TESOL: Lesson Planning Tips for Different ESL Levels

Planning for ESL levelsTwo questions that often come up to new ESL teachers are:

  1. “As we prepare lessons for beginner level English dialogue, how are we sure that they understand the language of instruction?”
  2. “Is there a curriculum for ESL student to follow so that I may have an idea of what to expect from different ESL levels?”

-Learn to plan lessons for different ESL levels with an accredited 250-hour TESOL Diploma

ESL Levels – Teaching Grammar

In general, at the beginner levels, the rough order of grammar instruction is: present simple, present continuous, and past simple. After that, the order varies a bit, but it is roughly present perfect, future simple and going-to future, past continuous, and past perfect. If you check the table of contents of some beginner level ESL books, you will get a good idea of the common order(s) of introduction of grammar topics (Read: Teaching Beginners – Scaffolding).

Find ESL lesson plans by OnTESOL graduates

Lesson Planning – Language of Instruction

As you plan your lessons, it is important to indicate assumptions about whether students have had exposure to forms that might be used in instructions or explanations.

Lower levels require detailed planning. In your lesson plans, it will be very helpful to, essentially, script yourself. At higher levels, it is possible to “wing it,” but it is important to think about the language of instruction in your descriptions and explanations. The key is to gear the language of instruction to the level and make your assumptions clear.

-Read: How to Simplify the Language of Instruction with Beginner Students

Adapting the Curriculum

Most ESL programs will have a detailed curriculum and a book for teachers to follow, but often times the book is ineffective or the curriculum is missing completely. Taking an accredited TESOL certificate course with OnTESOL will teach you how to plan lessons for different levels using various approaches under the Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) method. Lesson planning skills are very valuable in the TESOL industry because qualified teachers are able to use any authentic material (newspaper articles, video, songs) to adapt or even create a curriculum.

-Read: How to Supplement the ESL Textbook with Authentic Material