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What Are the Best Tips for TEFL Lesson Plans?

By Mark Wollacott
Updated May 23, 2024
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The best tips for TEFL lesson plans include for the teacher to be well-prepared and flexible. Teaching English as a foreign language, or TEFL, is an inexact science at the best of times and this is especially true for teaching a second language like English. Being prepared means having clear objectives and knowing how to modify a lesson plan if it is not working. Teachers should review all lessons after the fact and get feedback from students.

Students learn in three different ways. Each student has different preferences for what works for him or her. Some students prefer to learn visually by seeing words. Others prefer to learn aurally by listening to works. Others learn in a kinesthetic way by using the words they learn.

TEFL lesson plans should make use of the four key skills in languages if possible. These are a student’s listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. Certain lesson plans can target one of these in particular, but it is important to vary the work during the class to keep the students interested and prevent boredom. Even lessons aimed at improving listening skills can improve the other three if the class TEFL lesson plans are well-prepared.

Grammar explanation is an important part of a lesson plan, but students respond poorly to being lectured to. Good TEFL lesson plans keep lecturing to a minimum. In its place, teachers can do activities that engage the students and make them more active.

TEFL lesson plans begin with a warmup activity. Such warmup activities either review the previous lesson's work or go over vocabulary and topics that will feed into the main theme of the new lesson. Speaking exercises, spot tests and short worksheets are most often employed for this.

The second stage of TEFL lesson plans introduces the subject of the class. Students respond well to question and answer sessions that engage them with the subject. These questions are often Socratic and open-ended. This means using questions like “Where did you buy your lunch?” rather than questions that end in a “yes” or “no” answers. Different classes are able to complete different numbers of questions; a good tip for TEFL lesson plans is for the teacher to prepare a list of questions.

Once introduced, the students learn about the phrase using a variety of tasks. These include both choral and singular speaking-repetition practices. These tend to be followed up with individual, pair or group practice tasks such as worksheets using filling in the blanks, compositions and word jumble activities. Students respond well to new tasks and do not like doing the same kind of activity over and over again.

Many TEFL lesson plans finish with a main task or activity. These can be either a fun game or a project such as a dialog, diary entry or poster. These tend to be done in pairs or groups and the teacher provides the outline, but lets the students be creative in their responses.

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