ESL Lesson Plans: Types and Purpose

All ESL teachers–regardless of training, experience, or competency–need a carefully drawn lesson plan in order to assist their students in attaining learning objectives, both on a daily basis as well as the long-term. Having a lesson plan is like having a complete and clear visualization of how a learning session is to take place and how students are able to grasp and retain lesson concepts. Numerous research indicate that pre-visualizing success in athletic competitions as well as business endeavors is a concrete step in the process of actually achieving it. The same is true with classroom engagements. Without a lesson plan, this visualization process is blurred at best and the learning outcomes that will be generated will be far from ideal.

That said, the importance of lesson plans in ESL/EFL education is difficult to overstate. ESL educators simply need to visualize daily lessons in advance and build the most appropriate teaching strategies into a comprehensive lesson plan. Otherwise, going to class without adequate preparation will most likely be detrimental to both the teachers and their students. Unprepared teachers will become mediocre at the job and will be viewed as unprofessional by their peers, superiors, and students. On the other hand, students under inadequately prepared language teachers will enjoy less-than optimum knowledge inputs and will generally have a low quality learning and appreciation of lesson concepts, compared with students under highly competent and prepared educators.

Given the substantial resources pooled into the learning session by students and education providers, an unprofessionally managed class is a terrible waste of time, money and effort. Moreover, students and teachers under this scenario generally have very low motivation to improve. Having a lesson plan and effectively using it as a guide for daily teaching will reflect your professionalism and reliability. You also present yourself as a good role model for your students who will come to appreciate the value of coming to class prepared and primed to achieve the lesson targets.

Lesson Plan 101

If you are new to teaching, a lesson plan is basically just a step-by-step guide on how the teacher intends to present a lesson and the ways by which students are expected to learn and appreciate the various lesson concepts. An excellent lesson plan is one that can be easily and effectively used by another educator in your place. This means that the ideal lesson plan is both clear and comprehensive. The details and elements of lesson plans vary, depending on the specific format mandated by the school or organization. However, the common components of good lesson plan include the following:

1. Lesson Title

2. The period of time (in minutes, hours, days, or weeks) necessary to complete the lesson

3. Class details (class name or section, age, skill level, etc.)

4. The lesson objectives

5. Instructional approach(es) to be used (this section describes the sequence of learning events as well as the techniques the teacher will use in helping students achieve the lesson objectives)

6. Instructional materials (such as a …