The English language is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. There is a great demand among students to learn English for various reasons. English speakers are being sought in ESL classes to help teach the language skills. People want to learn English as a foreign language.

English learners are flocking to language courses to improve conversational skills, writing skills, English reading, English pronunciation, to learn American English and pick up new words.

Once you have attracted a considerable number of students for your English tuitions, consider two key factors while organizing an English lesson/ English class - the duration of the lesson and the activities you want to include. Use your limited time wisely, ensure that the activities you design and include are well within the grasp of your students.

The Basics of a Lesson Plan for Teaching English

It takes time, dedication and an understanding of the learning objectives of your students as well as their abilities to come up with an effective lesson plan. The fundamental goal of any teaching methodology is to motivate the students to absorb and retain what is being taught. Your student can be someone who uses English as a mother tongue or English as a second language (ESL).

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to plan your English lesson, whether it is English grammar you wish to teach, spoken English, syntax, writing English or English for competitive exams such as TOEFL, SAT, IELTS, ICSE, CBSE and so on.

Set Out Objectives

Start simple. Write out the goal of the lesson - "Students will be able to improve their reading or comprehension skills" -  basically, summing up what your students will be able to do once you have imparted the lesson. You can also add how they might be able to do it (e.g. worksheets, activities, flashcards, etc.)

State an Overview

Outline the big ideas contained in the lesson. Make bullet points to cull out the main ideas contained in the chapter you might be covering.

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Without planning, you can not deliver a good lesson
Plan your lessons beforehand | Source: Unsplash

Plan your timeline

Break your lesson down into manageable sections. Here is an example:

  • Warm-up
  • Present information
  • Guided practice
  • Free practice
  • Conclusion.

Know Your Students

Know the people you are going to educate - talk about their learning styles (visual, auditory, tactile or a combination), their existent knowledge on the subject. You can start by focusing on the overall group of students in the class and then make adjustments to accommodate those students with disabilities or those who are struggling and so on.

Learn about the special learning needs of students, if any. For example, is there anyone in your class who is battling dyslexia?

Interact with Your Students

Facilitate different types of interaction among students, as well as between students and yourself - their English teacher. Remember, each student is unique - while some do well on their own, there are others who thrive in pairs, and yet others who do well in big groups.

Address Unique Learning Styles

Your students have come to you for different needs and are bound to have different learning styles. Some may have come to you for English grammar classes, while some for online spoken English classes, and still others who have come to you to help them become well-versed in English vocabulary.

Every student learns differently. Some may be comfortable with reading, some with audio learning tools. Allow them the space and time to become comfortable with your teaching style too!

Planning and Organizing an English Lesson

Writing a lesson plan will ensure that you are prepared for your class and will make it run more smoothly. It is important to break the material up into several sections and choose activities suitable for each. It is advisable to exercise flexibility in this regard, depending on how your students receive your instruction.  If, for example, students are struggling, you may have to devote more time to that particular section of the lesson. Lesson plans are extremely useful especially if you are going to teach the same material the following school year!

Write your lesson plans in a way that other teachers might be able to pick it up and teach your class later one.

Check-list for English Class Prep 

  • Learning materials
  • Learning objectives
  • Learning processes
  • The estimated duration of each activity
  • Comprehensive explanations
  • Board work
  • Page numbers (if referring to a textbook)
  • Extra activities
  • Follow-on activities
  • Lesson evaluation (for yourself).

Let us take an example: Suppose, you are going to teach tenses in your next lesson. It might be helpful if you write down the questions you plan to ask the students. As a teacher, you are probably already aware of the difficulty to come up with impromptu questions in the middle of a lesson! Also, if you prepare ahead, you will be able to use vocabulary that your students are unfamiliar with. It is also useful to set a fee for your lessons well in advance.

Involving students in lesson is good for their learning
Ask more questions from students to check what they have learned | Source: Unsplash

Additional Tips

  • Have a template for your lesson plan.
  • Keep the lesson plan handy at all times during the lesson.
  • Mark the activities that worked well during the lesson.
  • Make a comments section on what worked well and what did not, at the end of the plan.
  • Plan a series of associated lessons to bring coherence to your teaching style.
  • Include additional activities, just in case your lesson finishes before time or you want to mix things up a little mid-lesson
  • Allow yourself ample time to prepare, rehearse and review the plan before putting it into action!

Online English Lessons: A Gamechanger

For the uninitiated, there are primarily two main differences between online lessons and classroom/ in-person lessons in English.

  1. Online lessons, contrary to popular belief are more personalized (one-to-one classes) as compared to a classroom with many students in it. In the latter scenario, it is extremely difficult to provide individual attention. Online lessons, therefore, can be tailored to the individual needs of students.
  2. Online English classes are conducted on platforms such as Skype or Zoom, by way of video lessons and online learning resources. This helps to focus more on English speaking and English listening skills.

One Lesson at a Time

There are many students looking for English classes near me. Seek them out online and then get down to the business of planning your classes. A useful way of coming up with your own lesson curriculum is to work with your students.

Every learner has different styles of learning. What works for one might not necessarily work for another. 

Gauge the learning needs and learning styles of your prospective students in the trial lesson/consultation session. A great way to evaluate your students can be to ask them why they need private English tuitions. Depending on their answer, customize the learning plans for them.

Online Lessons Involve a Lot of Speaking

Many students seek online English classes so that they can improve their English speaking skills. This is vastly different from classroom learning that typically involves group work, listening exercises, reading, and writing. This, by no way, means that your lesson cannot have a certain structure and has to be only about conversing in English to help improve your student's fluency in the language.

Use Online Resources or DIY Resources

Nowadays, there are readymade online resources and lesson plans available for teachers who are reluctant to spend a lot of time in planning. However, it is important to remember that if you are a fresher in the world of teaching, this might not be a good idea. In that case, you can surely refer to lesson plans created by your more experienced colleagues!

online resources
Make use of open sources for online teaching resources | Source: Visual Hunt

Here are some great sources for obtaining online English teaching materials for teachers.

TESS-India: All India Resources

The TESS-India Open Educational Resources (OER) comprise 105 units aimed at pre- and in-service elementary and secondary school teachers (Teacher Development OER), and 20 units for school leaders (School Leadership OER). The OER is available in multiple versions for use in a range of linguistic and cultural contexts.

BBC Learning English

The BBC Learning English program, through The Teachers' Room series, offers free audio, video and text materials to teachers around the world. Some of these include:

  1. Word stress
  2. Vocabulary
  3. How to give instructions
  4. Teaching new classes
  5. Intonation
  6. Making reading interesting
  7. Dictation
  8. Using songs
  9. Grammar
  10. Speaking
  11. Listening
  12. Collaborative writing
  13. Using social media

Now, equipped with all these easy-to-use and sometimes DIY resources, become an online English tutor. You can also try your expertise in homeschooling pupils who need extra attention. Use your imagination and innovate in the way you organize your lessons. Make the best use of available technology and job websites. Get cracking today!

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Shreyanjana is an archaeologist who ironically finds the written word to be the most powerful means of storytelling. A travel buff and a photography enthusiast, she has been writing and sharing stories of all sorts ever since she can remember.