Lesson Planning for Adult Learners

  • Published on

  • View

  • Download


Lesson Planning for Adult ESOL LearnersOrange Campus Community Collaborative Training January 2007

Why lesson plan? Provides

meeting. Guides the tutor and the learner minimizing surprises can make a learner more comfortable. Allows the tutor and the learner to assess progress (strengths and weaknesses). Legitimizes the role of the tutor: you come prepared to help your learner.

a clear goal and a focus for the

Offers opportunity for guided practice of independent skill goals.

Articulates learning goals.

Starts with the familiar.

Begins with a review and ends with a summary.Relates to the learners interests and builds on the learners strengths.

Effective Lesson Planning

Builds on existing knowledge and skills.

Organizes the information, materials and goals.

Integrates listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Varies the content.

Adapted from resources prepared for the UNC America Reads! program and developed by Priscilla Wood.

Adult Learners:

Are different from children in experience and lifestyle:

Use materials appropriate for adults. Target themes, language and vocabulary for an adult audience. Let the learning environment tap into their creativity. Create lessons that respect and capitalize on their experiences. Use success as a motivator. Use materials that prepare adults for success (ie: job applications, GED test samples, writing resumes).

Have valuable life experiences:

Desire to be successful:

Are busy people:

Lessons and materials should be meaningful. Be efficient. Be direct and expect your learner to do the same.

Can have specific learning goals or may need suggestions and help with goal setting.

Help set short and long term goals. Use short term goal accomplishment to help adults stay motivated. Take into account issues of health (i.e: eyesight) that can influence how quickly a learner succeeds. Adapted from resourcesprepared for the UNC America Reads! program and developed by Priscilla Wood.

Can learn differently because of age and experiences:

Goal Setting (Assessment)Goal setting can be an informal assessment mechanism to use with your learner. The ability of a student to identify and articulate goals in English can indicate what level of literacy the learner has already achieved. Goal setting can be achieved through dialogue or by asking the learner to complete a simple form.Information on this and the next three slides is adapted from Teaching Adults: An ESL Resource Book published by ProLiteracy America.

Needs and Skills Assessment

NEEDS Assessment focuses on the learner background, interests, goals, immediate needs to help you determine what skills the learner needs (and what materials to use).Sample Needs Assessment Inventory: Name Homeland How long in the United States Family Jobs - in the United States and experience and work history in homeland Education Personal Interests Goals Reasons for learning English

SKILLS Assessment focuses on the level of literacy.

Skills Assessment Inventory

Skills assessment should occur 3 times: when a learner begins a program, during the program to check progress, and as the learner leaves the program.Reading


Understands you.

Understands simple directions.

Asks/ gestures for information to be repeated.

Reads his or her name.

Reads/ understands simple signs.



Speech is intelligible and fluent.

Pronunciation & intonation mimic American English.

Speech is grammatically accurate.

Holds a pen or pencil properly.

Writes his or her name with the Roman alphabet.

Fills in blank forms.

Creating a Lesson: Understanding the ProcessStep 1: Ask WHO?- Use information from the learner profile created during the needs assessment to develop individual learning objectives for the lesson (or the thematic unit).

Step 2: Ask WHAT?- Identify the vocabulary and skills needed to meet the learning objectives.

Step 3: Ask HOW?- Select materials and activities that will best demonstrate vocabulary and skills.

A Sample ClassStudentsRosa 23, Guatemalan, 2 years in the US, cleans rooms at a hotel, wants to teach kindergarten, married, nochildren. Rosa speaks enough English to be understood by coworkers and can read schedules and work materials. She likes to play soccer.

Lee Song - 45, Chinese, 5 months in the US, has an engineering degree, works as a assemblyman, married, 2children (12 and 8). He studied English in China and can read & write English but has difficulty with pronunciation and cannot be understood.

Marta - 66, Mexican, 10 years in the US, lives with her son and grandchildren (8,6, 2), wants to be able to helpwith their homework. Marta works part-time at a florists shop. She is understood in English but cannot read or write well.

Pablo 30, Brazil, two months in the US, no job, wants to help his family in Sao Paulo and prepare for them tojoin him in the US, he speaks little English and has difficult writing in Spanish and Portuguese. Pablo enjoys listening to samba music.

Materials in the LibrarySummer League Needs Coaches: Youth Soccer and Baseball a local news article Collaborations workbook Literacy Level (level 1 in the series) Oh, The Places Youll Go by Dr. Suess Sample questions from a TOEFL exam Classified ads Help Wanted

China Banks Open to Foreign Competition an AP news article Space Shuttle to Dock with Space Station an AP news article

How to Do Homework Without Throwing Up by T. Romain & E. Verdick a homework helper for kids and parents The Story of Helen Keller and Ann Sullivan Macy by Joseph P. Lash Music in Brazil by Jonathan Murphy

information and testing schedule from the NC Board of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors Chicken Soup for the Soul, to Grandma with Love by J. Canfield & M. Hansen

WhoRosaShort Term Goal: improve level of literacy Long Term Goal: enroll in teacher education program

WhatSummer League Needs Coaches; Sample TOEFL questions; The Story of Helen Keller and Ann Sullivan Macy

HowRead article, compare soccer vocab, get more info, apply for job. Sample questions assess her literacy level. Will help focus time and support college goal. The Story -thematic unit - to reading, speaking and writing skills. Analysis, talk about role of teachers, arrange classroom visits. Read article exercise to work on free conversation and speaking with a topic that is familiar. Oh the Places uses many rhymes and tongue twisters. Lee Song can practice sounds that are difficult with the goal of reading the story to his children. Information will help Lee prepare for the licensing exam topics, sample questions, etc. which will improve his job potential.

Lee SongShort Term Goal: improve pronunciation Long Term Goal: become a licensed engineer in NC

China Banks Open to Foreign Competition or Space Shuttle to Dock with Space Station Oh the Places Youll Go Information from the NC Board of Examiners

WhoMartaShort Term Goal: better communication with grandchildren Long Term Goal: better reading and writing skills

WhatOh the Places Youll Go How to Do Homework Chicken Soup for the Soul

HowOh the Places - a simple reading activity to help boost skills. Goal: read to the kids. Homework can be used to help Marta think of activities to use with her grandchildren. Trying them develop speaking skills. Chicken Soup can be used to develop LEA writing activities where Marta shares stories about her life and grandkids. Use the workbook to guide vocab and basic expressions. Use the unit on jobs. Use classified ads to practice job vocab and to select jobs Pablo is qualified for. Work on the application process. Music in Brazil chapter on samba or CD of samba music can develop an LEA activity for writing and reading. It is a topic Pablo enjoys and may feel more comfortable expressing himself about.

PabloShort Term Goal: employment Long Term Goal: English language literacy

Collaborations Classified Ads Music in Brazil

The preceding exercise was adapted from the Verizon Literacy Network online courses, Working with English Language Learners and Working with Adult Learners.

Step 4: Write the Lesson

Remember that good lesson plans have a variety of activities. Keep in mind:

Total Physical Response (TPR) is an activity that does not require a low level student to speak. He or she simply watches, listens, and mimics. Graphic organizers, media, and music can help illustrate vocabulary and concepts. Seeing something can be as important as learning to recognize the word. Activities can build on each other and on previously mastered skills. This is strengths based lesson planning. Adult instruction should build on the four basic areas: comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, and phonemic awareness/word analysis.

Information on this slide is adapted from Teaching Adults: An ESL Resource Book published by ProLiteracy America.

Practice! Group Group Group

1: Olin

2: Amaliya 3: Sachiko 4: Benito


Sample: Learner Profile and Lesson PlanMarisela Age: 34 Homeland: Tlaxcala, Mexico How long in the United States: 10 years Family: 2 sons, ages 11 & 14; family in Mexico Job in the United States: Housekeeping for local hospital (6 years) Work experience in homeland: housekeeper, factory work, house wife Education: completed secundaria para trabajadores (education for working students) and finished her formal education Personal Interests: music of Carlos Santana, fan of Universidad Nacional Pumas (ftbol), loves to cook (especially Goal (short term): to be able to speak with her sons teachers and to be able to speak more English at work Goal (long term): to enter a nursing education program and become a nurse at the hospital Reasons for learning English: to better communicate with family and community; for job advancement English skills: verbal communication more advanced than reading and writing. Has developed the English vocabulary to work and to survive in society.


View more >