TESOL: Writing a Simple Grammar Lesson Plan

Grammar lesson plan TESOL trainingWhile learning and understanding vocabulary is a vital part of language learning, all of these words lack any real sense of meaning without grammar ; therefore, grammar is an essential part of language teaching and planning an effective grammar lesson is a necessary skill. This article will show you how to create a TESOL lesson plan using the P-P-P format.

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The Simple TESOL Lesson Plan: P-P-P Format

The teacher presents the target grammar structure. Learners are then given opportunity to practice the structure in a controlled manner. Finally, learners produce the new grammar in a freer and more meaningful way that also incorporates other elements of language. In a typical one hour lesson, each of these three stages would last for about 20 minutes.

  1. Presentation

In this first stage you need a meaningful context in which to show how this grammar is used. You can do this in many different ways; you can draw pictures on the board with speech bubbles explaining what is happening; you can use a short video clip or photographs; you can even mime a short scene if you feel confident in your acting ability!

Here’s an example of how you might present the second conditional.

  • On the board draw a stick man with thought bubbles coming out of his head. In these bubbles stick pictures of money, a sports car, a yacht and a big house.
  • Introduce the grammar structure with an example sentence: ‘If I won the lottery, I would buy a big house and a sports car.’
  • Ask questions that focus on the form of the grammar: ‘What verb form comes after ‘if’?’
  • Also ask questions that focus on the meaning of the grammar: ‘Do I have a lot of money now?’
  • Drill the class with the examples until you’re satisfied that they can do it reasonably well.

Free TESOL training! Read Teaching Grammar: Elicitation Through Concept Questions

  1. Practice

There are many ways that you can get learners to practice in a controlled manner; these include gap fill exercises, substitution drills, sentence transformations, reordering sentences, or matching a picture to a sentence, for instance.

  • ‘If I ____ (to win) the lottery, I ____ (to buy) a big house and a sports car.’
  • ‘a big house / If I won /, I would buy / and a sports car / the lottery.’

At this stage it’s quite important that the activity is controlled so that the focus is almost entirely on the new grammar structure.

A good way to do this is to put learners in groups or pairs to work on the activity while you monitor and give feedback. After this, do a similar activity on the board so that all of the class is involved. You could make this into a game or a speaking activity, i.e. make it more communicative but still very controlled.

Free TESOL Training! Read Teaching Grammar Using the Communicative Approach

  1. Production

In the final stage of the lesson you should give learners the chance to use the new grammar in a meaningful yet freer way. Good activities for facilitating this include role plays, pictures cues, ‘find someone who…’, information gaps and interviews. If using an interview activity, you might get learners to ask three people what they would do if they won the lottery, for instance.

It’s important at this stage to monitor and note down any errors that occur, so you can build this into your class feedback and error analysis, which is a great way to round off such grammar lessons.

When we teach grammar, we give our learners the ability to express themselves accurately, while also fulfilling their expectations of what it means to learn another language. This basic plan will help you deliver such lessons effectively.

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Free TESOL Lesson Plan: Using a Song to Review Grammar



Creating a Learner-Focused TESOL Lesson Plan

learner focused TESOL lessonsAs a language teacher, you have so many things to think about all of the time. We’re constantly under pressure to get through materials in our coursebook and get ready for exams. With all the things we have to think about, it can sometimes be easy to forget the real reason why we are doing this: our learners. For this reason, planning lessons is a necessity, particularly at the start of your TESOL career. Here are three things to keep in mind that will help you create lesson plans that keep the focus on your learners.

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5 Strategies to Make the Most of Your TESOL Lesson Plan

TESOL lesson plan tips for successWhen you’re starting out as a language teacher, one of the biggest problems you’ll have is being nervous about the lessons you deliver. Adequate preparation is the one true solution to overcoming nerves. Preparation means one thing: effective lesson planning. Here are five strategies that will help you plan and deliver successful ESL lessons.

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4 Common Mistakes That ESL Teachers Make When Planning Lessons

TESOL lesson planning mistakesWhen you’re starting out as a language teacher, your TESOL lesson plan is going to be as important to you as any of the course materials. If we view the coursebook as the boat that takes you and your learners along the river of language learning, your lesson plan acts as the map that guides you along the way. Just as any journey may include wrong turns, so can your language lessons. For this reason, having a reliable map will be a great help in navigating this journey. Here are four things to avoid that will ensure your plan takes you on the correct route.

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  1. Teaching the book and not the learner

You’ll probably find that you are under a lot of pressure to get through a coursebook by a particular point in time. Therefore, a lot of your planning will involve looking at how you can work through the material with your learners in an engaging way. Nevertheless, planning the material is only one aspect of lesson planning. To ensure that you are teaching your class, rather than just covering material, you do need to incorporate students into your plans. A language class is made up of a group of individuals with different goals, expectations and interests. Find out what these are, and then think of ways to accommodate these into your lessons while you are following the syllabus. If you don’t, your learners will quickly realize you’re just following the book page by page (Read: Supplementing ESL Textbooks with Authentic Material).

  1. Forgetting to use a variety of activities

It’s very easy to fall into the trap of using the same kinds of activity again and again. You might find that you start each lesson with a vocabulary matching exercise or a grammar gap fill that revises what you did on the previous lesson. Alternatively, each lesson might feature a speaking activity in which learners share past experiences in groups. These aren’t bad activities, but they will become boring very quickly if you do them every lesson. Make sure that you vary the tasks that you do in class. For instance, plan to use music, video and games every so often. Also, vary the way that you get learners to interact in terms of working in pairs or in groups (Read: No prep/low prep ESL Activities).

  1. Using technology without a good reason

It’s commonplace these days to use technology in classes. Indeed, there are many amazing things that you can do in your lessons when you choose to incorporate the Internet and mobile phones, for example. Nevertheless, you should only use technology that is helping you to meet your lesson objectives. If not, you may find that you are only using technological gadgets to try and be cool. Your learners will see through this very quickly and not appreciate it. Always consider if the technological tool is helping you do the activity in a better way than you could without technology (Read: Using the Internet in the ESL Classroom).

  1. Failing to have a backup plan

So far I’ve suggested that you vary your tasks and include technological input as and when it’s justified. However, using things such as video clips and music from an online source brings about its own problems: what happens when things go wrong? Ask any experienced teacher and they will tell you about the time that something didn’t work properly in their class; it has happened to the best of us! When this happens to you, make sure you have a plan B that takes you on another route to the same learning goal. For example, if your lesson is based on an online listening task, make sure you have a similar task ready that is on a CD, or that you have a tape script that you can read out to the class. Always look at what you have planned and ask yourself how you can meet your objective in a different way that will have the same results.

Avoiding these mistakes will increase your confidence as a teacher, as well as give your learners the impression that you are in control of the classroom.

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