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How To Plan an ESL/EFL Lesson


The main points when writing an ESL/EFL lesson plan are to stay focused and to recycle language through various skills practice to enable students to assimilate target structures and functions.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 15 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Select target structure or function by deciding what students need to focus on considering past lessons and future goals.
  2. Select materials to be used: Do you want to use your course book, outside materials, or do you want to invent something special for this lesson.
  3. Divide the lesson into four areas: warm-up, introduction of materials, class work, summary
  4. For the warm-up section of the lesson choose something that will activate target area. This section can include a simple discussion, reading, a joke, etc.
  5. To introduce material choose an exercise that will focus on the target area. These materials can be inductive (student discover for themselves) or deductive (teacher 'teaches' the new material.
  6. Have students work on the material through using a variety of language recycling techniques. These can be spoken, written, games, etc.
  7. To summarize the lesson use an open form of language recycling such as class discussion to allow students to ask any questions they may have.
  8. Once you have decided on your materials and strategy, write a short outline using bullets. This will help you keep track of where you are going.
  9. Assign homework by choosing materials that will further recycle the target structure or function studied in class.
  10. Keep a copy of your lesson plan. As you continue to teach these old plans will come in handy when having to prepare a lesson at the last moment!


  1. Keep you lesson focused. Don't try to do too much.
  2. Remember that language is first acquired passively and takes at least 5 repetitions before it can become active knowledge.
  3. It is usually best to underestimate student capabilities. If you overestimate and plan too much you might rush your students and hamper their learning experience.
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