Lesson planning for new TEFL teachers
If you’re a recent TEFL graduate, you’ll have learned all about lesson planning in your TEFL course. You will have learned the importance of planning and how to plan different lessons to teach other points. If you’re a new teacher, you might feel nervous about doing this for the first time. Not to worry, our lesson planning guide below will help ease your nerves!
Pick a lesson plan methodology or structure.
If you are walking for a school or company that specifies a method to use, that cuts out the decision-making process of choosing the structure to use for your plans. If the school asks you to use the PPP method, you should stick to planning lessons around this.
You’ll need to decide which one is best. Remember to follow what you learned in your TEFL course. If we are teaching grammar or vocabulary, PPP is your favorite. You might have read that PPP can get a little boring, but it’s the best use for new teachers. Once you get more confidence and experience, you might experiment with different lesson structures, but for starting, PPP is the teacher’s friend.
On the other side of the lesson plan coin, if you are teaching a skills-based lesson (speaking, listening, etc.), then you will need to plan according to that and plan a skills lesson plan! Remember to keep it simple, including a pre, while, and post-stage that focuses on one of the critical skills.
Think about the aims and objectives of the lesson
Every lesson plan needs a learning objective. The whole purpose of you delivering your lesson is to meet the aim and have the students achieve something by the end of the study.
What do you what your students to learn or be able to do by the end of the lesson?
How will you help them achieve this?
Once you think of your aims and objectives, you can plan the lesson around this. If your main stages are nothing to do with your goal, then you need to ask yourself why you are doing this activity. Remember that your purpose should be specific, not “students will practice speaking.” It should be a point such as “students will use the language of agreeing and disagreeing to give their opinions about sport.”
Is the topic appropriate for your learners?
If you work for a school, you will most likely follow a coursebook, making planning easier. The plan’s base is already there for you in the book, and you need to put together how you will teach this and whether you need any supplementary ideas for the activities.
If you are teaching your students, you might have to choose the topic, grammar, or sub-skill yourself. Utilize the CEFR resources online to check that what you are planning isn’t too easy or difficult for the general level of your student(s). Remember, the CEFR scale is the European Common Framework that indicates the different language learning levels and what is appropriate to be taught at each one.
Also, consider the age and interests of your students when picking a topic. Is it age-appropriate? Will your students be interested in this? We typically avoid teaching or invoking conversations about religion, politics, human rights issues, etc. This is to prevent misunderstandings in the classroom and ensure everyone gets along! Remember that in some cultures, some topics are considered taboo, even if not of your background.
Make use of existing resources and share useful ones.
If you are creative, you might be tempted to make all your resources – worksheets, flashcards, and activities. While this is a nice thought, it’s not practical for your time. There’s nothing worse than spending hours cutting up a move for young learners for them to finish it in 10 minutes!
Resources are abundant online for all teaching contexts and ages. Utilizing these resources will save you time and energy as a new teacher. If you find an excellent website, share it with your co-workers, and they will do the same. This is a great way to pile up resources so that you don’t have to spend too long searching on the internet.
Sometimes it’s necessary to modify the material if it’s not quite right for your class. Think about how you can change something easily rather than make it from scratch. Once you finish making any modifications, save this in your trusty TEFL file so that you don’t have to do it all again next time!
If you are looking for a guide, you can check out our prepared lesson plans with new teachers in mind to ease the planning stress. You will find complete lesson plans for online classes, young learners, and different levels! This can be a great way to start. You can use the full methods and then make your own modeling them on the structures and ideas we have prepared!
You can’t be too prepared!
If you speak to an experienced TEFL teacher, you might find that they don’t use detailed lesson plans like the ones you learned to write. You might even be surprised to know that some teachers don’t use a program at all! As you gain more experience in the classroom, you will feel more comfortable delivering your classes with minimal notes, especially if you have done a similar type of lesson many times before.
That said, preparation is critical when you’re a newbie TEFL teacher. You might not yet know how timings work and how long different activities can take in the classroom. Always plan backup activities (remember learning about fillers?!) in case your lesson finishes short. This is especially true if you are teaching online for the first time. Activities done online can fly by, so plan extra!
Being extra prepared is also essential if you have a new student or class. You don’t know how they learn yet or how long they take to do something. Your students might be nervous, so that 20-minute speaking activity might end up being just 5 minutes! If you’re a new teacher, you can’t rely on this yet, and nerves might get in the way of you being able to implement them spontaneously them!
Plan your fillers and ways to keep the students engaged in the activity. For example, if your students finish a speaking activity, you can plan for them to change partners and repeat. If a student completes a grammar activity quickly, have extra on hand. If you plan for these things, your students will become bored and lose confidence in their teacher and their ability to design a productive lesson.
< < Read here – For more activity ideas > >
Be efficient with your planning.
This is one of the best advice you will get as a TEFL teacher. When you start, there may be a tendency to spend hours and hours creating your lesson plans, but this isn’t efficient. If it takes three hours to plan a lesson of just one hour, then this is counterproductive.
If you spend a lot of time planning to the point where you don’t have time for anything else but work and planning lessons, you need to consider where you can improve. Talk to other teachers to see how they plan and how long they typically do it. Remember, teachers are often not paid for planning time! Sometimes a school might incorporate some planning time into your contract. You should use it efficiently, but it won’t be hours and hours extra!
How will you follow up on the lesson?
If you are teaching the same students regularly, your lessons should be continuous. How will you check that the students can still use what you’ve taught them and not forget it as soon as they walk out the door or log off their laptops?
Giving a small homework activity is an excellent way to gauge whether your students can understand when they are out of the classroom and consolidating their knowledge. If you have an individual student, they might tell you they don’t want homework and don’t have time. This is ultimately their decision as the paying customer. Check with your company or school whether there is a homework policy that you need to implement.
Another way to ensure continuity is to use the previous lesson’s point as a warmer for the next class. For example, if you have studied the Present Continuous, then next class, you might put some Present Continuous questions up on the board for them to do or ask each other. This is not only a good way for them to reuse what they’ve learned with you. But also an excellent way to begin a lesson while people are still arriving or filtering into the online classroom.
When you’re starting, planning your lessons can be daunting. However, following the above steps and advice will make you a planning pro in no time! Remember that teaching and planning is very much something that develops with experience. In no time at all, you will be the one guiding new TEFL teachers about how to plan their lessons!