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Lesson Planning

  • 1.  Lesson Planning

    Posted 24-05-2019 14:40
    Hello Everyone!

    I am reaching out to the TESOL community because I was recently hired as an adult ESL teacher in NY. My first class is on Tuesday. I have been teaching adult ESL for about a year now but I am used to planning lessons for 2-3 hours. This class is 4 hours each day. Any suggestions on how to spread things out?


    Lauren Wilson
    TEFL Instructor
    United States

  • 2.  RE: Lesson Planning

    Posted 25-05-2019 03:38
    Hi Lauren,

    Off the top of my head, I'd say do two of your two-hour lessons with a break in between. Maybe link to things together and give lessons on them back-to-back?


    Mr. Robin Dahling
    Lecturer, English Language Teaching Unit
    The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)
    Sha Tin, New Territories
    Hong Kong
    Phone: (852) 3943 5941

  • 3.  RE: Lesson Planning

    Posted 26-05-2019 05:51
    Doing two of your lessons with a break is a great idea. Additionally, the longer class enables you to have students reflect (by writing, speaking in pairs, or rally robin writing) on what they are doing.
    For example, instead of just having them do an activity, have them also reflect on whether they think the activity helps their learning (or how). If they do this as a rally robin, it would mean they each write for 5 minutes, pass their paper to another person in their group, read and then write on that person's paper for 5 minutes, then pass again, etc. until everyone in the group has read everyone else's reflection. You can stop there or have them discuss what they had in common.
    Another activity that usually takes a long time is  jigsaw or expert group activity. 4-hour classes allow students time to work on these longer kinds of activites. I often pair jigsaws with a gallery walk of posters made during the last stage of jigsaw, when the original groups reunite to reflect, so that every group can see what the other groups did.
    Don't let the number of hours intimidate you. Let it help you slow down so that you give time to students to learn deeply.

    Leslie Barratt
    Professor Emerita of Linguistics; Professor of Graduate Studies
    IN State Univ & Roi-Et Rajabhat Univ

  • 4.  RE: Lesson Planning

    Posted 27-05-2019 04:43
    Hi Lauren,

    We had a special program in Japan training trade apprentices in the English language so that they could more easily interface with their American counterparts. Our classes were 4 hours in the morning, M thru Th.

    Our strategy was to have many discrete activities across four distinct periods. Between each period was a 10 or 15 minute break. Our first three periods were out of our curricular book, and the fourth period was dedicated to fluency activities that we had to make from scratch.

    In general, our emphasis on moving from discrete lesson to discrete lesson gave the classes lots of momentum and the instructional day wasn't too hard on either student or teacher. Lots and lots of organized planning up front was essential.

    I'd be happy to share whatever materials (syllabi, fluency templates) that we made if you'd like to take a look. Good luck!

    Robin Sulkosky

  • 5.  RE: Lesson Planning

    Posted 28-05-2019 07:44
    Dear Robin,
    I’m an ESL instructor in Qatar and this semester we have three hour classes. I read your response and if you don’t mind please share some of your materials to help me get more ideas for my classes in Fall.
    Thanking you for your assistance.

    Sent from my iPhone

  • 6.  RE: Lesson Planning

    Posted 01-06-2019 04:43
    I sent a private message. Get back to me if you'd like more discussion!

    Robin Sulkosky

  • 7.  RE: Lesson Planning

    Posted 04-06-2019 14:52
    Hi Robin,
    I really appreciate your help and advice. If you would like to share I would that! The school I'm working for has a structure that consists of a warm up, presentation, guided practice, production, and recap.

  • 8.  RE: Lesson Planning

    Posted 27-05-2019 00:15

    Integration of language skills would be the best thing to do. Allot time for each of these skills to be covered plus some time fillers around a topical unit.
    All the best!


    Amitha Gone
    ESL Teacher
    Milwaukee Public Schools - Milwaukee, WI
    United States

  • 9.  RE: Lesson Planning

    Posted 25-05-2019 15:17
    Hello, Lauren.

    I would be glad to help you brainstorm some ideas for structuring the time. What information do you have about the course and students?

    Martha Iancu
    Associate Professor Emerita
    George Fox University
    Newberg, Oregon 97132 USA

  • 10.  RE: Lesson Planning

    Posted 28-05-2019 16:07


    If you aren't already doing it, try to incorporate at least a couple of activities that involve getting up and moving around. 

    For example, there is the classic "tape the different parts of a text on a wall"  (it can be sentences that form a paragraph, or short paragraphs that form a longer text).  You have different groups of students with enough members to that each fragment will be done by one student.  Each student gets up from the group and goes to a wall.  The student tries to memorize what is there, and then return to the group and report it (NO WRITING IT DOWN).  One the student returns to the group, someone in the group writes it down.  If the student hasn't remembered all of it, or the group questions the correctness​ of the text, the student runs back and returns (STILL NO WRITING DOWN!).  You can decide if it's a friendly competition or just an activity without a winner.

    Another one is the survey, good if you are having students practice questions.  Students have a handout that has several different "Find someone who has"  or "...who has never..."  ideas.  Find someone who has never ridden on a train.  (Have you ever ridden on a train?)  Find someone who has been to Disney World.  (Have you ever been to Disney World?)  Figure out ideas that no single person would be likely to have done (or not done), so that students have to circulate to find all the people.

    Besides an activity or two that have people moving around, shift the type of exercise.  Follow a reading exercise by a listening or pairwork speaking exercise.  Then maybe a grammar activity (the kind of discrete tasks that I think Robin Sulkosky was suggesting).


    Karen Stanley
    Professor, Academic ESL
    Central Piedmont Community College
    Charlotte, NC USA