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The Components of an Effective Lesson Plan

The Components of an Effective Lesson Plan | ITTT | TEFL Blog

A lesson plan is a series of instructions written by the teacher on how to cover his lessonIt is also a working document to refer to during the lesson ad a record of the class content useful for future lessons or for other teachers.

An effective lesson plan should be flexible and open to change. How a lesson plan is written depends upon the teacher. It's complicated because it doesn't exist the perfect way to write a lesson plan. It can be formal following a specific pattern or written in the form of notes but simplicity is essential.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Daniela F. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.


Firstly, a lesson plan has to include basic elements such as date and time, name of the teacher, the expected number of students, the class. A lesson plan has to identify the purpose of the lesson itself. The learning object is the main element the lesson revolves around. The teacher has to define what is the final goal he wants the students to achieve by the end of the lesson, for example, a grammar structure, a language function or vocabulary.

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Teaching Materials

A good lesson plan indicates what teaching aids will be used to make the lesson fun, captivating and to reinforce and support the teacher and course book. They can be traditional in the form of written papers (worksheets, flashcards, texts from magazines or newspapers, and so on) or more modern (computers, internet surfing, laptops, electronic notebooks, e-readers, computer educational games).

More Things to Consider

After the learning goal, anticipated problems is one of the most important ingredients in a quality lesson plan. In fact, flexibility is fundamental. This means, the teacher does not have to follow blindly what he wrote but he has to be ready to change everything to meet the needs of the students.

A certain degree of predictability is useful, to avoid boredom and tiredness. A lesson plan should be creative and vary from one day to the next.

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Anticipated Problems

Consequently, anticipated problems can help the teacher to be ready to face any setback during the lesson with practical solutions. For example, if the grammar lesson is going to be particularly difficult, a teacher could include as possible solutions a more intense study phase. The predictability anticipates not only the problems that students could raise but the ones the teacher might have to face because of impossibility to respect the lesson plan. Of course, this doesn’t solve the problems but in the majority of the cases helps to let the lesson flow.

The body of the lesson plan is the procedure. This part lists the different stages of the lesson, A typical ESL lesson plan has to be accurate in every step of the pattern chosen for the lesson. The teacher will give examples of the variety of activities at his disposal to warm the class up and keep the lesson alive and fun. Moreover, a good ESL teacher knows very well that the lesson has to be centered on the students’ communication reducing teacher and students' interaction to what is strictly necessary.

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So, the type of interaction ( T-S, S-S) is another component required together with timing. An experienced teacher knows very well that predicting how much time every single phase will take is important to achieve the learning goal. Timing has to be realistic and has to allow to include everything is in the plan.

Sometimes, a lesson plan might not produce the expected outcome. For this reason, another important characteristic to consider is self-evaluation. Teachers must evaluate their lesson to find out to what extent they have attained the aim of the lesson and what improvement can be appointed to develop teaching skills.

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In conclusion, a well-planned lesson should reflect the motivation of the teachers, their desire to make the learning experience enjoyable and worthy, a genuine interest in their students and passion for teaching.

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