Why Lesson Planning is a Key Tool for TEFL
As a non-native English speaker, I have experienced what is like to learn this wonderful language. Great instructors made a great impact on my learning because of the quality of lessons they deliver. A high-quality lesson cannot be taught as a master of improvisation. Planning is what made the difference from those wonderful teachers. Planning is also what helps me to have motivated students.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Andres G. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
I studied at a small public school in my hometown.
There weren’t native speakers of English working as ESL instructors. For instance, I thought that I would only learn English with a native speaker. I was wrong, after years of teaching these languages I came to learn that planning makes a huge difference. Most teachers of that school deliver lessons based on the translation. The typical activity was to read a paragraph then take the dictionary and find out the meaning of what you read, no warm up, no engaging, no drills, no games, no discussions. Lessons like those are the ones that don’t help the students to get motivation in learning the language. Most of my classmates hate the subject, they have to study anyway because they need a passing score.
At some point in our high school years my classmates and I started to love the subject, I didn’t hate it, by the way, I clearly remember that smiling instructor who always before starting the lesson had to make some jokes to catch our attention, that instructor who always had to check his small notebook to move on with the lesson. His lessons were very interesting, they truly motivated us to learn more.
As years passed by I came to understand that he did something the others didn’t. He took the time to plan his lessons. His small notebook was full of those great ideas and games. Improvisation was not his thing, he never told us but he always wanted to have a high-quality lesson. It was not necessary to tell because we all could feel it.
Planning is what makes a difference while teaching a class and even after it.
It starts with a diagnosis of who is being taught, why is being taught, and what is to be taught. The order, of course, can vary nevertheless careful planning makes the difference. Successful lessons have deep planning behind. They are not always the same as they change depending on the groups to be taught.
This tool has helped me to see myself how I have grown as an instructor.
Looking back at the planner instructors can see a vague initial plan for a first lesson and contrast it to a newly well-developed class. A never-ending source of activities, drills, games, and ideas to catch the attention of the students.
I am not perfect at planning, there is still a lot to do better. I cannot deny though that this tool has helped me a lot to be ready with plenty of choices and ideas in case something unexpected comes out from one of my students. Improvising should be avoided if ESL teachers want to have a high-quality lesson and even more if they want to motivate their students.
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