14 Lesson plan tips for English Language Teaching


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Lesson Plan Tips

The following lesson plan tips are intended to help teachers design lessons that meet their learners’ needs and be aligned with the target standards. It is needless to say that it is of paramount importance to prepare lesson plans that include clear objectives, engage learners through the activation of their prior knowledge, raise their awareness about the target language through contextualized situations and help them personalize it through expansion activities.

Quick lesson plan tips

lesson plan tips

A teacher preparing a lesson plan

While preparing your lesson plan, it is wise to follow these tips to cater for learners’ needs:

  1. Identify clear objectives that are relevant to the target standards. It is important that these objectives should be stated at the beginning of the lesson plan. For example, the objective of a lesson about the present continuous would go like this: “by the end of the lesson, learners will be able to form and use the present continuous to describe actions happening at the time of speaking“. Notice that this objective is specific and measurable.
  2. Create learning activities based on the identified objectives.
  3. Start with activities that get the students into the mood to learn. These activities should be in the form of warm-ups and shouldn’t last more than 2 to 5 minutes. Warm up activities don’t have to be related to the objectives of the lesson. Examples of warm-up activities include tongue twisters, riddles, command drills, etc.
  4. Activate prior knowledge through lead-in activities. These activities focus on what learners already know. The teacher should build on this prior knowledge to go a bit above their current level of proficiency.
  5. Contextualize language. Present the target language structures through clear situations, preferably through a text (spoken or written.) We never learn structures in isolation of the context where they are used.
  6. The presentation should be efficient in terms of economy and ease. It should also be appropriate to SS needs.
  7. Avoid long explanations and prepare instead discovery activities which help raise students awareness about the target structures.
  8. Guide students through well-formulated questions.
  9. Increase wait time. After you ask questions, give students the opportunity to think before they answer. Being in a hurry to get a quick answer will not be of any help to your students. Instead, increasing wait time after asking a question will create a heightened level of involvement.
  10. Promote cooperative learning. It is very helpful to design lesson plans that involve varied modes of work such as pair work, group work or teamwork.
  11. In the skill-getting phase of the lesson, introduce various activities. The lesson plan should include:
    – accuracy and fluency activities;
    – spoken as well as written productions;
    – receptive as well as productive learning;
    – visual as well as kinesthetic learning styles;
    – …
  12. Start from easy to more challenging activities.
  13. In the skill using phase of the lesson, give an opportunity for language use in meaningful situations.
  14. In the expansion phase, help SS transfer newly acquired language. For example, the lesson plan should normally include activities that help students use the target structures to talk about personal situations.
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