Simplifying the way we word the language of instruction, especially when teaching beginners, is very important. As teachers, we have to remember that we are talking to learners of the English language, not to native speakers. The more difficult the words are and the longer and more complex the sentences are, the less our beginner students will understand our instructions, or explanations.
When you plan to use an activity in any section of your lesson, make sure that it has a focus. Let’s consider, for example, a listening activity. One of the most common mistakes made by a teacher is to play a recording and then ask the students to say what it is about. There isn’t any focus in such activity. The students may get lost as there could be a lot of information in that recording. When you focus the activity on certain information, for example, “Listen and complete the chart with all the numbers you hear” you are helping your students improve their listening skills in a very measurable way.
Lesson plans definitely take a long time to prepare at first. There is no question about it. However, the more you practice and understand the basics of lesson planning, the less it will take.
The type of lesson plan will depend on the approach you use, but in any approach or method there are steps to follow. At first, it is not easy to see the whole picture and how each step paves the way for the next, in order to make the lesson flow smoothly. Once you have internalized the steps and the purpose of each, you will find that the ideas come much more quickly.
Do not forget that writing detailed lesson plans will help you be very well prepared for teaching any sort of lesson. It is important to know that many ESL schools ask for detailed lesson plans and some ask for them in advance so they can be approved or rejected.
Another reason that learning how to write professional lesson plans is very important is because many employers ask applicants to write a lesson plan on any given topic and on the spot. So, practice writing lesson plans to impress your future employer.
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Attending behavior would definitely be different in a larger class compared to a smaller class. For example in a smaller class the teacher might use strategies such as eye contact, or touch (in some cultures this is not common, though) to encourage students to talk (or in some cases discourage talking or a reprimanding look to discourage talking). Other strategies such as using a student’s name, nodding or smiling could be used effectively in smaller classes but would also work well in a larger class.
Concept Questions are used to elicit function, the intention of the speaker, and form -the grammatical structure that the speaker uses to express meaning (i.e. what he/she is trying to communicate to the audience)-. Concept Questions are used in the Communicative Approach when teaching grammar topics or vocabulary, mainly in the Presentation Stage of the PPP format, or in the Study Phase of the ESA format. Concept Questions are a good way of eliciting information from the students and checking their comprehension rather than explaining the topic with long and difficult definitions that may only confuse the students. They are also a way of getting meaning across in a more effective and student-centered way.
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In Theory/In Practice
Most ESL/EFL classes rely on textbooks to guide the curriculum and to provide the bulk of the material used in the classroom. Good textbooks make teachers’ jobs much easier. But, even the best textbooks are unable to anticipate and address the needs of every class. So – with or without a textbook – teachers often need to provide supplementary material. The choice then becomes one of creating original material or sourcing “pre-packaged” exercises from elsewhere.
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By Margaret Hurley
Authentic material is often inspiring, rich and topical. It can be a significant motivator for students and it can go a long way toward keeping teachers interested, too. So, why isn’t it used even more often? The short answer is: it’s a lot of work for the teacher.
The major disadvantage of authentic material is that it doesn’t come with ready-made tasks. Turning the material into a lesson is entirely up to the teacher. And when a busy teacher is using “fresh” material (current news, for example), the supporting tasks may be developed in a rush.
There’s nothing wrong with doing things quickly – but time pressure can tempt the best of us to get a bit sloppy. Herewith, then, is a set of tips for avoiding bad habits when developing handouts to accompany the authentic material.