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Fellow teachers, there is nothing like a good lesson plan! A good English lesson plan distinguishes between a lackluster class and an engaged, interactive one. The best lesson plans will provide you with ideas and resources and help you structure your lessons in creative, meaningful ways.
This article will primarily discuss a type of English lesson plan for English language learners (ELLs). We will provide some examples of lesson plans and discuss the best sites to find quality ones that you can use for your in-person or online classes.
What are ESL Lesson Plans?
ESL (English) Lesson Plans are the blueprint for an effective language teaching session. A good lesson plan is well-structured and includes a clear set of goals, objectives, materials, activities, and evaluation criteria. It should be tailored to fit the needs of your students and provide the most meaningful and engaging learning experience possible.
English lesson plans can be a great way to organize and plan ahead for teaching your lessons. Planning ahead allows teachers to think more deeply about their students’ needs and create effective learning materials that target their knowledge gaps. With the right resources, teachers can meet the lesson targets and goals and help students learn effectively!
A good lesson plan may include the following elements:
- Goals and Objectives: What do you want your students to learn or be able to do after the lesson?
- Materials and Resources: What materials will you need for the lesson?
- Activities and Instructions: How will you deliver the content?
- Assessment: How will you evaluate the student’s learning?
- Homework: What follow-up tasks and additional resources can be assigned to reinforce what was learned in class?
Lesson Plan Template
I like to use a blank lesson plan template when teaching a new topic. It helps me organize my ideas which I can store and reuse for future classes. Here are some excellent blank templates for planning your next English language lesson available on Canva:
As you can see, each of the lesson plans has the following elements:
- Homework (optional)
These templates are completely free to download and print using Canva! But first, you need to sign up for an account.
- Choose your favorite English lesson template and open it in Canva. It’s free!
- Customize it with different graphics or text if you prefer; for example, you may want to include a “homework” or “class level” section.
- Download and print at home or order the print from Canva!
- Alternatively, you could fill it out digitally and refer to it on your tablet.
Each printable is free for personal use, and you can print it as many times as you like.
How Do You Write a Good English Lesson Plan?
- Identify your goals and objectives.
- Research potential materials and resources.
- Design a lesson plan that meets the needs of your students and fulfills the objectives as outlined in the first step.
- Prepare for class by having all the necessary materials gathered and organized.
- Deliver the lesson using the methods and activities outlined in your plan.
- Monitor student progress throughout the lesson and provide feedback where necessary.
- End the class by evaluating the students’ understanding of the material or task at hand and assigning homework if needed.
- Reflect on what worked, what didn’t, and what could be improved for the next lesson.
Top English Lesson Plan Sites Online (Free and Paid)
There are several great places to find quality English lesson plans online. Teachers can find ready-made lessons from both free and paid websites.
Free Lesson Plans
You can grab some excellent free lesson plans and resources from the following sites:
1. British Council
The British Council has an extensive library of lesson plans, activities, and resources for all levels, from aged 5 to adults. The lesson plans are designed for both online and face-to-face learning so teachers can get straight into teaching without creating everything from scratch. View here.
2. Breaking News English
Breaking News English has over three thousand free lesson plans and activities designed to use current events as a starting point. The idea is to use real-world news stories and turn them into interesting lessons with activities, exercises, and games to reinforce the target language. The news is up-to-date and relevant, which always makes a great talking point.
3. ESL Voices
ESL Voices provides a great library of interesting and quirky lesson plans and resources for teachers available here. The lesson plans are sorted by topic, such as animals, art, business, comedy, pop culture, psychology, science, etc. The lesson plans take up to two hours to complete and are free to use in the classroom.
Elllo is an extensive library of free audio and video lessons. The lessons are designed for different levels, from beginner to advanced. The topics are varied, and the audio and videos are followed with a fill-in-the-gaps exercise, a vocabulary explanation, and a quiz. The website also has a great selection of grammar lessons from beginner to advanced. View here.
5. ESL Video
ESL Video offers a range of free video-based lesson plans for ESL learners. The videos are followed by a list of questions with answers to help reinforce the target language. They also have a few presentation slides teachers can download to use for their lessons.
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6. English Hints
English Hints offers a small range of free lesson plans and worksheets for all levels, from beginner to advanced. Most of the content is free, but you will find some paid items, such as the games. You may find something here if you are looking for some new ideas for a lesson plan.
Paid Lesson Plans
Here are some lessons that contain mostly paid content. You may avail of the discounts or free content before deciding to make a purchase:
7. Abridge Academy
Abridge Academy offers a comprehensive selection of free and paid lesson plans and activities for teachers. Their lesson plans are best suited for kids aged 4-15 years. The lessons are highly interactive, with games, quizzes, and other fun activities. The curriculum is step-by-step to cut out the time lesson planning and is similar to the teaching curricula found on sites such as VIPKid and PalFish.
Read about how the cofounder of Abridge Academy built her online teaching business.
Classin is a learning platform where independent teachers can interact with students. Classin is like Zoom but is built for online lessons with features such as lesson recordings, interactive tools, file storage, scheduling functionality and email reminders. Classin also has some lesson plans you can use for beginner levels free of charge with the platform. If you are interested in becoming a freelance teacher, I highly recommend using Classin for your lessons. Get your 20% discount here.
9. Film English
Film English is the perfect place to find paid lesson plans and activities related to film and television. Incorporating movie clips into your lessons or scripts from popular TV shows can be refreshing and enjoyable for students. It’s an interesting way to engage students with the language and practice their listening skills. Individual membership starts at ninety euros per year, or you can buy each lesson plan individually for a small price. View here.
Off2Class is a free and paid resource for teachers that provides comprehensive lesson slides for all levels, from elementary to advanced. The lesson plans provide comprehensive coverage of core language skills and are tailored to meet your students’ educational needs, with specialist topics such as Business English and test preparation. They also offer a range of additional resources, such as homework and placement tests, to track student progress.
Sample TEFL Lesson Plan: How Should I Structure a Lesson?
English language lessons consist of many of the following components (in any order):
- Freer, authentic use: learners talk about their own experiences and lives, personalizing it
- Correction of mistakes
- Monitor language used to find out what they know
- Clarify the meaning, form, and pronunciation (MFP) of words
- Rehearsal of the new words, phrases or language structure
- Activate Schemata: make sure the student knows what you are talking about
- Controlled practice to help the students understand how to use the learned structure
- Listening/reading of the text
- Context for the language: see how the language looks in a situation or context, not mere sentences in isolation
How Do I Teach a Lesson?
There are many ways to teach a lesson. You probably touched upon these methods of teaching in your TEFL certification course, which helps you learn how to devise a lesson plan using various frameworks. I prefer to structure my lesson plans around the Presentation, Practice, and Production (PPP) and Teach Test Talk (TTT) methods, although there are many other approaches to choose from.
Presentation, Practice and Production
PPP stands for Presentation, Practice, and Production. It is one of the most commonly used methods for teaching English language learners.
The PPP method has three stages:
Presentation (shortest stage): During this stage, you introduce and explain the new language to the students in a clear and concise manner. This can be done through explanations, demonstrations, visuals, or audio-visuals.
Practice: The students are then given the opportunity to practice and apply the new language. This can be done through controlled activities such as drills, gap-fills, etc.
Production (longest stage): Students are allowed to use the language freely at the production stage. This could involve discussions, debates, creative writing tasks, problem-solving activities, and more. This is by far the most difficult part, as students have to apply what they have learned. Therefore you should spend the most time at this stage.
Test Teach Test (TTT)
Test Teach Test (TTT) is a great way of teaching language. This method is best used when you are introducing something that the learners already have some knowledge of, such as grammar and vocabulary. I also apply this if I am not familiar with the student’s abilities and I want to check what they already know.
The steps involved in the TTT approach are:
Test: At the start of the lesson, give your students a test to ascertain their current level of understanding of the grammar or vocabulary being taught. This could be as simple as asking them a question to weave out what they know.
Teach: Once you have assessed their current level of knowledge, you can decide what they need to learn and teach them accordingly. This is similar to the presentation stage of PPP, except you are more aware of their knowledge gaps. Give them a controlled task to complete according to their ability.
Test: At the end of the lesson, give your students a less-controlled test to check how much they have learned. This will also allow you to track their progress. You may choose to use the initial test from the first stage, as students should be able to get the answer correct this time.
Task-Based Learning (TBL)
Task-Based Learning (TBL) is another popular approach to learning and differs slightly to PPP and TTT.
The three stages involved in TBL are:
Pre-Task: The teacher introduces the task to the learners. At this stage, you explain and introduce the task. Clarify instructions and expectations, and provide advice and examples from other students who completed the task in the past. The task could be in the form of a written story, presentation, discussion, etc.
Task Cycle: The students work together to complete the task. The teacher monitors the discussions and gives hints without getting too involved. The students present their work to a small group.
Post-Task: At the end, you can wrap up the lesson by allowing the students to reflect on what they have done.
The teacher may have native or more fluent English speakers complete the task so the students can learn from them (optional). The students may also provide each other feedback through commentary, a review checklist or discussion.
During this stage, the teacher assesses the task and reviews any language points that were made. The teacher provides any necessary input and corrects the common errors heard from monitoring.
Overall, PPP, TTT, and TBL are all great approaches for teaching English language learners. Each method has its own advantages and can be incorporated for effective lesson planning.
More ESL Lesson Material, Worksheets and Activities
For more ideas, be sure to check out the following:
- ESL Worksheets for Kids
- Advanced Lesson Plans for Adults
- Best Websites for ESL Teachers
- Best Business English Lesson Plans
- Fun and Quick Online ESL Games
Finding English lesson plans and resources can be a daunting task, but with the help of these great sites, teachers have access to an abundance of material to use in their classes. Whether you’re looking for free or paid lesson plans and activities, there’s an array of sites to choose from to help make your lessons more exciting and engaging for your students.
You can also create your own lesson plans using the lesson plan template to guide you. With these resources, English teachers can easily find the materials they need to create effective and enjoyable lessons for their students.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have any other questions, be sure to let me know in the comments section below!
Where Can I Find English Lesson Plans?
A variety of websites offer example lesson plans or templates. Some of the best sites to find sample ESL lesson plans include the British Council, Breaking English, and Elllo.
What Two Elements Are Most Important in a Lesson Plan?
In my opinion. the two most important elements of a lesson plan are the objectives and the tasks you will do to achieve the objectives. Objectives provide the purpose for the lesson, and the tasks or activities help students engage in the material and accomplish the goals set out in the objectives.
How Long Should a Lesson Plan Be?
The length of a lesson plan depends on the amount of material you are teaching and the complexity of the activities. Generally speaking, a lesson plan can range from one to two hours and span approximately one to two pages.
Is It Hard To Make a Lesson Plan?
Creating a lesson plan does take some time and effort, but it is not difficult if you follow the steps set out by your TEFL certification course. With the right resources and guidance, anyone can create an effective lesson plan tailored to their students’ needs. Furthermore, plenty of websites offer sample lesson plans or templates that can help get you started.
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Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.