can recycle them in future. This does not mean using the same 10 plans for the rest of your career but it gives you a leg up to re-purpose and improve some of them thanks to your notes.
Don’t Plan at the Last Minute
Even if you’re following a book, don’t chain your sessions to it – use the planing process to adapt the material to suit your students’ needs by switching the order of activities. At first, lesson planning take ages – it’s normal and there’s no getting around it. getting in the swing of this can seem overwhelming but I cannot encourage you enough to stick with it. Over time, the process gets shorter and the improvements brought on by this powerful habit keep on compounding. Do yourself and your students a favour, give yourself time to put together lessons that match your student’s learning style and interests as much as possible to keep them interested and engaged. It will make the experience better for all involved.
Always Have a Back Up
Sometimes, even with a plan, lessons just won’t work – it happens to the best of us… while making a note of this will help you in the long run, in case this happens mid-session, having a couple of extra activities prepared will prove to be a life-saver and will keep you calm and confident instead of stuck or scrambling to find something to fill in the time.
Recommended ESL Resources
Click on the orange links below to view these resources.
TEFL Online (training)
Bio: Joy has been teaching EFL (English as a Foreign Language) since 2013. Her job is to help students improve their communication skills and she absolutely loves it. In her spare time Joy likes pretending to study, eating and watching Netflix.