Unit4 Mod2

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  • 8/3/2019 Unit4 Mod2


    Unit 4 Lesson Planning

    Module 2 Lesson Stages and Plans

    At the end of this module you will:-

    a) understand the importance of adequate planning over a seriesof lessons

    b) understand the importance of planning stages and activitieswithin a lesson

    c) be aware of teacher and student roles at each stage

    d) be able to write a detailed lesson plan

    e) have considered ways to become a reflective teacher in yourfuture career

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    This is the final module of the course and you will be asked to submit a lessonplan for a full lesson - it will be time to show off what you have learnt. If you havebeen doing the course slowly you may find yourself leafing back through earliermodules to remind yourself of their content and relevance to lesson planning. Inany case, your mind should be making links between all you have learnt as youwork through these final sections.

    Your second task in this section is related to teacher development and howlearning continues after you finish the course. To misquote Whitney Houston:Learning to assess yourself is the greatest assessment of all.



    Lesson plans and lesson planning worry teachers a lot. Some even have lessonplanning dreams, where they leave their plan on the bus or it flies out of thewindow.. But lesson planning is not as scary as it seems.

    Think for a moment about going on holiday. When we are about to go on holidayhere are some questions we ask ourselves:

    How long do I have?Where is my holiday going to be and what do I want to do when I get there?

    How am I going to travel around and what do I need to take?

    Can you see already how a holiday is like a course of lessons? Then, havingmade a plan, when we arrive in the place we have chosen for our holiday we find:

    That something is more interesting than we thought or not as interestingThat we cannot get somewhere because there is no transportThat the weather is better or worse than we had expected.

    But if we plan well and have a guidebook, we are able to make changes without

    panicking or getting confused.

    SELF-CHECK 4:2 1

    Which parts of a holiday are like which parts of lesson planning?

    Unit 4 1 Module 2

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    Write the lesson planning point next to the holiday point it resembles.

    Holiday Lesson

    Something is more interestingthan we thought or not as


    Day to day changes in plans canbe made depending on students


    We cannot get somewherebecause there is no transport

    How am I going to get aroundand what do I need to take?

    That the weather is better orworse than we had expected sowe do different things.


    Where is the holiday going tobe and what do I want to dowhen I get there?

    How long do I have?

    1. Sometimes you cannot do what you planned to do because ofequipment problems.2. Timing of the course and each lesson.3. Questions about planning language and materials.4. Questions about long term planning of overall aims.5. Students can be unpredictable so we have to be able to adapt.

    There are different kinds of lesson planning to take into consideration:LONG TERM PLANNING (OVER A TERM OR YEAR)

    Study the book you are usingandcheck that you have the basic materials thatyou need and if materials are already prepared.

    Find out the aims of your school for this level of student

    Unit 4 2 Module 2

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    Are you supposed to concentrate on speaking more than reading? Is there aspecial exam?Think about timing - how long do you have? (including missed lessons forholidays, etc.)Divide your course up into sections in some way and give a period of time toeach one. This often goes with course book chapters. Try to stick to it and not

    race ahead or get behind.

    Units 1 and 2 The futureUnits 3 and 4 Past tenses and storytellingUnits 5 and 6 Likes and dislikesUnits 7 and 8 Descriptions


    Sections of work are sometimes called Schemes of WorkorUnits. There are a

    number of aims for a Unit of work and these may be in your course book, so readit!Some teachers just pick up the book and go on from where they left off lastlesson without thinking about the overall plan for the section. Heres why that isnot a good idea:

    Its boring for you and the students.

    Pages in the text book do not fit exactly into lessons and you will often haveunfinished exercises.

    The lessons may not have interesting and personalised materials to make linkswith real life.

    Students do not understand why they are studying certain things - just its in thebook.

    A spidergram could help you understand what is going on in a unit. Make one

    together when your class starts a new topic. Heres one on sport:

    Unit 4 3 Module 2


    2.Reading and grammar:Magazine biographies1.Speaking:

    Pair presentations on afamous sports personor sportPowerpoint. ?

    7.Project work:Preparingpresentation, wall


    3.Writing:Report on a sport -clear info and use ofbullet points

    6.Listening: Interviews -

    note taking,being a good listener

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    Remember also to consult the beginning of your course book. You often find adouble page spread with a clear idea of what is going on in each unit. And thereshould be a teachers book to go with your course to give you more help andadvice.


    You also need a plan for each day. Concentrate on having clearaims for every

    lesson. Write them at the top of your lesson notes. Write some of them on theboard, introduce them at the beginning of the lesson. Aims for a lesson can be allsorts of things:

    There are language aims-

    To introduce the present perfect used with for and since

    To revise number recognition to 100

    But there are other aims too:

    To improve speed reading of short texts

    Unit 4 4 Module 2

    5.Grammar:Commands andrules.

    Have to, must.Present perfecttense.

    4.Vocabulary:Sports and equipment,food and health

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    To investigate how and when we use dictionaries(study skill)

    To work together in different pairs

    (class atmosphere)

    Sometimes there are a teachers aims that are NOT shared with the class!

    To give Aisha more chance to answer questions(individual student)

    To improve timing and give homework clearly.(teachers personal development)

    There is very rarely one aim for a lesson, there are usually lots of different ones.And remember, if something unexpected comes up, you may have to changeyour aim. A lesson plan is not set in stone, it should be flexible.

    SELF-CHECK 4:2 2

    Have a look at these aims for lessons and sort them into the right columns:A couple have been done for you.

    Language Skills Study skills Classroom



    developmentA C

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    A) To introduce times of the day and greetings.

    B) Extensive reading of document for gist

    C) To introduce vocabulary notebooks and how to use them

    D) To work individually with Group 3 on handwriting problems

    E) To test new seating arrangement for group work

    F) To work on giving clearer instructions with gestures.

    G) To plan a first draft using bullet point system

    H) To revise expressions of intention using want to and going to

    I) To introduce web research for language study

    J) To encourage boy/girl pairwork in role plays

    COMMENT 4:2 2

    A and H are language aimsB and G are skills aimsC and I are study skills aimsE and G are about classroom dynamicsD and F are about development.

    They are all valid lesson aims.

    SELF-CHECK 4:2 3

    Here are three teachers talking about what they are going to do in their lessonstoday.For each one, decide whythey are doing this. What are the teachers aims?


    Unit 4 6 Module 2

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    Ive been talking and talking, explaining grammar too much in lessons recently.Today we are starting a new unit on Health and Fitness, so I have asked them tobring in information about what they ate for dinner last night. Ive got some foodflashcards ready and were going to look at the reading in the book about healthyeating and work in groups for a large part of the lesson. Ill also introduce

    information at the end about a poster project I want them to do.


    Im tired today so Im going to get them to draw some pictures of animals andcopy some information about them from this website I found. That should takethem an hour but if they finish early Ill get them to learn any vocabulary theyhave forgotten.


    Ive got up to page 47 and we finished the past tense last lesson so Im going toteach the present perfect tense today by doing exercises 3, 4 and 5. Then wecan copy the timeline in our books and do the pairwork on page 48. For writingpractice they can do exercise 6.

    COMMENT 4:2 3


    This teacher has been thinking about class dynamics and development andwants a change. She aims to encourage interaction/discussion before and duringthe reading and is planning a longer project so that they can work together onsome writing. It is all very practical and personal too and she has prepared arange of vocabulary cards. This teacher has planned well.


    Lets hope there are not too many lessons like this! This is a time filling lessonand does not have a clear aim or teach anything. The writing is only copying andthe drawing is not related to English. The teacher has not planned to focus onstudy skills for the vocabulary learning, so probably the students will just sit andtry to learn the words off by heart, which could be difficult. There is nointroduction or ending planned or mention of a sequence of lessons.


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    This teacher is practical and organised but relies on the book too much. There isa clear language aim relating to grammar, and some different skills work but theteacher is not thinking about much else. This lesson is all related to doing thingsbut not WHY we are doing them. There is no link with the past lesson. Theteacher said three sentences and after each of them we could ask her WHY?

    because she has not said why.


    Teaching language successfully to ESOL students is a complex processrequiring careful planning. The main purpose of your lesson is to teach

    'something' to your learners, and it is important to use a range of methods,materials and activities to ensure the lesson works. To help organise ourtime and the process of teaching, we need to think about including separatestages of the lesson:-

    1] Introduction/Warm up/Revision

    2] Presentation

    3] Practice and Production

    4] Plenary or whole class review


    To understand language use, language must be introduced in context, orin real-life situations. At the start of a lesson, it is useful to 'set the scene'by encouraging the class to think about a particular topic, or function; or by

    Unit 4 8 Module 2

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    brainstorming ideas onto the whiteboard, or by revising material from a previouslesson which will be useful for the lesson now. Some techniques we have lookedat include:

    Open questions, pre-reading and pre-listening questions, the use of picturestimulus, spidergrams, including input from the students to find out what they

    know, the use of key words on the board and so on. This gets students thinkingalong the right lines, focussing their attention ready for new material to bepresented, controlled by the teacher to set them on the right track.

    Remember, you do not always have to start a lesson cold. A good teacher (liketeacher 1 above) has got the students ready even BEFORE they come to alesson on a new topic by giving them a pre-study homework task. The benefits ofthis are many, but the advantage is most clearly seen when there is a big gapbetween lessons - for example if students come only once a week. Tasks andpreparation mean they keep thinking about English from one week to the next.


    At some point in the lesson you need to make sure that you clearlypresentlanguage that you want the students to focus on. This will be new language thatthey need to have explained to them with your help and guidance. Though weteach communicatively that does not mean that we leave the students inconfusion.

    New material can be presented straight away with clear explanations andexamples showing what the language means and how it is used. The targetlanguage is presented via a controlledmodel, such as a short written text, adialogue or a grammatical structure, so that students can see or hear the newlanguage as well as understanding its meaning and use. This provides a modelfor learners to copy and then use to produce their own language.

    If you use a real text to introduce language then the presentation is slightlydifferent. This is the idea of focussing. If you do this you present a text to yourstudents for comprehension and discussion and then ask them to focus on

    certain aspects of the language - relationship between the past tense and thepast perfect or how to express comparison. It is slightly different as thelanguage presentation may come further on in the lesson, but it is still there andshould still be a teacher-led section of the lesson.You can use group and pair work discovery techniques - where you givestudents the information and they work out the rules. After they have tried youcan clarify the rules for them and this will be your presentation stage.

    Harmer has good examples of the different ways this stage can be managed.

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    Practice consolidates the knowledge learners have hopefully gained from thepresentation stage of the lesson, providing them with the opportunity to use thelanguage meaningfully and successfully. The teacher's role here is to manage a

    range of activities which allow learners to try out the new language throughpairwork and groupwork. This can take the form of guided dialogues, role plays,information gap activities and problem solving. The practice can be for oral,reading or writing skills, with texts and other stimuli introduced which include thetarget language which can then be practised in a range of activity types -true/false comprehension questions, completion exercises, summarising, notingpros and cons for discussion and written work etc. Short written pieces using acertain style can be done and monitored carefully by the teacher - students canbegin to experiment in oral practice trying out the language they have focussedon. Teachers should use a range of practice activities. This will help prevent

    lessons becoming predictable and it also builds in the element of repetition but inan interesting way. The teacher initiates, manages and encourages at this stage,intervening whenever necessary and checking for errors. These can be focussedon later in the lesson.

    As the lesson moves away from teacher guidance to semi-free or free languageproduction by the student, we think of it in terms of language production. Thisproduction activity may take the form of a group solution to a problem [oral] or awritten task, or the use of a particular grammatical item [ie story in past tense ordescriptions of a person using adjectives/adverbs]. The final output by the

    student should meet the aims of the lesson with the teacher monitoring for errorsbut much more an observer than anything else at this stage. Here, the studentsshould be producing the target language with minimal, if any, teacherinterference.

    Always remember that you will not instantly have perfect production of languageby your students. A new item, especially an important one such as past tenseforms or personal pronouns needs a bit of thinking about and several weeks ofrevisiting by the students before they are secure. Whats more they will progessat different rates. Perfect production does not magically occur in every student at

    the same time! Your job is to make sure that they have a chance to experimentand learn through making mistakes. If you only ever do controlled practice,students do not have the chance to use what they know alongside what they arelearning to use.

    Practice and production should be seen as leading from one to the other. It is nouse springing a production task on students that you have not prepared them forthrough practice. For example, talking about what kind of movies you like doesnot lead immediately to students writing reviews of films. That is a different skill.

    Unit 4 10 Module 2

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    Directing someone around your school in controlled practice does not leadstraight to writing directions to your house as the vocabularyis completelydifferent. You cannot give students a biography of a famous dead person to studyand then expect them to write their own biography as the tenses are different forpeople still living.

    This is a common mistake among novice teachers and one you should watch outfor as you begin teaching.

    Unit 4 11 Module 2

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    It is extemely important that you end your class cleanly and with a refocussing onwhat the class have been doing.Some teachers do this very formally by talking with the class about what wehave been learning today or referring back to lesson aims written on the whiteboard. The students can see how the lesson has progressed and how theactivities are all linked.Some teachers have a short question and answer session in which the studentsgive their opinion on what they think they have learnt.In other lessons the whole class review may be longer. For example, if yourstudents have been writing letters in pairs or doing a discussion task in groupsthen you may wish them to present what they have done to the class.You also need this stage in the lesson to give your students a homework taskwhile they are clearly focussed on you!

    SELF-CHECK 4:2 4

    1. How does the role of the teacher change through an ESOL lesson asdescribed above?

    2. Match the parts of the lesson described to the four stages below.

    "I asked the class about the weather today, and we wrote somevocabulary on the board. Next, I gave out worksheets with picturesof the weather and days of the week, and as I played a listening ofthis week's weather forecast, students listened and matched the

    picture to the correct day. This was followed by pairwork, with aninformation gap activity in which students completed a weather map ofBritain. The final activity was a written description of the weather ineach season in their own country. Some of them read out what they hadwritten to the class. For homework I gave them a research task on theclimate in a range of different cities around the world so that we can preparea class display next lesson.






    Can you write aims for this lesson?TIME MANAGEMENT

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    This involves something we can call flexible planning. That means you planwhat is going to happen in a lesson but you are ready to change your mind ifsomething does not go quite as you had planned. If we plan very rigidly then thestudents do not have a chance to go over something if they do not understand ormove on quickly if they understand very fast. On the other hand if we are alwaysdistracted by trivia then the students will get frustrated as the aims of the lesson

    may not be fulfilled.Here are some common mistakes that teachers make.

    Teachers plan for 50 minutes of work in a 50 minute lesson.A 50 minute lesson is not 50 minutes long as the students have to get in and getorganised then pack up and get out of the room. More like 45 minutes,sometimes only 40.

    Teachers plan a 1 minute brainstorm activity.Never write things into your plan that take one minute. They always take longer!

    Have you thought about the time taken to draw the spidergram or write downstudent suggestions?

    Group work goes on a lot longer than planned.Teachers dont plan the time it takes to move the furniture and give instructions.You often see work in groups for 10 minutes on teachers plans, but 5 minutesof that may be getting organised!

    Students are not handing in their homework - they say they didnt write itdown.

    This is often the fault of the teacher who makes a lesson plan that does not allow5 minutes for discussing homework. It does not have to be at the end of thelesson, but could be half way through or even at the beginning. It is also a signthat there is probably not a clear plenary stage at the end of the lesson.

    You should have an if time activity to do if you finish too quickly.

    You should have a cut off point in the last activity in the lesson that is clear andorganised - not just finish that off for homework then.

    You should have a plenary before the end. If you have not finished the work,then stop at the cut off point and review. Give the homework in good time. Tellthe students clearly that you will continue with the work next lesson.

    SELF-CHECK 4:2 5 a

    You will see a lesson plan for a 50 minute lesson. It is not detailed as we are justconcentrating on timing.Can you spot 8 errors in this plan?

    Unit 4 13 Module 2

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    Warm up (whole class)Ask who has a pet.

    Our pets. Write up pets on board 5 minutes

    Review q forms : Pairs Ask and answer about the pets you haveat home

    5 minutes

    Individual Questions about pets on board Where/when /what. Copy questions into yourbook and answer them for your own pet.

    10 minutes

    Parts of animals bodies,vocabulary input with diagramon the board.

    Students repeat body parts: tail, ears,paws, as choral work.

    5 minutes

    Individual Draw a picture of pet and label it, similarto the diagram on page 45/ diagram onthe board..

    10 minutes

    Listening My pet - describing an animal. Text bookpage 46. Do exercises

    10 minutes

    Peer checking Students exchange books and check eachothers work. Give homework - finish off

    5 minutes

    COMMENT 4:2 5 a

    1. It is a very busy lesson plan. Students move from writing to speakingto drawing to listening. By the end of the lesson their desks will have booksand colour pencils and an exercise book on them, very messy.2. The lesson is too long! The teacher has presumed that he/she has 50minutes teaching time.3. The plan presumes everyone will do things at the same speed. This israrely true of a class. There will be people finishing early and others gettingbehind.4. There is no homework writing down or discussion time.5. There is no review, the lesson just stops and the teacher does notcheck work.6. It is not flexible. What if a child has more than one pet or no pets at all?7. Some timings are ambitious, eg individual work - only 10 mins?8. There are no if time activities or cut off points.

    SELF-CHECK 4:2 5 b

    Now look at the plan again. How has the plan changed and why?

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    COMMENT 4:2 5 b

    1. Copying down questions from the board has been removed.2. The free drawing activity has been left to the end of the lesson -

    homework. If the teacher gets through the lesson more quickly, she canbegin this in class time - if time activity.3. There is flexibility for people who do not have pets.4. The homework can be discussed5. There is a clear plenary.

    Flexible timing is written into the plan - the last 10 minutes could be 5 if there is aproblem.


    When planning a lesson you should look at what the students and the teacherwill be doing at different stages of the lesson. This is important so that youprepare a variety of FOCUS. That means the students are not facing the teacher,listening to the teacher all the time. We have discussed this in many different

    Unit 4 15 Module 2

    Warm up (whole class/pairs)Ask who has a pet and thenask answer questions inpairs

    Ask and answer about the pets you have athome. If you have no pets, talk about yourfavourite animal.


    Feedback Report back to class on what you have found outTeacher tells class about own pet and shows apicture.

    5 minutes

    Parts of animals bodies.Vocabulary input withdiagram on the board.

    Teacher draws the most common pet in theclass, eg cat. Students repeat body parts: tail,ears, paws, as choral work.

    5- 10minutes

    Listening My pet describing an animal. Text book page 46Do exercises and check answers in pairs/withteacher


    Give homework Looking at the diagram on page 45, draw apicture of your pet and label it. If you dont havea pet, favourite animal. Write three facts aboutyour animal under the picture and bring to nextlesson.

    5 minutes

    Plenary 10 review questions: oralWho has a pet tarantula? What do we call this

    part of the body?

    5 minutesand packup

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    sections of the course and it is fundamental to good lesson preparation andplanning.


    By using pairwork, students are encouraged with little, if any, teacher interference

    and have the chance to co-operate with other learners for the completion of agiven task. It is important that learners can cope with the practice tasks set[which must be linked to the language focus and presentation for the lesson]. Thematerials must be of a suitable level and the content must be motivating. Donttake ages setting up pairwork for the students to say: Is it a tomato? No it isnt, itis a pear. and so on. Give them something interesting to do. It is also importantto think about who to pair up. Work mixed ability into your pairwork with if timeactivities and cut off points as discussed above. Pairwork can be done easilyand quickly without moving the furniture about if you have set your classroom upin a communicative way - remember you can even do it if the furniture is



    Group work lends itself to a range of activities. Learners have the opportunity tocommunicate with others, in the target language, and group work can encouragestrong and weak learners to participate in discussions, debates and problem-solving activities. Flexible groupings can be extremely motivating for students.They start off in a set group, then split and re-form. For example, 3 groups of A, Band C are each given a part of a story to prepare orally [A - introduction, B - the

    plot, C - the ending] They then make 3 new groups, with A, B, and C students toput together a completed narrative. This encourages every student to participate,to learn from others in the group, to listen and to encourage, leading toconfidence, improved fluency and support for reading and writing tasks. Groupprojects are motivating, especially if there is a presentation plenary at the end orif work is to be displayed on the wall.Group work needs a clear task that will not be over in two minutes when youhave spent five minutes setting up and moving the furniture! And remember, aswe discussed in Unit 4 Module 1, not all groups have to do the same thing.

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    SELF-CHECK 4:2 6

    Here are some disadvantages in using pair work or group work activities in theESOL classroom. Fill in the column with suggestions of how to cope. Try to usethese key words in your answers.

    KEY WORDS: group roles, clear tasks, circulate, feedback, extension

    Disadvantage How to cope.The noise level may be quite high. Make sure students are seated close enough

    together so that they do not have to shout.

    Students may start using their mother tonguein a monolingual class.

    The teacher cannot listen to all of thestudents at the same time.

    Some students may do no work at all.

    Some students may finish more quickly thanothers.

    The focus is not on the teacher.

    Pairs may not like each other.

    The furniture is not set out in the right way.

    There is no control over what is going on inthe group.

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    Good planning means:

    1. Being aware of the time you, the teacher, have to deliver your lessonand to achieve your aims

    2. Specifying your aims for the lesson and how you intend to put over yourteaching point(s) in a coherent manner.

    3. Dividing your lesson up into stages.

    4. Being aware of what the students will be doing at each stage (reading,taking part in group/pair work, listening to a tape etc.)

    5. Choosing suitable situations and activities to exploit the teaching point(s).

    6. Being aware of which lexical items are likely to be used by the studentsin these situations. (prediction)

    Teachers may present the same teaching point in different ways. One teachermay make more use of a textbook than another who might only include textbookmaterial as a last resort. Planning inevitably involves rejection of ideas whateverthe source may be as well as acceptance of them. See Unit 3 Module 4.

    Lesson planning is not easy. Take it seriously right from the beginning and you

    will gradually understand its importance and it will become easier. Start off as alazy planner and you are cheating your students out of the chance to feel secureand succeed.

    Look at the following lesson plans as reference for producing your own.


    Study the lesson plans which follow, then completeTASK 1.

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    Level Intermediate Adults

    Lesson 1 1/4 hoursDuration

    Aims To practise the language used in recipes, followinginstructions, sequencing and talking about favouritedishes.

    Assumptions Recognition of Imperative form for instructionsFood vocabularyLanguage of sequencing [first, then, next ....]

    Expected Use of 'you must' rather than imperative form

    Problems Confusion of articles [Take a carrot , peel the carrot]

    Warm Up Bring a carrot or potato into the lesson. Ask students to suggesthow you could eat it.Then ask students about their favourite meat or vegetable.

    Put details on the board in 3 columns.

    Vegetables/meat How to prepare How to cook

    ie potatoes peel fryslice bake

    Input Tell the class that your favourite meal is Shepherd's Pie oranother food that you know how to prepare.Explain the process, putting the stages on the boardusing flashcards to help explain vocabulary [ie chop] orrealia, and using sequences [first, next ...] Limit to

    a maximum of 10 stages. Check that the group haveunderstood and can reproduce the instructions orally.

    SAMPLE LESSON PLAN ONE (continued)

    Practice 1 Hand out worksheets with pictures of various actions usedPair work when cooking [ie fry, mix, add]. Students match the verbs

    given to the pictures. They then complete a short passagebelow, putting the correct verb into the correct space to

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    complete the recipe. Teacher monitors.

    ie "Take two large potatoes. First ......... the potatoes, then........ them thinly and ........ gently in hot oil."

    Practice 2 Listening

    Individual Students listen to someone giving instructions on makingwork a Victoria Sandwich. The steps are given on a worksheet

    but in the wrong order. Students listen and put stages intothe correct order. Students check in pairs. Teachermonitors.

    Production Students in groups prepare the recipe for a simple dish,Groupwork possibly from one of their own countries. They discuss,

    then write down, the ingredients, and the steps involved,but also make a copy with details in the wrong order.

    These are then collected and handed out to differentgroups, who must rearrange the instructions into thecorrect order and produce their own version, finallycomparing it with the correct original.

    Teacher sets up the groups and possibly appoints group leaders. Teacher then monitors, noting errors for future revision work and helping with unknown vocabulary.

    Plenary Some ingredients/recipes read out to the class. Question andanswer on foods and ingredients. Revision of aims and keyterms plus mistakes/strong points from group work.

    Homework Students write down the recipe for a typical or favouritedish from their own country and bring it to the next lesson for walldisplay or for small leaflet of recipes (with samples of course, ifpossible!)

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    This is the scenario. A student has decided that he/she would like to attend aBritish university. Their standard of English is quite good but in order to get it upto university entrance standard they have decided to supplement school/collegelessons with a weekly one-to-one lesson. This is likely to be a fairly long term

    arrangement so you will get to know each other very well. As the selection of,and application to, a university can be a lengthy procedure, you have decided toconcentrate on this in the early stages.

    Level: Upper Intermediate.

    Lesson duration: 2 hours

    Aim: To guide student through a typical universityprospectus.

    Object: To enable the student to make an informed choicewhen applying for university entrance.

    Assumptions: Student has chosen his/her subject and has a longlist ofsuitable universities.

    Expected Student is unfamiliar with collating information fromproblems: a range of prospectuses and handbooks.

    Materials: Two or three prospectuses.Atlas/maps.Tourist brochures.Grid.

    Warm-up: General chat about everyday matters.(10 mins) This helps to build social skills and the

    vocabulary used when making small-talk. Since thelessons are only once a week, the student needs

    warming up.

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    SAMPLE LESSON PLAN TWO (continued)

    Introduction: Discuss with student what he/she might be looking(20 mins) for in a British university (other than a suitable course). Make

    a list together of key considerations.Allow student to lead the discussion as far as

    possible.[Teacher should have a list of suitableideas to prompt student if necessary].

    Look at geographical situation of the universities underconsideration. Look through tourist information.

    Presentation: Produce two or three prospectuses. Show how they all(15 mins) differ in layout. Begin to look at sections which address

    the particular concerns expressed in the Introduction. [Teacher's note: unlike a class situation where youhave prepared a lesson on a specific structure with

    pre-prepared materials, in this instance to a largeextent you are letting the student dictate the material tobe covered. Therefore it is important that you havefamiliarised yourself with all those aspects which youenvisage the student will want to discuss. Naturally of

    particular concern will be information for internationalstudents].

    Practice: Give student photocopied pages of information for(10 - 15 mins) International Students to read through and ask him/her

    to highlight anything he/she doesn't understand oritems of particular interest.

    [Teacher's note: try to anticipate problem areas andprepare remedial materials - keep note of key vocabularyneeded].

    Teacher: Whilst student is reading, put the kettle onand make a drink.

    B R E A K: Coffee and a chat. Once again let the student lead the(10 mins) way unless you have something specific you wish to

    discuss but keep it light. Possibly look more closelyat the tourist material to give the student an idea ofwhat is available in the vicinity of the university.

    SAMPLE LESSON PLAN TWO (continued)

    Practice: Go through the reading material and test

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    (20 mins) understanding. At this stage you can address anyproblems encountered

    Production: Introduce the idea of formulating a chart to enable(20 mins) the student to compare the pros and cons of several


    Using the pre-prepared grid, extract information tocomplete a comparison table. Get the student tosuggest suitable column headings.

    Suggestion for comparison table:


    No of foreignstudents

    Type(s) ofaccommodation

    English languagelessons/assistance



    East Anglia

    Homework: Read through other prospectuses and enter informationonto grid. Bring list of 10 key words or phrases to the lessonnext week.

    Now before you complete the Tutor-assessed task, read the Appendix entitledLesson Planning; this is an extract from The Practice of English LanguageTeaching, 3rd Edition, Jeremy Harmer, Longman.

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    Lesson planning is the art of combining a number of different elements into a coherent whole so that alesson has an identity which students can recognise, work within, and react to -whatever metaphor teachersmay use to visualise and create that identity. But plans -which help teachers identify aims and anticipatepotential problems -are proposals for action rather than scripts to be followed slavishly, whether they aredetailed documents or hastily scribbled notes.


    Before we start to make a lesson plan we need to consider a number of crucial factors such as the languagelevel of our students, their educational and cultural background, their likely levels of motivation, and theirdifferent learning styles. Such knowledge is, of course, more easily available when we have spent time witha group than it is at the beginning of a course. When we are not yet familiar with the character of a group,we need to do our best to gain as much understanding of them as we can before starting to make decisionsabout what to teach.

    We also need knowledge of the content and organisation of the syllabus or curriculum we are working with,and the requirements of any exams which the students are working towards.

    Armed now with our knowledge of the students and of the syllabus we can go on to consider the four main

    planning elements:

    i. ActivitiesWhen planning, it is vital to consider what students will be doing in the classroom; we have toconsider the way they will be grouped, whether they are to move around the class, whether they willwork quietly side-by-side researching on the Internet or whether they will be involved in a boisterousgroup-writing activity.

    We should make decisions about activities almost independently of what language or skills we haveto teach. Our first planning thought should centre round what kind of activity would be best for aparticular group of students at a particular point in a lesson, or on a particular date. By deciding whatkind of activity to offer them -in the most general sense -we have a chance to balance the exercisesin our lessons in order to offer the best possible chance of engaging and motivating the class.

    The best lessons offer a variety of activities within a class period. Students may find themselvesstanding up and working with each other for five minutes before returning to their seats and workingfor a time on their own. The same lesson may end with a whole-class discussion or with pairs writingdialogues to practise a language function or grammar point.

    ii. SkillsWe need to make a decision about which language skills we wish our students to develop. Thischoice is sometimes determined by the syllabus or the course book. However, we still need to planexactly how students are going to work with the skill and what sub-skills we wish to practise.Planning decisions about language skills and sub-skills are co-dependent with the content of thelesson and with the activities which the teachers will get students to take part in.

    iii. Language

    We need to decide what language to introduce and have the students learn, practise, research oruse. One of the dangers of planning is that, where language is the main focus, it is the first and onlyplanning decision that teachers make. Once the decision has been taken to teach the presentcontinuous, for example, it is sometimes tempting to slip back into a drill-dominated teachingsession which lacks variety and which may not be the best way to achieve our aims. But language isonly one area that we need to consider when planning lessons.

    iv. ContentLesson planners have to select content which has a good chance of provoking interest andinvolvement. Since they know their students personally they are well-placed to select appropriatecontent. Even where the choice of subject and content is to some extent dependent on a course

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    book, we can still judge when and if to use the course book's topics, or whether to replace them withsomething else. We can predict, with some accuracy, which topics will work and which will not.However, the most interesting content can be made bland if the activities and tasks that go with itare unimaginative. Similarly, subjects that are not especially fascinating can be used extremelysuccessfully if the good planner takes time to think about how students can best work with them.

    When thinking about the elements we have discussed above we carry with us not only the knowledge of thestudents, but also our belief in the need to create an appropriate balance between variety and coherence.With all of these features in mind we can finally pass all our thinking through the filter of practical reality,where our knowledge of the classrooms we work in, the equipment we can use, the time we have available,and the attitude of the institution we work in all combine to focus our planning on what we are actually goingto do. Now, as the figure below shows, we are in a position to move from pre-planning to the plan itself.

    Pre-Planning and the Plan

    The PlanHaving done some pre-planning and made decisions about the kind of lesson we want to teach, we canmake the lesson plan. This may take a number of different forms, depending upon the circumstances of thelesson and depending also, on our attitude to planning in general.

    The planning continuumThe way that teachers plan lessons depends upon the circumstances in which the lesson is to take placeand on the teacher's experience. Near one end of a 'planning continuum', teachers may do all the (vague)pre-planning in their head and make actual decisions about what to include in the lesson as they hurry alongthe corridor to the class. Those with experience can get away with this some of the time because they havea number of familiar routines to fall back on.

    Another scenario near the same end of the continuum occurs when teachers are following a course bookand they do exactly what the book says, letting the course book writers, in effect, do their planning for them.This is especially attractive for teachers under extreme time pressure, though if we do not spend timethinking about how to use the course book activities (and what happens when we do) we may run intodifficulties later. Effective coursebook use is more complex than this.At the very end of the planning continuum is the kind of lesson described by one writer as the 'jungle path',where teachers walk into class with no real idea of what they are going to do (Scrivener 1994b: 34-37); thusthey might say 'What did you do last weekend?' and base the class on what replies they get. They might askthe students what they want to do that day, or take in an activity to start the class with no real idea of whereit will lead them and their students. Such an approach is favoured by Mario Rinvolucri, who has suggestedthat instead of working to a pre-arranged plan, a teacher should be more like a doctor, basing treatmentupon accurate diagnosis. All classes and students are different, he argued, so to decide beforehand what

    Unit 4 2 Module 2

    Teachers knowledge of the students

    Teachers knowledge of the syllabus

    Activities Language skills Language typeSubject and


    Practical Realities

    The Plan

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    they should learn on a given day (especially when this is done some days before) is to confine them to amental structure and ignore the 'flesh-and-blood here-and-now learners' (Rinvolucri 1996).

    Experienced teachers may well be able to run effective lessons in this way, without making a plan at all.When such lessons are successful they can be immensely rewarding for all concerned. But more often theyrun the risk of being muddled and aimless. There is a real danger that if teachers do not have a clear idea oftheir aims and, crucially, if the students cannot or will not help to give the lesson shape, "then nothing usefulor meaningful can be achieved at all" (Malamah- Thomas 1987: 3). And though some students may enjoythe adventure of the jungle path, the majority will benefit both linguistically and psychologically from theforethought the teacher has given to the lesson.

    At the other end of the continuum teachers write formal plans for their classes which detail what they aregoing to do and why, perhaps because they are about to be observed or because they are required to do soby some authority.

    The vast majority of lesson planning probably takes place between these two extremes. Teachers mayscribble things in their notebooks, sometimes only noting the page of a book or the name of an activity.Other teachers may write something more complex. Perhaps they list the words they are going to need, orwrite down questions they wish to ask. They may make a list of the web sites they want students to visittogether with the information they have to look for online.

    We can represent this planning continuum diagrammatically in the following way:

    The actual form a plan takes is less important than the thought that has gone into it; the overriding principleis that we should have an idea of what we hope our students will achieve in the class, and that this shouldguide our decisions about how to bring it about. However, written plans (both sketchy and more detailed) dohave a secondary function as a record of what has gone on, and in the lesson itself they help to remindteachers of what they had decided to do, what materials they need, and how long they had planned to spendon certain activities.

    Making a planThe following example of making a plan exemplifies how a teacher might proceed from pre-planning to afinal plan.

    Pre-planning backgroundFor this lesson, some of the facts that feed into pre-planning decisions are as follows: The class is at intermediate level. There are 31 students. They are between the ages of 18 and 31. They are enthusiastic and participate well when not overtired. The students need 'waking up' at the beginning of a lesson.

    They are quite prepared to 'have a go' with creative activities. Lessons take place in a light classroom equipped with a whiteboard and an overhead projector.

    The overall topic thread into which the lesson fits involves forms of transport and different traveling environments. In the course book this will change next week to the topic of 'avoidable disasters'. The next item on the grammar syllabus is the construction should have + DONE. The students have not had any reading skills work recently. The students need more oral fluency work.

    Pre-planning decisionsAs a result of the background information listed above the teacher makes the following decisions:

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    Formal planJungle path Vague (corridor) plan

    Planning notesFollow the coursebook exactly

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    The lesson should include an oral fluency activity. The lesson should include the introduction of should have + DONE. It would be nice to have some reading in the lesson. The lesson should continue with the transport theme - but make it significantly different in some


    The planOn the basis of our pre-planning decisions we now make our plan.

    It should be emphasised that the following lists are not examples of any planning format since that is amatter of style unless we are planning formally (see below).

    The teacher has made the decision to have the students read the text about a space station, and buildactivities around this. The text does not come from their course book, but is one the teacher has usedbefore.

    The probable sequence of the lesson will be:

    1) An oral fluency activity with 'changing groups' in which students have to reach a decision about what2) five personal possessions they would take into space.3) Reading for prediction and then gist, in which students are asked to say what they expect to be in a

    4) text about a space station, before reading to check their predictions and then reading again fordetailed understanding.

    5) Ending the story, in which students quickly devise an ending for the story.6) New language introduction in which the teacher elicits 'should have' sentences and has students say

    them successfully.7) Language practice in which students talk about things they did or did not do, and which they should

    not or should have done8) A space job interview in which students plan and role-play an interview for a job in a space station.

    However, the teacher makes (or thinks of) a list of additional task possibilities, for example:

    Interview Cathy years later to find out what happened to her. Students write a 'newsflash' programme based on what happened. A short extract from a video on future space exploration. Students discuss the three things they would miss most if they were on a space station.

    The Formal PlanFormal plans are sometimes required, especially when, for example, teachers are to beobserved and/or assessed as part of a training scheme or for reasons of internal quality control. A formalplan should contain some or all of the following elements:

    Class description and timetable fit: a class description tells us who the students are, and what can beexpected of them. It can give information about how the group and how the individuals in it behave, as in thefollowing example:


    The students in this upper intermediate class are between theages of 18-31. There are 21 women and 10 men. There arePAs/secretaries, 5 housewives, 10 university students (3 of these

    are postgraduates), teachers, 2 businessmen, a musiciana scientist, a chef, a shop assistant and a waiter.

    Because the class starts at 7:45 in the evening, students areoften quite tired after a long day at work (or at their studies).They can switch off quite easily, especially if they are involved in

    a long and not especially interesting piece of reading, for

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    example. However, if they get involved they can be noisy and

    enthusiastic. Sometimes this enthusiasm gets a little out ofcontrol and they start using their first language a lot.

    Depending on the circumstances of the plan, the teacher may want to detail more information aboutindividual students, e.g. Hiromi has a sound knowledge of English and is very confident in her reading andwriting abilities. However, she tends to be rather too quiet in group-work, since she is not especially

    comfortable at 'putting herself forward'. This tends to get in the way of the development of her oral fluency.Such detailed description will be especially appropriate with smaller groups, but becomes increasinglydifficult to do accurately with larger classes.

    However, a record of knowledge of individual students gained through such means as observation,homework, and test scores is invaluable if we are to meet individual needs.We also need to say where the lesson fits in a sequence of classes (the before and after) as in the followingexample:


    The lesson takes place from 7:45 to 9pm on Tuesday andThursday evenings. In the past three lessons the students have

    been discussing the issues of journeys and travelling - how peopleadapt to different travelling environments. They have listened to

    an interview with someone who lives in a bus and travels aroundthe country looking for places to park it. They have been lookingat vocabulary and expressions related to travelling. They have

    revisited a number of past tenses, including hypothetical past(third) conditionals ('If he hadn't lost his job, he wouldn't have

    sold his house'). Next week the class will start working on a'crime and punishment' unit with includes a courtroom role-play

    with work on crime-related lexis, and passive constructions.

    We will also include information about how the class has been feeling and what kind of activities they havebeen involved in (eg: controlled or communicative, pair-work or group-work). All these factors should haveinfluenced our planning choices for this lesson.

    Lesson aimsThe best classroom aims are specific and directed towards an outcome which can be measured. If we sayMy aim is that my students should/can... by the end of the class, we will be able to tell, after the lesson,whether that aim has been met or not. Aims should reflect what we hope the students will be able to do, notwhat the teacher is going to do. An aim such as to teach the present perfect is not really an aim at all-except for the teacher.A lesson will often have more than one aim. We might well say, for example, that our overall objective is toimprove our students' reading ability, but that our specific aims are to encourage them to predict content, touse guessing strategies to overcome lexical problems, and to develop an imaginative response to what they

    encounter.Aims can be written in plans as in the following example:


    1. To allow students to practise speaking spontaneously and fluently about something that may2. provoke the use of words and phrases they have been learning recently.

    3. To give students practise in reading both for gist and for detail.4. To enable students to talk about what people have 'done wrong' in the past, using the 'should (not)

    have' + 'done' construction.

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    5. To have students think of the interview genre and list the kinds of questions which are asked in

    such a situation.

    Activities, procedures, and timingThe main body of a formal plan lists the activities and procedures in that lesson, together with the times weexpect each of them to take. We will include the aids we are going to use, and show the differentinteractions which will take place in the class.

    When detailing procedure, 'symbol' shorthand is an efficient tool to describe the interactions that are takingplace: T=teacher; S=an individual student; TC=the teacher working with the whole class; S,S,S=studentsworking on their own; SS=students working in pairs; SSSS=students in discussion with other pairs;GG=students working in groups, and so on. The following example shows how the procedure of an activitycan be described:

    Activity/Aids Interaction Procedure Time

    1 Group decisionmaking

    Pen and paper

    a TC

    B S,S,S

    c SS

    d SSSS


    e TGG

    T tells students to list five thingsthey would take into space with


    SS make their lists individually

    In pairs students have to negotiate

    their items to come up with ashared list of only five items to

    take to a space station

    Pairs join with other pairs. The newgroups have to negotiate their itemsto come up with a shared list of only

    five items to take to a space station

    The T encourages groups to comparetheir own lists






    Specific language that is to be focused on should also be included, as in this example:

    Activity/Aids Interaction Procedure Time

    4 Language study

    Space station


    a TC T elicits sentences based on theprevious problem identificationsession e.g. She shouldnt havebeen rude to Cathy.

    She should have looked at therecord book.

    She should have told the otherswhere she was going.


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    b TS,S,S T has students say the sentences,

    and may do individual/class workon the pronunciation of theshortened form

    / v/

    e.g.shouldve, and

    / nt v/

    shouldnt have.


    Problems and possibilities: a good plan tries to predict potential pitfalls and suggests ways of dealing withthem. It also includes alternative activities in case we find it necessary to divert from the lesson sequencewe had hoped to follow. When listing anticipated problems it is a good idea to think ahead to possible

    solutions we might adopt to resolve them, as in the following example:

    Anticipated problems Possible solutions

    Students may not be able to think

    of items to take to a space stationwith them for activity 1

    I will keepmy eyes open and

    go to prompt any individualswho look vacant or puzzled

    with questions about whatmusic, books, pictures, etc.

    they might take

    Students may have trouble

    contracting should not have inactivity 4

    I will do some isolation and

    distortion work until theycan say/ nt v/

    Where we need to modify our lesson dramatically, we may choose to abandon what we are doing and usedifferent activities altogether. If our lesson proceeds faster than we had anticipated, on the other hand, wemay need additional material anyway. It is therefore sensible, especially in formal planning, to list additionalpossibilities, as in the following example:


    Extra speaking: If some groups finish first they can quickly

    discuss what three things from home theywould most miss if they were on a spacestation.

    News broadcast: Students could write an earth 'newsflash'giving news of what happened at the space

    station starting 'We interrupt this programmeto bring you news of...

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    Video clip: If there's time I can show the class an

    extract from the 'Future of SpaceExploration' programme.

    Interview plus: Interview Cathy years later to find out whathappened to her.

    Planning a sequence of lessons

    Planning a sequence of lessons is based on the same principles as planning a single lesson, but there are number ofadditional issues which we need to pay special attention to: Before and duringHowever carefully we plan, in practice unforeseen things are likely to bare themselves during the course of alesson, and so our plans are continually modified in the light of these. Even more than a plan for anindividual lesson, a scheme of work for weeks or months of lessons is only a proposal of what we hope toachieve in that time. We will need to revisit this scheme constantly to update it.

    Short and long-term goalsHowever motivated a student may be at the beginning of a course, the level of that motivation may falldramatically if the student is not engaged or if they cannot see where they are going -or know when theyhave got there. In order for students to stay motivated, they need goals and rewards. While a satisfactorylong-term goal may be 'to master the English language', it can seem only a dim and distant possibility at

    various stages of the learning cycle. In such circumstances students need short-term goals too, such as thecompletion of some piece of work (or some part of the programme), and rewards such as success on small,staged lesson tests, or taking part in activities designed to recycle knowledge and demonstrate acquisition.

    When we plan a sequence of lessons, we need to build in goals for both students and ourselves to aim at,whether they are end-of-week tests, or major revision lessons. That way we can hope to give our students astaged progression of successfully met challenges.

    Thematic strandsOne way to approach a sequence of lessons is to focus on different content in each individual lesson. Thiswill certainly provide variety. It might be better, however, for themes to carry over for more than one lesson,or at least to reappear, so that students perceive some coherent topic strands as the course progresses.With such thematic threads we and our students can refer backwards and forwards both in terms of

    language - especially the vocabulary that certain topics generate -and also in terms of the topics we askthem to invest time in considering.

    Language planningWhen we plan language input over a sequence of lessons we want to propose a sensible progression ofsyllabus elements such as grammar, lexis, and functions. We also want to build in sufficient opportunities forrecycling or remembering language, and for using language in productive skill work. If we are following acourse book closely, many of these decisions may already have been taken, but even in such circumstanceswe need to keep a constant eye on how things are going, and with the knowledge of 'before and after'modify the programme we are working from when necessary.

    Language does not exist in a vacuum, however. Our decisions about how to weave it through the lessonsequence will be heavily influenced by the need for a balance of activities.

    Activity balanceThe balance of activities over a sequence of lessons is one of the features which will determine the overalllevel of student involvement in the course. If we get it right, it will also provide the widest range of experienceto meet the different learning styles of the students in the class.

    Over a period of weeks or months we would expect students to have received a varied diet of activities; theyshould not have to role-play every day, nor would we expect every lesson to be devoted exclusively tolanguage study (in the ways we described it in Chapter 11). There is a danger, too, that they might become

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    bored if every Friday was the reading class, every Monday the presentation class, every Wednesday wasspeaking and writing. In such a scenario the level of predictability may have gone beyond the sufficient tothe exaggerated. What we are looking for, instead, is a blend of the familiar and the new.

    Planning a successful sequence of lessons means taking all these factors into consideration and weavingthem together into a colourful but coherent tapestry.

    Using lesson plans

    However carefully we plan and whatever form our plan takes we will still have to use that plan in theclassroom and use our plans as records of learning for reference.

    Action and reactionPlanning a lesson is not the same as scripting a lesson. Wherever our preparations fit on the planningcontinuum, what we take into the lesson is a proposal for action, rather than a lesson blueprint to be followedslavishly. And our proposal for action, transformed into action in the classroom, is bound to 'evoke some sortof student reaction' (Malamah- Thomas 1987: 5). We then have to decide how to cope with that reaction andwhether, in the light of it, we can continue with our plan or whether we need to modify it as we go along.

    There are a number of reasons why we may need to modify our proposal for action once a lesson is takingplace:

    Magic momentsSome of the most affecting moments in language lessons happen when a conversation developsunexpectedly, or when a topic produces a level of interest in our students which we had not predicted. Theoccurrence of such magic moments helps to provide and sustain a group's motivation. We have to recognisethem when they come along and then take a judgment about whether to allow them to develop, rather thandenying them life because they do not fit into our plan.

    Sensible diversion: another reason for diversion from our original plan is when something happens whichwe simply cannot ignore, whether this is a surprising student reaction to a reading text, or the suddenannouncement that someone is getting married! In the case of opportunistic teaching, we take theopportunity to teach language that has suddenly come up. Similarly, something might occur to us in terms oftopic or in terms of a language connection which we suddenly want to develop on the spot.

    Unforeseen problems: however well we plan, unforeseen problems often crop up. Some students may findan activity that we thought interesting incredibly boring; an activity may take more or less time than weanticipated. It is possible that something we thought would be fairly simple for our students turns out to bevery difficult (or vice versa). We may have planned an activity based on the number of students we expectedto turn up, only to find that some of them are absent. Occasionally we find that students have already comeacross material or topics we take into class, and our common sense tells us that it would be unwise to carryon.

    In any of the above scenarios it would be almost impossible to carry on with our plan as if nothing hadhappened; if an activity finishes quickly we have to find something else to fill the time. If students cannot dowhat we are asking of them, we will have to modify what weare asking of them. If some students (but not all) have already finished an activity we cannot just leave those

    students to get bored.

    It is possible to anticipate potential problems in the class and to plan strategies to deal with them. Buthowever well we do this, things will still happen that surprise us, and which, therefore, cause us to moveaway from our plan, whether this is a temporary or permanent state of affairs.

    However well we plan, our plan is just a suggestion of what we might do in class. Everything depends uponhow our students respond and relate to it. In Jim Scrivener's words, 'prepare thoroughly. But in class, teachthe learners -not the plan' (Scrivener 1994b: 44).

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    Plans as records and research toolsWritten plans are not just proposals for future action; they are also records of what has taken place. Thus,when we are in the middle of a sequence of lessons, we can look back at what we have done in order todecide what to do next.

    Since we may have to modify our lessons depending on student reactions we need to keep a record of howsuccessful certain activities were to aid our memory.

    A record of lessons can also help colleagues if and when they have to teach for us when we are absent.

    Our original written plans will, therefore, have to be modified in the light of what actually happened in theclasses we taught. This may simply mean crossing out the original activity title or course book page number,and replacing it with what we used in reality. However, if we have time to record how we and the studentsexperienced the lesson, reflecting carefully on successful and less successful activities, not only will this helpus to make changes if and when we want to use the same activities again, but it will also lead us to thinkabout how we teach and consider changes in both activities and approach. Lesson planning in this wayallows us to act as our own observers and aids us in our own development.


    TASK 1

    And now the big one.You have had a great deal of input on how to organise lessons, what needs tobe taken into consideration, how language works, what students are like andso on. Your task is to prepare a lesson plan to teach a group of ESOLstudents a structure of your choice.

    You should:

    Indicate the language focus, aims and level of the lesson.Clearly indicate rough timing of the lesson. It should be 45 minutes or more.Show clearly different stages of the lesson and indicate the role of the teacherat each of these stages.Include any worksheets, reading texts or other materials that you plan to use,so that these may be assessed.

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    Include different types of grouping and activities in your lesson.Say what the last lesson might have been and what a follow up lesson mightbe.Show that you have a clear idea of how the language point you are teaching isused.


    This part is all about the support that is available for you. As an EFL teacher inthe 21st century you are part of a global community and you should never feellonely!

    The INTESOL course is finished but your life as a teacher is not finished.Some of you on this course are already teaching in classrooms, some of youare about to start and others of you may be doing private lessons. Whateveryou are doing you must never stop looking for ways to improve your teachingand learning throughout your professional life. You do not know all there is to

    know about teaching, nor do the INTESOL team. Be a lifelong learner!


    The most important person for ensuring that you develop as a teacher is youyourself. Always reflect on your lessons and be prepared for change andexperimentation.

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    Some teachers keep a teaching diary where they note things down on aregular basis. They may keep a record of how they feel about their lessons,any good ideas they had, any lessons that didnt go well and other details.Teachers who keep diaries report that they are an excellent way of focussingyour mind on what goes on in your classes and they can be organised as youwish.


    They are always around, but it is surprising how often teachers in the samestaffroom do not talk to each other very much!

    It is very easy for a non-sharing atmosphere to develop among colleagueswho are pressed for time and feeling insecure about their teaching. Staffrooms become competitive and teachers keep all their best ideas tothemselves. If this atmosphere develops or has already developed in the place

    where you go to work, then try to change it little by little. Make a notice boardwhere teachers can pin up their new ideas. Suggest adding a five minute newidea of the week section to staff meetings. Individually ask colleagues forassistance. Perhaps you have just thought of a new teaching activity whichlooks good. It may look perfect to you, but your colleague could help youdevelop the idea. Explaining an idea to a colleague is very useful practice forexplaining to learners - if your colleague cannot follow the activity thenprobably the learners wont either! Similarly, if you have been having aproblem with a few of the learners, dont be afraid to say so to a colleague.You may find that he/she had the same problem with the same learners last

    year. You can brainstorm a solution together! When you have a goodrelationship with colleagues, ask if you can sit in on their lessons. This is agood way to make yourself aware of the varied techniques that teachers useand you will definitely pick up some new tips.Experienced colleagues, often with positions such as Senior Teacher or Headof English can be very helpful and reassuring and are often more availablewhen you want to ask for help as their teaching load is less. However, if yourSenior Teacher always looks busy and harassed then make a formalappointment to see them! Ask them to observe your lessons informally and togive you their advice, dont wait for formal assessments!


    Two words to set the hearts of teachers quivering. But lesson observation is avery important part of development if it is handled well.

    1. Show your proposed lesson plan for your observation to othercolleagues and listen to their suggestions.

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    2. Do not be overly ambitious and try to reinvent the wheel. AsINTESOL trainers we have seen teachers going crazy with endlessflashcards that end up on the floor, activities that are incomprehensible,video clips that are too complicated and so on and the ensuing lesson isa muddle.3. Dont suddenly spring new techniques on your students just because

    your boss is coming in. They will not understand what you are doingand you will make them nervous too.4. Include a clear language teaching point in your observation so thatthe observer understands that you can teach language.5. Most of all listen to what the observer tells you. Observers are nothostile people who want to fire you; they are there to make sure that youare coping in your classroom and that the students are getting a goodexperience.

    Not all goes smoothly in teaching. Sometimes you can feel that the students

    are restless or uneasy. It may be time to get them involved in feeding back orevaluating what they are doing and how they see you as a teacher.

    SELF-CHECK 4:2 7

    You want to find out what your learners think of :

    1. You as a teacher

    2. The teaching styles and activities you use3. The course or4. Any lessons in particular

    How many ways can you think of for doing this?

    COMMENT 4:2 7

    The simple two word answer here is ask them. But it is howyou ask themthat is interesting. Read on.

    You care about whether you are doing well or badly. It is very important for ourprofessional development that we do not sit back and presume that we aredoing everything right, or alternatively, plod on, depressed and thinkingeverything we do is wrong! Ask the learners.


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    Take an activity that you might wish to change in some way. Give out aquestionnaire (example shown below), after the activity/lesson and ask thelearners to tick the appropriate boxes. Tell them that you do not want theirnames on the paper and while they are filling in the questionnaire, stay at yourdesk to ensure their privacy. You can also tell them why you are using these

    questionnaires: to develop your techniques, to help them learn better etc. Findtime in the next lesson to talk to them about the results.Most of you enjoyed the roleplay, but you didnt think the competitive find theinformation was very useful.

    Using the results of the questionnaire, you can locate points in the lessonwhich were effective and those that were not very effective from the learnerspoint of view.

    However you get the information and whatever it is, use it and share it.

    You can also organise discussions with students about their learning. It canwork well if you leave the room for 5 minutes to allow them to discuss pointsthey want to raise and write them on the white board. You can then return anddiscuss them. But you must be able to accept what they say and not get angryif they give their honest opinion of your ability with flashcards or yourpunctuality! Feedback is usually very valuable indeed as it clears the airs ofany little points that are worrying the students and usually they have nicethings to say about you as well.


    Seminars and conferences are where you can pick up some of the latestdevelopments in ELT and useful ideas for teaching. It is also fun to makecontact with nationally or internationally recognised people in ELT. Many bignames in teaching, including the writer of your course text book JeremyHarmer, can be found at conferences. Your access to such events will

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    Please fill in the questionnaire about todays lesson/ an activity:Number the following stages: 1= very interesting/ useful

    5= not interesting/not usefulThe brainstorming before reading the text: Guess the titleThe skimming activity: 3 minutes to change your title

    The scanning activity: Who can find the information first?The careful reading: Who was where at the time of the murder?The roleplay: Act out one of the possible versions of the murder (groups)Any suggestions/comments?

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    depend on where you live and how much money you have available to travel,but most big conferences also post their proceedings on the Web these days,so you can catch up on events you missed.The International teachers and educators group IATEFL hold a big conferenceeach year and have groups in many countries. Their contact details appear ontheir website.


    Books are wonderful friends, especially for those of you who do a lot of privateteaching and do not have as many colleagues. Harmer gives a comprehensivelist of useful titles and INTESOL has a short list too. Books are great sourcesof ideas, but dont neglect the journals, newspapers and magazines that arealso around. Harmer mentions one or two major publications that you mightlike to subscribe to. The EL Gazette is a lively newspaper format publicationlooking at new developments in ELT and with plenty of information on study

    opportunities. That brings us to the web. There are hundreds of ELT websites;some are small ones that teachers have set up their own and some are hugeorganisations. Obviously new ones are developing all the time. Approach webmaterials with care as they are not always very professional but there arewonderful ideas out there. You may already have a favourite site.


    The most obvious next step up in terms of training and qualifications is aDiploma in English Language Teaching when you have had some more

    experience. Such a course goes into linguistics and developments inmethodology in more depth and takes a serious look at such issues asphonology and culture in ELT. The more years you have behind you, the moreyou bring to a course at that level. When you feel up to the challenge, youmight also look at the many university run MA programmes, some of whichcan be done by distance.

    On the other hand you may want to specialise and take a course in TeachingYoung Learners. There are also courses for special qualifications, such as theCertificate in Teaching English for Specific Purposes.

    So development does not end after the course. There are many options opento you and many opportunities that you can create for yourself and yourcolleagues.Your final task for this course is designed to focus forwards to your futuredevelopment.

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    Now consider the following extract:

    What teachers do next

    In her course for language teachers, Penny Ur discussed the difference between teachers 'with 20 years'experience and those with one year's experience repeated 20 times' (Ur 1996: 317). Naturally we admire the

    first teacher and disapprove of (or sympathise with) the second. Nothing could be more deadening for a

    teacher than 20 years of repetition, especially in the interactive and dynamic world of the classroom. Our

    students, too, deserve teachers who are alive to the possibility of change and who keep up-to-date with

    what is going on, not only in the world of English language teaching, but also in the world at large.

    The truth, however, is that no matter how much we enjoy meeting new students at the beginning of a new

    course, it is sometimes difficult to maintain a sense of excitement and engagement when using the same old

    lesson routines or reading texts time after time. The increasing predictability of student reactions and

    behaviour can - if we do not take steps to prevent it - dent even the most ardent initial enthusiasm. Teaching

    should be different from this, though. It can and should be a permanent process of change and growth.

    At the beginning of our careers we go on teacher training courses where we are taught what to do. It is as

    our careers develop, however, that instead of being trained (or in addition to be trained), we should seek to

    develop ourselves and our teaching.

    Teacher development means many different things to different people. Brian Tomlinson suggests that in a

    teacher development approach teachers are given new experiences to reflect and learn from (Tomlinson

    2003). For him, the best of these tools is to involve teachers in writing teaching materials since when they do

    this they have to think carefully about what they want to do, why they want to do it and how to make it

    happen. Bill Templer, on the other hand, thinks that 'we need to hold up mirrors to our own practice, making

    more conscious what is beneath the surface' (Templer 2004). Paul Davis says that 'as development

    becomes more powerful, the role of the trainer will become less important' (Davis 1999). Sandra Piai was

    extremely impressed to hear a participant in a teacher development workshop say 'You can train me, and

    you can educate me, but you can't develop me - I develop' (Piai 2005: 21).

    Reflection paths

    Holding up mirrors to our practice (in Templer's words - see above) means being a reflective teacher. In

    other words, we need to think about (to reflect on) what we are doing and why. Some reflection is simply a

    matter of thinking about what is happening in our lessons (and our lives) as we take the metro home from

    work, but there are a number of more organised ways of doing this.

    Keeping journals

    One way of provoking self-analysis and reflection on our teaching is by keeping our own journals in which

    we record our thoughts about our teaching and our students. Journals arepowerful reflective devices whichallow us to use introspection to make sense of what is going on around us.

    Journal-writing is powerful for two main reasons. In the first place, the act of writing the journal forces us

    to try to put into words thoughts which, up till then, are inchoate, offering, in this condition, little chance for

    real introspection. Secondly, the act of reading our own journals makes us engage again with what we

    experienced, felt or worried about. As a result of this re-engagement, we might quite possibly come to

    conclusions about what to do next.

    Negative and positive

    If real development can only come from within, then it is by looking inside ourselves and seeking to

    understand or change what we find there that is likely to be the most effective way of moving forward and

    making things better.

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    Linda Bawcom, in an article devoted to preventing stress and countering teacher burnout, suggests

    making lists and seeing what they tell us. For example, we might draw up a list of professional priorities,

    such as the one in Figure 1. In the left-hand column we say what actually happens by numbering the items

    1-12. Then, in the right-hand column, we re-prioritise the items as we would like them to be. The difference

    between the reality and what we wish for gives us the beginnings of a development plan.

    Recording ourselves

    Another way of reflecting upon our own teaching practice is to record ourselves. Bill Templer (see above)

    suggests using a cheap tape recorder which we can leave running during the lesson. When the lesson is

    over, we can listen to the tape to remind us of what went on. Frequently, this will lead us to reflect on what

    happened and perhaps cause us to think of how we might do things differently in the future.

    Many teachers have derived benefit (and some surprise) from having their lessons filmed.

    Watching ourselves at work is often slightly uncomfortable, but it can also show us things which we were not

    aware of.

    Professional literature

    There is much to be learnt from the various methodology books, journals and magazines produced for

    teachers of English. Books and articles written by teachers and theorists will often open our eyes to new

    possibilities. They may also form part of action research or 'search' and 'research' cycles (see below), either

    by raising an issue which we want to focus on or by helping us to formulate the kinds of questions we wish

    to ask.

    There are a number of different journals which cater for different tastes; whereas some report on

    academic research, others prefer to describe classroom activities in detail, often with personal comment

    from the writer. Some journals impose a formal style on their contributors, whereas others allow for a variety

    of approaches, including letters and short reports. Some journals are now published exclusively on the

    Internet, while others have Internet archives of past articles.When teachers join professional teacher organisations, they often receive that organisation's journal or

    newsletter. Members of special interest groups (such as the Teacher Development Special Interest Group -

    TD SIG of IATEFL) will also get publications for that SIG. These newsletters and journals are a valuable

    way of keeping in touch with what is going on in the world of English language teaching. Not only do they

    inform us about new developments and ideas, but they also keep us in touch with colleagues whose

    concerns, it soon becomes apparent, are similar to ours.

    Action research

    This starts when we identify an issue we wish to investigate. We may want to know more about our learners

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    and what they find motivating and challenging. We might want to learn more about ourselves as teachers -

    how effective we are, how we look at our students, how we would look at ourselves if we were observing our

    own teaching. We might want to gauge the interest generated by certain topics or judge the effectiveness of

    certain activity types. We might want to see if an activity would work better done in groups rather than pairs,

    or investigate whether reading is more effective with or without pre-teaching vocabulary. We might want to

    find out why something isn't working.

    Whichever of these issues we choose, we will want to formulate questions we want answered so that we

    can decide how we are going to gather data. Having collected the data, we analyse the results, and it is onthe basis of these results that we decide what to do next. We may then subject this new decision to the

    same examination that the original issue generated (this possibility is reflected by the broken line in Figure

    2). Alternatively, having resolved one issue, we may focus on a different problem and start the process

    afresh for that issue.

    Gathering data

    In order for our inquiry or case study to be effective, we have to gather data. There are many ways of doing

    this, but two of them have already been mentioned above. For example, we might decide to keep a journal

    about one specific aspect of teaching (e.g. what happens when students work in groups) and write entries

    about this at the end of every day's teaching. After, say, 14 days of this, we will have a lot of evidence.Alternatively, we might record ourselves (or have ourselves filmed) doing particular tasks so that we can

    assess their effectiveness. But there are other data-gathering methods, too.

    Observation tasks: we can design data-gathering worksheets which are easy to use, but which will

    give us valuable information. For example, we could have a list of student names in a column.