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Get to know your students. Identify who your students are. What is their learning style (visual, auditory, tactal or a combination). What do they already know? Individualize your plan to fit the group of students you have in this class. Make modifications for students with disabilities, those who are struggling or unmotivated, and those who are gifted.

State the objective. What do the students expect to learn? What do you want them to know by the end of the class? Or is your scale based on a level of improvement for each student? This is the most important part of the plan (see the related wikiHow on how to write an educational objective).

Over-Plan the class. Plan attention getters, modeling and guided practice. Remember to check for understanding. Set up independent practice. Finally, synthesize everything together. Before the class ends, review what you learned. You should always prepare more than what you will need in case an activity goes more quickly than you anticipate; giving students too much free time is a danger.

Have a plan for assessment. How do you know they understood? The goal is for the teacher to have the information to make the next lesson better. Talk to the students as they leave. Give them an assignment for the next class. Give students an exit card to answer. An exit card asks a question about the main and most basic point of the lesson to assess if the lesson was effective.

Be prepared to divert from the lesson plan. Plan how to guide the class back to the lesson plan.

Preview new material with the students and give students the text to read a week or two in advance. Inform them that they will responsible for responding to it in class. Plan to return to the material in the future.

Try to anticipate things which can go wrong and be ready to change your plan accordingly.

Know your material well!

Remember to match what you are teaching with your state or school district standards (for high school students).

Ex lesson plan:

GRADE: 5th A
LEVEL: beginners, 1st year of study
TEXT BOOK: English G 2000
TOPIC: Present Tense Simple and Present Tense Continuous, The Order of Words

- To allow Ss to practise speaking spontaneously and fluently about something that may provoke the use of words and phrases they have been learning recently
- To develop Ss' ability to use language in real life situations
- To develop Ss' speaking and reading skills
- To develop Ss' listening-comprehension abilities
- To revise and reinforce grammar concerning the Present Tense

OBJECTIVES: By the end of the lesson the Ss will be able to:

- Use correctly the new grammar problem

- Use the new words and phrases in self-created contexts
TIME: 50 min

SKILLS INVOLVED: speaking, reading, writing, listening
AIDS: textbook, blackboard, cassette


- Activity 1:Warm-up ( 3min)
Teacher's activity: T enters the classroom, greets the Ss, and asks them how they are, if there are any Ss missing. T remembers the task for the day, ex.3 pg.106 from the textbook ( Animal feeding times) and asks Ss to review it quickly to make sure there were no problems with solving it at home. T corrects the mistakes, if any.
Ss’ activity: Ss answer the T’s questions
Class management whole-class activity
Skills: speaking, reading

- Activity 2: (10 min)
Teacher's activity: T plays a cassette with the exercise and asks the Ss to answer the questions
Students' activity: Ss perform the task.
Class management whole-class activity
Skills: listening, reading, speaking

- Activity 3: ( 5min )
Teacher's activity: T asks Ss to put in because and finish the sentences, paying attention to the word order
Students' activity: Ss fill in the exercise.
Class management: pair-work
Skills: reading, speaking

- Activity 4: (5min )
Teacher's activity: T asks the Ss to put the words in the right order to be able to understand the jokes.
Students' activity: Ss solve their task.
Class management: whole class activity
Skills: reading, speaking

- Activity 5: (5min
Teacher's activity: T asks the Ss to put in the right forms of the verbs in the Present Tense Simple or Continuous.
Students' activity: Ss write the unknown words in their notebooks and solve the exercise
Class management: pair-work
Skills: reading, speaking

- Activity 6: Robbie, the house robot (5min
Teacher's activity: T asks Ss to say what the robot usually does and what he is doing now that he has a computer virus.
Students' activity: Ss read the sentences to the class.
Class management: whole-class activity
Skills: reading

- Activity7: (5min
Teacher's activity: T asks Ss to spot the differences considering Miss Hunt’s seating plan.
Students' activity: Ss perform the task.
Ss correct each other’s mistakes.
Class management: pair-work, whole class activity
Skills: speaking, reading

- Activity 8: (5min
Teacher's activity: Tasks the Ss to help Trundle to finish the sentences paying attention to the word order.
Students' activity: Ss complete the task.
Class management: whole class activity
Skills: speaking, reading
- Activity 9: (5min
Teacher's activity: T tells the Ss to ask questions and complete the answers using Present Tense Simple or Continuous.
Students' activity: Ss solve their task.
Class management: whole-class activity
Skills: reading

- Assigning homework (2min
T asks Ss to write exercise 12 on page 113 at home.


GRADE: 6th; 3 hours a week
LEVEL: Intermediate
TIME: 50 minutes


• to show interest in gaining new information about English grammar
• to understand essential information from a text


• to acquire a new grammar knowledge about Reported Speech


• to encourage students to use the Reported Speech


• speaking
• reading
• listening
• writing


• teacher-student
• student-teacher
• student-student


• textbook
• hand-outs


• continuous-through observation and analysis of answers


• stages
• timing

• class management
• teaching aids
• procedure
• skills


AIM: to get students’ attention
PROCEDURE: the teacher greets the students and asks them different questions such as: “How are you today?” then she checks the homework
SKILLS: listening and speaking

TIME: 4 min


AIM: to get the students ready for the lesson
PROCEDURE: the teacher announces the topic of the lesson and motivates her choice:the importance of knowing how to report what somebody else said
SKILLS: listening

TIME: 1 min



AIM: the students try to report what the two girls said
TEACHING AID: blackboard,hand-outs
PROCEDURE: the teacher asks the students to try to report what the two girls said and write the answers on the blackboard
SKILLS: reading,writing,speaking

TIME: 5 min


AIM: the students must analyse their answers
CLASS MANAGEMENT: individual work
TEACHING AID: blackboard
PROCEDURE: the teacher asks the students some questions concerning the sentences they wrote.They must observe how the persons change and then the teacher explains that also the tenses change in English.
SKILLS: listening,speaking

TIME: 5 min


AIM: the students find out the rules of Reported Speech
CLASS MANAGEMENT: individual work
TEACHING AIDS: hand-outs,blackboard
PROCEDURE: The teacher explains the changes that occur at the Reported Speech.She first explains the imperative sentences and then the affirmative and negative sentences giving examples.
SKILLS: reading,writing,speaking

TIME: 15 min


AIM: the students read a diary page and underline the reported speech
PROCEDURE: The teacher asks the students to read a diary page and identified the people who are mentioned in the text.Then she asks them to underline the sentences in the Reported Speech and then say what the five people actually said,giving each student a role to play.
SKILLS: reading,writing,speaking

TIME: 5 min


AIM: the students solve some reported speech exercises
TEACHING AIDS: hand-outs
PROCEDURE: The teacher asks the students to solve some exercises with reported speech using all the knowledge they acquired previously
SKILLS: reading,writing,speaking,listening

TIME: 5 min


AIM: the students play the game of noughts and crosses
TEACHING AIDS: hand-outs,blackboard
PROCEDURE: The teacher divides the class in two groups and gives each student a sentence to change it into reported speech.They answer in turns who answer correctly is allowed to put a cross or a nought.The group that puts 3 crosses or noughts in a row wins.
SKILLS: reading,writing,speaking,listening

TIME: 5 min


• the teacher evaluates students’ answers and draws conclusions
• the students listen to the teacher and ask questions if any

TIME: 1 min


• the students must solve the exercise C page 87.

TIME: 2 min


Grade: 11th
Level: Advanced
Course book: Prospects
Date: November, 26th 2008
Lesson: Speaking – Progress Check
Lesson aims: - to give students practice in reading
- to give students practice in speaking
- to develop Ss’ listening competences
Skills involved: speaking, reading, writing, listening
Aids: blackboard, textbook, work-sheets, cassette, tape recorder

Activity 1 – Warm-up
General competence: to interact in spoken or written communication
Specific competence: to correct mistakes
Method: dialogue
Procedure: Teacher (T) checks homework first. Ss read their homework and correct it if necessary.
Interaction: T-Ss; Ss-T
Class management: whole class activity
Timing: 5’-10’

Activity 2 – Lead-in

General competence: comprehension of what the written form means in context
Specific competence: to brainstorm ideas about Generation Gap
Method: completing a chart
Procedure: Ss are asked to identify the main sources of conflict between children/teenagers and their parents.
Interaction: T-Ss; Ss-Ss-T
Class management: individual/pair work
whole class activity
Timing: 5’

Activity 3 – Pre-reading
General competence: to understand written messages
Specific competence: - reading for specific information
Method: dialogue
Procedure: The teacher tells Ss that they are going to read a fragment taken from a short story written by Kurt Vonnegut and they receive some brief information about the author. They read the information about Kurt Vonnegut and try to predict the main idea of the short story using its title, “Runaways”.
Interaction: T-Ss; Ss-Ss-T
Class management: individual work, pair work
Timing: 5’-7’

Activity 4 – While reading
General competence: to understand written messages
Specific competence: - skimming
Method: dialogue
Procedure: Ss are asked to read the fragment and then to complete a set of statements about the text.
Interaction: T-Ss; Ss-Ss-T
Class management: whole class activity
Timing: 10’

Activity 5 – Post reading
General competence: to produce oral messages
Specific competence: - scanning
- use of structures to convey meanings in speech
Method: discussion
Procedure: Ss are asked to extract from the text the main sources of dissatisfaction between teenagers and parents comparing these ideas with their ideas expressed in the lead-in stage of the lesson. Then, in groups, they have to develop two of these causes and try to give at least one solution for the parents-teenagers relationship to be improved.
Interaction: T-Ss; Ss-Ss-T
Class management: group work

Activity 6
General competence: production of well-formed examples in writing
Specific competence: use of the structures to convey meanings in writing
Method: dialogue
Procedure: Ss are asked to write three examples of misunderstandings between themselves and their parents. Then they report to the class.
Interaction: T-Ss; Ss-Ss-T
Class management: pair work

Activity 7
Evaluation and homework assignment
Ss have to write for the next English class a dialogue between two teenagers complaining to each other about their relationship with their parents.
Timing: 5’

Types of Learning

Interactive Learning: 

This concept goes right to the heart of communication itself, stressing the dual roles of 'receiver' and 'sender' in any communicative situation.  Interaction creates the 'negotiation between interlocutors' which in turn produces meaning (semantics).  The concept of interactive learning necessarily entails that there will be a lot of pair and group work in the classroom, as well as genuine language input from the 'real world' for meaningful communication.

Learner-centered Learning: 

This kind of instruction involves the giving over of some 'power' in the language learning process to the learners themselves.  It also strives to allow for personal creativity and input from the students, as well as taking into account their learning needs and objectives.

Cooperative Learning: 

This concept stresses the 'team' like nature of the classroom and emphasizes cooperation as opposed to competition.  Students share information and help, and achieve their learning goals as a group.

Content-based Learning: 

This kind of learning joins language learning to content/subject matter and engages them both concurrently.  Language is seen as a tool or medium for aquiring knowledge about other things, instantly proving its usefulness.  An important factor in this kind of learning is that the content itself determines what language items need to be mastered, not the other way around.  When students study math or science using English as the medium, they are more intrinsically motivated to learn more of the language.

Task-based Learning: 

This concept equates the idea of a 'learning task' to a language learning technique in itself.  This could be a problem solving activity or a project, but the task has a clear objective, appropriate content, a working/application procedure, and a set range of outcomes.

The PPP Approach to Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)

'PPP' (or the '3Ps') stands for Presentation Practice and Production - a common approach to communicative language teaching that works through the progression of three sequential stages.

Presentation represents the introduction to a lesson, and necessarily requires the creation of a realistic (or realistic-feeling) 'situation' requiring the target language to be learned.  This can be achieved through using pictures, dialogs, imagination or actual 'classroom situations'.  The teacher checks to see that the students understand the nature of the situation, then builds the 'concept' underlying the language to be learned using small chunks of language that the students already know.  Having understood the concept, students are then given the language 'model' and engage in choral drills to learn statement, answer and question forms for the target language.  This is a very teacher-orientated stage where error correction is important.

Practice usually begins with what is termed 'mechanical practice' - open and closed pairwork.  Students gradually move into more 'communicative practice' involving procedures like information gap activities, dialog creation and controlled role-plays.  Practice is seen as the frequency device to create familiarity and confidence with the new language, and a measuring stick for accuracy.  The teacher still directs and corrects at this stage, but the classroom is beginning to become more learner-centered.

Production is seen as the culmination of the language learning process, whereby the learners have started to become independent users of the language rather than students of the language.  The teacher's role here is to somehow facilitate a realistic situation or activity where the students instinctively feel the need to actively apply the language they have been practicing.  The teacher does not correct or become involved unless students directly appeal to him/her to do so.

The PPP approach is relatively straight forward, and structured enough to be easily understood by both students and new or emerging teachers.  It is a good place to start in terms of applying good communicative language teaching in the classroom.  It has also been criticized considerably for the very characteristic that makes it the easiest method for 'beginner' teachers, that is, that it is far too teacher-orientated and over controlled.  A nice alternative to 'PPP' is Harmer's 'ESA'(Engage/Study/Activate)

Language teaching methods

Grammar Translation Method, the Direct Method, the Audiolingual Method, Community Language Teaching, the Silent Way, Suggestopedia, Total Physical Response, and the Natural Approach.

Grammar Translation Method

typical techniques:

  Translation of a Literary Passage

      (Translating target language to native language)

  Reading Comprehension Questions

      (Finding information in a passage, making inferences and relating to personal experience)


      (Finding antonyms and synonyms for words or sets of words).


      (Learning spelling/sound patterns that correspond between L1 and the target language)

  Deductive Application of Rule

      (Understanding grammar rules and their exceptions, then applying them to new examples)


      (Filling in gaps in sentences with new words or items of a particular grammar type).


      (Memorizing vocabulary lists, grammatical rules and grammatical paradigms)

  Use Words in Sentences

      (Students create sentences to illustrate they know the meaning and use of new words)


      (Students write about a topic using the target language)

the Direct Method

Students will learn to communicate in the target language, partly by learning how to think in that language and by not involving L1 in the language learning process whatsoever.  Objectives include teaching the students how to use the language spontaneously and orally, linking meaning with the target language through the use of realia, pictures or pantomime.

typical techniques:

  Reading Aloud

      (Reading sections of passages, plays or dialogs out loud)

  Question and Answer Exercise

      (Asking questions in the target language and having students answer in full sentences)

  Student Self-Correction

      (Teacher facilitates opportunities for students to self correct using follow-up questions, tone, etc)

Conversation Practice

      (Teacher asks students and students ask students questions using the target language)

  Fill-in-the-blank Exercise

      (Items use target language only and inductive rather than explicit grammar rules)


      (Teacher reads passage aloud various amount of times at various tempos, students writing down what they hear)

  Paragraph Writing

      (Students write paragraphs in their own words using the target language and various models)

the Audiolingual Method

typical techniques

  Dialog Memorization

      (Students memorize an opening dialog using mimicry and applied role-playing)

  Backward Build-up (Expansion Drill)

      (Teacher breaks a line into several parts, students repeat each part starting at the end of the sentence and 'expanding' backwards through the sentence, adding each part in sequence)

  Repitition Drill

      (Students repeat teacher's model as quickly and accurately as possible)

Chain Drill

      (Students ask and answer each other one-by-one in a circular chain around the classroom )

  Single Slot Substitution Drill

      (Teacher states a line from the dialog, then uses a word or a phrase as a 'cue' that students, when repeating the line, must substitute into the sentence in the correct place)

  Multiple-slot Substitution Drill

      (Same as the Single Slot drill, except that there are multiple cues to be substituted into the line)

  Transformation Drill

      (Teacher provides a sentence that must be turned into something else, for example a question to be turned into a statement, an active sentence to be turned into a negative statement, etc)

Question-and-answer Drill

      (Students should answer or ask questions very quickly)

Use of Minimal Pairs

      (Using contrastive analysis, teacher selects a pair of words that sound identical except for a single sound that typically poses difficulty for the learners - students are to pronounce and differentiate the two words)

Complete the Dialog

      (Selected words are erased from a line in the dialog - students must find and insert)

Grammar Games

      (Various games designed to practice a grammar point in context, using lots of repetition)

Community Language Teaching

typical techniques

  Tape Recording Student Conversation

      (Students choose what they want to say, and their target language production is recorded for later listening/dissemination)


      (Teacher produces a transcription of the tape-recorded conversation with translations in the mother language - this is then used for follow up activities or analysis)

  Reflection on Experience

      (Teacher takes time during or after various activities to allow students to express how they feel about the language and the learning experience, and the teacher indicates empathy/understanding)

Reflective Listening

      (Students listen to their own voices on the tape in a relaxed and reflective environment)

  Human Computer

      (Teacher is a 'human computer' for the students to control - the teacher stating anything in the target language the student wants to practice, giving them the opportunity to self correct)

  Small Group Tasks

      (Students work in small groups to create new sentences using the transcript, afterwards sharing them with the rest of the class)

the Silent Way

typical techniques:

  Sound-Color Chart

      (The teacher refers students to a color-coded wall chart depicting individual sounds in the target language - students use this to point out and build words with correct pronunciation)

  Teacher's Silence

      (Teacher is generally silent, only giving help when it is absolutely necessary)

  Peer Correction

      (Students encouraged to help each other in a cooperative and not competitive spirit)


      (Rods are used to trigger meaning, and to introduce or actively practice language.  They can symbolize whatever words are being taught and be manipulated directly or abstractly to create sentences)

  Self-correction Gestures

      (Teacher uses hands to indicate that something is incorrect or needs changing - eg. using fingers as words then touching the finger/word that is in need of correction)

  Word Chart

      (Words are depicted on charts, the sounds in each word corresponding in color to the Sound-Color Chart described above - students use this to build sentences)

  Fidel Chart

      (A chart that is color-coded according to the sound-color chart but includes the various English spellings so that they can be directly related to actual sounds)

Structured Feedback

      (Students are invited to make observations about the day's lesson amd what they have learned)


typical techniques:

  Classroom Set-up

      (Emphasis is placed on creating a physical environment that does not 'feel' like a normal classroom, and makes the students feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible)

  Peripheral Learning

      (Students can absorb information 'effortlessly' when it is perceived as part of the environment, rather than the material 'to be attended to')

  Positive Suggestion

      (Teachers appeal to students' consciousness and subconscious in order to better orchestrate the 'suggestive' factors involved in the learning situation)


      (Students are asked to close their eyes and visualize scenes and events, to help them relax, facilitate positive suggestion and encourage creativity from the students)

  Choose a New Identity

      (Students select a target language name and/or occupation that places them 'inside' the language language they are learning)


      (Students pretend temporarily that they are somone else and perform a role using the target language)

  First Concert

      (Teacher does a slow, dramatic reading of the dialog synchronized in intonation with classical music)

Second Concert

      (Students put aside their scripts and the teacher reads at normal speed according to the content, not the accompanying pre-Classical or Baroque music - this typically ends the class for the day)

  Primary Activation

      (Students 'playfully' reread the target language out loud, as individuals or in groups)

Secondary Activation

      (Students engage in various activities designed to help the students learn the material and use it more spontaneously - activities include singing, dancing, dramatizations and games - 'communicative intent' and not 'form' being the focus)

Total Physical Response

typical techniques:

  Using Commands to Direct Behavior

      (The use of commands requiring physical actions from the students in response is the major teaching technique)

  Role Reversal

      (Students direct the teacher and fellow learners)

  Action Sequence

      (Teacher gives interconnected directions which create a sequence of actions [also called an 'operation'] - as students progress in proficiency, more and more commands are added to the action sequence. Most everyday activities can be broken down into a sequence of actions)

the Natural Approach

As part of the Natural Approach, students listen to the teacher using the target language communicatively from the very beginning.  It has certain similarities with the much earlier Direct Method, with the important exception that students are allowed to use their native language alongside the target language as part of the language learning process. In early stages, students are not corrected during oral production, as the teacher is focusing on meaning rather than form (unless the error is so drastic that it actually hinders meaning).

Communicative activities prevail throughout a language course employing the Natural Approach, focusing on a wide range of activities including games, roleplays, dialogs, group work and discussions. 

There are three generic stages identified in the approach:

(1) Preproduction - developing listening skills;

(2) Early Production - students struggle with the language and make many errors which are corrected based on content and not structure;

(3) Extending Production - promoting fluency through a variety of more challenging activities.

The main principles of student-centred learning:

  • The learner has full responsibility for her/his learning
  • Involvement and participation are necessary for learning
  • The relationship between learners is more equal, promoting growth, development
  • The teacher becomes a facilitator and resource person
  • The learner experiences confluence in his education (affective and cognitive domains flow together)
  • The learner sees himself differently as a result of the learning experience.

Student-centred and teacher-centred continuum

Teacher-centred Learning

Student-centred Learning

Low level of student choice

High level of student choice

Student passive

Student active

Power is primarily with teacher

Power primarily with the student


Examples of student-centred assessments:

  • Diaries, logs and journals
  • Portfolios
  • Peer/self assessment
  • Learning contracts and negotiated assessment
  • Projects
  • Group work
  • Profiles
  • Skills and competencies

What is Task-Based Learning?

What makes 'task-based learning' different?

The traditional way that teachers have used tasks is as a follow-up to a series of structure/function or vocabulary based lessons. Tasks have been 'extension' activities as part of a graded and structured course.

In task-based learning, the tasks are central to the learning activity. Originally developed by N Prabhu in Bangladore, southern India, it is based on the belief that students may learn more effectively when their minds are focused on the task, rather than on the language they are using.

In the model of task-based learning described by Jane Willis, the traditional PPP (presentation, practice, production) lesson is reversed. The students start with the task. When they have completed it, the teacher draws attention to the language used, making corrections and adjustments to the students' performance. In A Framework for Task-Based Learning, Jane Willis presents a three stage process:

  • Pre-task - Introduction to the topic and task.
  • Task cycle - Task planning and report
  • Language focus - Analysis and practice.

Does it work?

Task-based learning can be very effective at Intermediate levels and beyond, but many teachers question its usefulness at lower levels. The methodology requires a change in the traditional teacher's role. The teacher does not introduce and 'present' language or interfere ('help') during the task cycle. The teacher is an observer during the task phase and becomes a language informant only during the 'language focus' stage.

You can read more about task-based learning in

How to Teach English p31 by Jeremy Harmer [Longman]

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