ABC for beginning teachers (lesson planning)

ABC for beginning teachers (lesson planning)

Lesson planning is a significant element of teaching-learning system. A lesson plan is a step-by-step guide that provides a structure for an essential learning. It helps the teacher to choose the materials, adapt the activities to student’s needs, be prepared to possible problems. An effective lesson plan has three basic components; aims and objectives of the course, teaching and learning activities and, assessments to check student understanding of the topic.

Step 1 – Identify the aims of the lesson

First, identify the type of the lesson: skills (listening, reading, writing, speaking) or systems (vocabulary, grammar, functions, pronunciation).

Then according to the outcomes you want to achieve by the end of the lesson identify the main aims, sub-aims and personal aims:

Type of the lesson:

Grammar Vocabulary Functions Reading Listening Writing Speaking

Main aim(s):
– To provide clarification and practice of humor related vocabulary in the context of an anecdote and self-quiz
– To develop oral fluency on the topic of “Humor”
– To practice reading skills for gist and specific information on the topic of “humor”
Personal Aims:
– To be consistent in monitoring
– To give clear instructions
– To improve boardwork

Step 2 – Predict possible problems in the lesson

Secondly, List any potential problems for learners with classroom management and with skills (speaking, writing, reading, listening). Predict how you would deal with potential problems with classroom management

For example,

There might be an odd number of students, which will make pair work problematic. I will ask some students to work in groups of three and make sure to change them, so that they had equal opportunities
There might be some fast finishers. I will monitor attentively and when I see a fast finisher, I will give an extra task to them (see the tasks in the procedure).
Some words might be unknown for sts I will pre-teach blocking vocabulary after reading for gist.
Some sts might want to read for detail and understand all the words while reading the text for the first time I will give clear instructions and ask ICQs (See the procedure).

I will also tell the sts not to worry if they do not understand all the words.

Step 3 – Plan the stages and activities of the lesson

Here are some lesson frameworks for skill and system lessons.

Receptive skills lessons (reading and listening)

  1. Lead-in –  to engage students in the context of the lesson and raise their interest – it might be a title or a picture discussion, anything what prepare students for reading/listening.
  2. Vocabulary pre-teaching (optional) – to pre-teach blocking vocabulary needed for gist reading / listening;
  3. Reading / listening for gist or specific information – to set a short, easier task based on general understanding of the text as a whole.
  4. Vocabulary pre-teaching (optional) – to teach any vocabulary needed for the detailed task
  5. Reading / listening for detailed comprehension – to set a task based on detailed comprehension (formats might include gap fills, ordering events, true/false, etc).
  6. Follow up activity !!!– to do a speaking/writing activity based on the text.ABC for beginning teachers (lesson planning)

Productive skills lessons (writing and speaking)

    1. Lead-in – to generate interest, set topic
    2. Vocabulary pre-teaching – to pre-teach any key vocabulary
    3. Reading / Listening (optional) – to provide a model of the text type
    4. Focus on the layout – to present or elicit the layout
    5. Focus on the language – – to present or elicit the vocabulary
    6. Controlled practice (optional) – to practice using of the vocabulary
    7. Freer practice – for students to produce their own writing / speaking
    8. Feedback to content !!to provide the evaluation of the ideas of writing / speaking
    9. Feedback to language – to provide error correction, to highlight good language usage as well!


Systems lessons (vocabulary, grammar, functions, pronunciation)

    1. Lead-in – to generate interest, set context
    2. Reading / listening for gist – to provide reading / listening practice for general understanding
    3. Highlighting TL (target language) – to practice noticing skills
    4. Focus on the meaning – to clarify the meaning of TL
    5. TL analysis – to highlight the form
    6. Controlled practice   – to practice using TL
    7. Freer practice – to practice speaking for fluency
    8. Feedback to content !!- to provide the evaluation of the ideas of writing / speaking
    9. Feedback to language – to provide error correction, to highlight good language usage as well!


Lesson frameworks will differ if you use TTT approach (test-teach-test), TBL (task-based learning) or others.

When planning use different coloured highlighters to highlight each lesson aim and then the activities and stages in the plan that are linked to these aims with the same colour. If there is a stage or an activity in the lesson which is not highlighted, why do you need it?

If you use a coursebook evaluate the materials and check which procedure aims have not been addressed at all so that you add, skip, or modify as you see fit depending on the lesson aim(s) and the learners’ needs and interests. Don’t hesitate to adapt the materials.

Step 4 – Double check everything

Use this checklist to see if your lesson plan is done:

  • Does the procedure reflect the type of lesson I am supposed to teach?
  • Do the procedure aims help me achieve the main aim of the lesson in a relatively coherent manner?
  • Do the stages have transitions?
  • Do I have enough time for each stage?
  • Have I allowed enough time for feedback / learner questions if need be?
  • Have I varied interaction by including appropriate interaction patterns, i.e. pairwork/groupwork, etc. so that the lesson in not monotonous?
  • What can I do if activity X does not go the way I have planned? (see anticipated difficulties and problems and revise/add)
  • Do I have feedback after each activity?
  • Do you have quieter activities before lively ones?
  • Do end on a positive note?

Read more about
Planning a successful lesson one-on-one in 5 steps
Find a Lesson plan template here or use this one:

ABC for beginning teachers (lesson planning)

Read more information here:

‘Learning Teaching’ J. Scrivener

‘The Practice of English Language Teaching’ J. Harmer

Remember: a good lesson plan makes a confident teacher!

ABC for beginning teachers (lesson planning)


Мария Цедрик

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