Lesson Plans: Troubleshooting

Lesson planning is such a major part of teaching, if you have a thorough lesson plan, you should be able to sit back and enjoy the lesson, while the learners do all the work! Read on for some tips on how to perfect your plans!

  • Make sure your main lessson aim(s) is connected to the focus of your lesson. A reading skills lesson is going to have a main aim based on improving learners’ reading skills.
  • Your subsidiary aim(s) will be based on what you are doing in the lesson other than the skill/ system mentioned in your main aim. Your subsidiary aim(s) can help you to achieve your main aim(s) for example, if you are exposing learners to new language through a listening task, then practising a listening subskill would be a subsidiary aim. A subsidiary aim could also be a by-product of the lesson, for example, If your post-reading activity in a reading skills lesson is fluency, then this will be one of your subsidiary aims.
  • The procedure part of your lesson plan (what you and the learners are actually doing in class) should be written so clearly that another teacher could follow it and teach from it.
  • Look at your interaction patterns – if most of the lesson is t-s (teacher to students) then your lesson is too teacher-centred and needs to be adjusted.
  • To make it easier to work out the timing of an activity, break it down into mini-sections. If the students will need 3 mins to do the activity alone, 2 mins to check their answers with their partner and 3 mins to check in plenary, this means you have an 8-minute activity.
  • To make the lesson less stressful, anticipate potential problems with classroom management and suggest solutions to them. If you have already considered what you will do if the recording doesn’t play, you won’t need to get into a hot sweat when it actually happens!
  • When analysing language put the target item into context. You’ll find it much easier to create ccqs then. Of course, the context you use will be determined by the context of the lesson.
  • Analyse the meaning/ use, form, phonology and possibly appropriacy for each item. This will mean you are prepared for students’ questions in class and won’t be put on the spot.
  • Anticipate potential problems that learners might have with the language and come up with solutions to these problems in the same way as you did for potential problems in classroom management.
  • If you are using a coursebook, adapt the activities in it to make them suitable for your students – you know them much better than the coursebook writers do!

You’ll find lots more advice on writing lesson plans and teaching in The Ultimate Guide to CELTA, available on Amazon. Can you think of any tips you would share? What do you find difficult when writing your lesson plans?

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Author: Amanda Momeni

A CELTA tutor, English language tutor and co-author of The Ultimate Guide to CELTA

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