Planning the curriculum of a new ESL/EFL class can be a challenge. This task can be simplified by following these basic principles.
Time Required: A few days
- Evaluate students' learning levels - are they similar or mixed?
- Evaluate nationality makeup of class - are they all from the same country or a multi-national group?
- Establish primary goals
- Investigate the various student learning styles - what type of learning do they feel comfortable with?
- Find out how important is a specific type of English (i.e. British or American, etc.) to the class
- Ask students what they perceive as being most important about this learning experience.
- Establish the extra-curricular goals of the class (i.e. do they want English only for travel?).
- Take time to investigate what teaching materials are available to meet these goals. Do they meet your needs? Are you limited in your choice? What kind of access do you have to 'authentic' materials?
- Be realistic and then cut your goals back by about 30% - you can always expand as the class continues.
- Establish a number of intermediate goals.
- Let students' know how they are progressing so there are no surprises!
- Having a map of where you want to go can really help with a number of issues such as motivation, lesson planning and overall class satisfaction.
- Time spent thinking about these issues is an excellent investment that will pay itself back many times over not only in terms of satisfaction, but also in terms of saving time.
- Remember that each class is different - even if they do seem alike.