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Top Tips for Designing an Effective Lesson Plan

Top Tips for Designing an Effective Lesson Plan | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Teachers who want to have good performance in class should have good lesson planning. Teachers should answer these questions before preparing lesson planning: what am I teaching? Whom am I teaching? How will I teach? And how will I know if the students understand?

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

Reasons to plan

Writing a lesson plan is very important for all teachers. A lesson plan helps the teacher to keep on target during the lesson. Writing lesson plans following each topic will create the connection of course. Teachers and students will not confuse when teaching and learning.

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Lesson Components

Following straight arrow ESA structure, good lesson planning should have 3 phases: Engage, Study and Activate phase.

In-Engage phase, it will have a warm-up activity. Warm-up activity is a short activity, game or song to start the class. Warm-up is used in every lesson, to help the student relax. Teachers should use warm-up activity to start a class to build a good rapport with students. Through the warm-up activity, students can concentrate on a lesson in the target language. The warm-up activity can be used to introduce a new topic or review a previous lesson. When teaching children (very young learners), teachers can use songs in the warm-up activity. The advantage when using songs to teach English for children is to enable memorization, easily teaching grammar points, vocabulary and listening skills. And what is the effective warm-up activity? It should be short, focus on student’s attention, relating to topic lesson, interesting and comfortable. In the warm-up activity, teachers can also give some topic questions to discuss and encourage students to think and share information, the knowledge that students have known.


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In the Study phase, teachers will elicit a new vocabulary, pronunciation. Teachers should write the new word on the board. It is more effective if it has a picture to illustrate a word. Students can learn easily and quickly through pictures. When teachers teach a new word, teachers should explain the meaning or definition of the word. To teach a new vocabulary effectively, drill techniques can be used. Teachers should pronunciation drill 3 – 5 times first, at this time, students listen carefully. Then, the whole class choral drill 3 times. To check pronunciation, teachers will collect randomly and check the student’s pronunciation. Whole class repetition 3-5 times before individuals or groups drilling. Teachers also need to prepare some activities to practice vocabulary and pronunciation. There are some types of activities in practice vocabulary such as gap-fill exercises, word search, crosswords, matching exercises or sentence building…

Besides teaching new vocabulary in the study phase, the teacher can teach a grammar point as well. This is the structure to teach a grammar point: meaning of grammar, usage – how to use it, forms and patterns, the way of spoken and written forms. After teaching a new grammar point, it should have an activity to practice grammar. It can be a conversation practice in pair work. So students can practice speaking by using a grammar point that they have just learned.

The last phase is to Activate. In this phase, students should be “student-centered”.Through activities, students can review vocabulary, grammar points, a new structure in the lesson. There are a lot of activities such as role-play, story building, debate, communication games, strip story.

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Teachers should prepare carefully a lesson plan to have a good presentation in class. A lesson plan should be simple, structure and flexible. The more carefully designed the lesson plan, the higher the success rate for the class.

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