TEFL lesson plans are essential for any TEFL teaching jobs. In this article, after we explain why you need a lesson plan, we’ll show you how to make one and provide some examples.

WHY DO I NEED A LESSON PLAN?

As any good teacher knows, a lesson plan is a necessary part of any effective lesson – and for a newly-qualified TEFL teacher, every lesson is important. You need it to ensure direction and clarity. As time goes on, you will teach new aspects of English or you may be observed by an inspector or line manager, who will absolutely expect a lesson plan to be available.

As you can see, the benefits of a lesson plan to you as a TEFL teacher are enormous. For most teachers, a good one brings confidence. It will help you crystallise a clear plan for your lesson and stick to it. It will also help you with the timing and consistency of your lesson (two common faults of English teachers).

HOW DO I MAKE A LESSON PLAN?

A lesson plan may take many shapes and forms, but a standard lesson plan follows a system which any EFL professional is likely to understand. Let’s look at such a lesson plan, section by section.

1. MAIN AIMS OF LESSON

We start off with a declaration of intent:

• To teach vocabulary associated with job-hunting and interviews
• to have students understand words/phrases from context in a Reading text
• to understand the Reading text in detail and fluently feedback their conclusions to others

For the TEFL teacher, for their students and for any observers of TEFL classes, this section states exactly what is to be covered during the lesson. Every subsequent part of the lesson plan should refer to these aims.

2. LESSON AIDS

Next, the plan should briefly mention any TEFL resources which will be used in the class:

Article: “Why You Didn’t Get That Job” (Cosmopolitan, 4 February 2014; accessed 20 July 2018)
Smith, D: “Heading Professional English” (Oxford, 2017; ISBN 9783161484100), pp.18-19
Credit should be given where necessary (and it usually is). Online resources should be hyperlinked and cited just like an undergraduate thesis. Books should be credited with page numbers, author name and, sometimes, the ISBN.

3. ANTICIPATED PROBLEMS

Next comes a crucial section, both for you and (where necessary) the observer of your lesson:

  • Timing: It may be difficult not only to fit all the activities into 90 minutes. Constant monitoring of the clock on my part will be necessary.
  • Material: The material used in the course textbook is limiting. To overcome this, I am subsidizing it with a useful online resource.
  • Challenging the students: Advanced students are typically hard to challenge. The “real English” in the online Cosmopolitan article should stimulate them, and the inclusion of a practical, advice-based group task at the end of the lesson should help give focus to the lesson.

Teachers can encounter all kinds of problems during TEFL lessons, which must be anticipated and ideally solved in advance. They could be based on the material you need to use (there could be too much or too little), your faults as a teacher (see above), your students’ profile (their level, their personalities, their learning aims), or technology.

4. PROCEDURE

Finally, we get down to the ins and outs of the lesson:

  • Warmer (7 mins / PW, OC / to introduce the topic and anticipate target vocabulary)
    T splits SS into pairs and asks them to discuss the following questions, before feeding back in an open-class forum:

    •  “What’s your dream job?”
    • “Why is this your dream job?”
  • Vocabulary (15 mins / T, OC / to cover target vocabulary & prepare for the reading)
    Using the vocabulary on p.18 (ex.2), SS display their comprehension of each word by:

    • Defining it (with a relative clause)
    • Giving an example; or
    • Giving a synonym

SS complete exercise 3 (gapfill sentences)

The procedure gives the structure of the lesson. It describes each activity in as much detail as possible, with timing which is as accurate as possible (adding up to the duration of the lesson). Each activity is marked as teacher-led (usually with a T), focused on a single student (S), on the class as a whole (SS) or on students working in pairs (PW). As such, this is by far the most time-consuming part of writing a lesson plan – but since it gives the teacher and the observer an excellent insight into the lesson, it is well worth the time.

WHERE CAN I FIND LESSON PLANS?

Most of the lesson plans you use should be your own. However, if you’re in a rush or you need inspiration, many lesson plans can be found online. The British Council website contains by far the most comprehensive collection of lesson plans for all levels and all ages.

With a kind word, a fellow teacher might provide you with ready-made lesson plans. However, this is not to be expected. In most cases – and especially when being observed – the best lesson plan is your own lesson plan.