Most Teachers Don’t
That’s right, most experienced EFL teachers do not write a lesson plan for each and every class.
Now, revealing this secret is blasphemy of a major sort because every TEFL training course you might take is heavily based on writing and delivering a lesson plan. If you don’t do that, what DO you do?
Why Lesson Planning for EFL?
Lesson planning is a major part of a training program primarily so that you can understand how to structure a lesson well. Once you know how and understand the process involved, you don’t really need to formally develop a lesson plan for each class. A few notes, and following a few good basic principles will do the job for you – and your students.
A TEFL Training course is a bit like college or high school where you learn the “proper” way to do something – that people in real life almost never do. But . . . as you come to realize, there is a reason WHY those processes and procedures are heavily emphasized. Because they reinforce the way things need to be done if you wish to be effective.
What’s it all about? EFL Lesson Planning
What every teacher trainer is trying to communicate to you is that there is a specific way to effectively teach your students what they need to know.
First, teach them some target language. This is, hopefully, language that they are either interested in or that is required for their job or success – thus increasing their interest and motivation in the lesson. Part of this process should include eliciting input from your students to check what they already know and also to rouse their interest in the new material.
Next, give them some structured opportunities to practice the language you are teaching them. Structured so that their practice is more likely to be successful and they can get things right – the first time. Again increasing motivation. You might have several of these practices, each time reducing the amount of structure as students become more familiar and practiced with the target language.
The last step is production (if we are following a PPP methodology). That means that your students take the language you have taught them and apply it to their job or daily circumstances and use the language to talk about themselves and their lives. That is what keeps it interesting to them and motivates them to study what otherwise could be rather dry and boring.
Now – there is a lot more to this than just that – but realize when you study TEFL methods that the basic idea is how to be effective and if you get a good handle on methodology – you will arrive at that point.
TED’s Tips™ #1: Lesson plans? Yes, do them until they are stuck in your mind as good method then you can just outline a good lesson from there on out. But . . . don’t tell anyone that I told you that!