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How to Design the Perfect ESL Lesson Plan?

Updated on September 26, 2015

The Perfect Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan
Lesson Plan | Source

Lesson Plans

How long does it take you to design a lesson plan?

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What is a Lesson Plan?

One of the most essential tools for an ESL teacher is the design of a strategy that will allow him to reach his/her teaching objectives. For this purpose, a teacher should implement a plan that can help him/her reach certain teaching goals.

A lesson plan is a set of steps in chronological order that follows a teacher´s methods, strategies and an outcome that aim at fulfilling a teaching program. Not every lesson plan is the same as a teacher must design a lesson plan that is most suitable to his/her own preferences and particular needs of the students.

A helpful lesson plan must activate the students from start to finish. The set of strategies and methodology should provide the students with ample practice, so the teacher can meet the expected results. The teacher´s dynamics combined with the structure of the lesson plan, in overall, determine that a lesson reaches the almost ¨perfect ESL lesson plan.¨

Guideline for Lesson Plan Objectives

  • Objectives associate the contents of the topic lesson with the outcomes expected
  • They should be assessable at the end of the lesson
  • Each objective should be centered around the student

Lesson Planning: Objectives

Normally an ESL class last for no more than one hour, so the objectives should be fulfilled in between that scope of time. There can be classes that last longer but the most common practices are lessons that cover one hour. The number of objectives may vary depending on the topic lesson and the length of the lesson; however, two or three will suffice to keep you at good pace.

The objectives should be aimed at the level of proficiency of your class. In an ESL classroom, not every student possesses the same level of proficiency, as some may be more proficient than other students and this should be taken into account when thinking about the classroom outcomes.

ESL Teaching Materials

ESL Teaching Materials
ESL Teaching Materials | Source

Lesson Planning: Materials Needed

This includes the set of materials the teacher will use throughout the lesson. These set of materials will aid focus the attention of students in the grammar point being taught and may also provide the students with ample practice in the topic imparted.

Activities and materials may include posters, wall charts, video, audio, worksheets, playing cards, memory cards, games and almost any other unimaginable means.

A creative teacher may come out with some interesting activities and materials that are not used only in the teaching environment but on a real life setting; for example, taking the students to a real restaurant to learn vocabulary and restaurant etiquette

Chit-chat and Warm-up

The steps should be arranged from informality and progress to the most formal degrees. The students must be guided into the lesson´s set of activities so that they feel comfortable with the environment being created for them.

A brief conversation (chitchat) at the beginning of the class may allow you to create a good rapport with the students before presenting the topic of your lesson. The conversation should be about any topic that is not related to the lesson. It can be in the English language or in their native language.

As a warm-up activity, you should think of the most suitable one so the students begin to be immersed into the target language at good ease. As a war-up, the students may utilize any of the four skills, ¨reading, writing, listening, and speaking, in the class.

Brief Informal Conversation at the Beginning of the Class

Little Conversation
Little Conversation | Source

Topic Lesson and Grammar Presentation

The topic presentation introduces the theme of the lesson and introduces the grammar point of the day. After the theme presentation, the grammar presentation is shown on the white board.


After the students have been presented with the topic and the grammar, they have acquired sufficient passive knowledge and the next step is the practice of that knowledge so the they can activate most of it. The teacher must provide the settings and the materials needed for this endeavor.

It´s a good practice to arrive to this stage with the amount of time remaining for the lesson on mind, so the teacher may implement sufficient strategies to reach the objectives established at the beginning of the class.


After having had sufficient practice the students are now ready to produce that knowledge through writing, speaking and interaction with other students. The role of the teacher is to monitor that the students interact in the most appropriate way so as fulfill each and everyone ´s expectations.

Have You Learned Your ABC´s?

Learning the ABC´s
Learning the ABC´s | Source


How do you assess your students proficiency?

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Student Evaluation

The assessment it´s intended to verify that the students have met the objectives and acquired ample knowledge of the grammar taught throughout the lesson. The types of evaluations will depend on the number of students in the class.

On a one-on one teaching, you could evaluate your student proficiency by just having a conversation. This will allow you to assess grammar use and understanding of the topic taught during the lesson.

When evaluating more than one student, the checkup may be done on-on-one, depending on the number of students and the time remaining in your class. If evaluating a greater number of students, passing quizzes or exams before the end of the lesson will suffice.


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