As a TEFL teacher, you want to start on the right foot, but trust us when we say that you will at some point or another find yourself in a situation where you’ll have to make a last-minute lesson plan. We’ll go through all the tips and tricks to help you out but before we do, we’ll first explain all the components that make a good lesson plan through these frequently asked questions. 

How do I make a good ESL lesson plan?

Before even starting a lesson plan, you’ll need to first question the curriculum and school’s preferability. Schools may have a set-out curriculum or just a suggested outline, but once you know the answers, the lesson plans will go a lot smoother. Set out and write down your aims for the semester or year and the rest will follow. 

There are a lot of resources available to you to help you get going. Even if you feel that the lesson plans on certain sites aren’t your cup of tea, it’s a great place to start! Read more on this in this blog. 

The main thing to concern yourself with is to start with your objectives of the lesson, then outline your lesson plan, choose the activities to teach these with, and do up some worksheets. Easy Peasy (we wish!). 

esl lesson

What are the 5 elements of an ESL lesson plan?


Write down what you anticipate your pupils to be able to do by the end of the lesson, for example, “pronounce, identify, put words in sentences, change into passive, compare, answer, use, match,….etc” or any verbs that can be observed and measured in the classroom.


Revisit the previous lesson, check assignments orally, correct common errors, etc., or any other activity that will energize pupils and prepare them for the new content.


Present the new material using appropriate strategies, and write down the procedures you’ll use to explain it.


This is the work that students undertake, whether it is supervised, guided, or unsupervised. Students complete certain exercises depending on the information provided. This type of activity is frequently found in the set book.


Write some sentences on the board or pass out printed papers to determine if the objectives were met and if students learned what they were supposed to learn. If this is the case, you should re-teach the topic using other methods.

>> Checkout our TEFL Courses

How do you write an ESL lesson plan for teaching English?

A lesson plan is a well-thought-out and detailed document that teachers develop that specifies their instructional goals and objectives as well as the procedures for achieving them. As an ESL teacher, your lesson plan will be one of the most critical tools in your tool belt, as you’ll rapidly find.

The PPP (presentation, practice, and production) technique simplifies lesson planning. When designing a class, it’s crucial to factor in the amount of time it will take to produce and deliver the lesson. Understanding the various learning styles will enable you to communicate effectively with all of your pupils. Even the most well-prepared teachers might run into difficulties. Never underestimate the ability of games to fill in the blanks.

children learning english

What should I teach beginners ESL?

Before thinking too much about this, first, see whether the school with whom you are hired has a curriculum set out already. If the target language will be new, be sure it’s appropriate for the students’ level.

Beginners ESL is measured on the CEFR scale as A1-A2. You’ll normally come across this level with young learners as most of the world is B1 level upwards in the English language. Make sure to use plenty of games and activities and keep it light! You may think that beginners English is the easiest class to have, but let us tell you that it is definitely not. Without the use of translation and limited vocabulary to define, you will test your facial expressions, hand gestures, and patience all at the same time! 

To level up to intermediate, B1 students should know the following (and therefore, the following should be taught in your A2 beginners class): 

  • Personal and family information
  • Social interaction
  • Classroom and school
  • Time, calendar, and weather
  • Body parts
  • Food
  • Home

You’ll more than likely only cover past, present, and future simple tenses, and use numbers, colors, and shapes teaching all of the above concepts.

Also Read: Tips to find Free ESL Lesson Plans

How do you structure an ESL lesson plan?

The first stage of a lesson plan is the presentation of the target language. This is where the lesson might look the most traditional. Meaning that the teacher spends most of their time here focusing on using mime, gesture, realia, and pictures to explain the target language. The teacher then will use individual and choral drilling (pronunciation and repetition) to get the students practicing the target language. After this, the teacher will write the target language on the board (or zoom whiteboard) so the students can see the target language written. This stage is all about accuracy! The teacher should make time here for error correction

The second stage of the lesson plan is the Practice stage. This involves the teacher dividing their students into pairs. Where they can use exercises such as dialogues, role-plays, worksheets. The main aim of the game here is to have students conversing or working in pairs together discussing their answers. The main role of the teacher here is to monitor the students while they practice. Make sure to not correct too much that you disrupt the flow of the students. We strive for a balance of fluency and accuracy at this second stage. 

The third and final stage of the lesson plan is the Production stage. Some teachers deem this stage of the lesson the most important. The Production stage is all about fluency, communication, and group work. A group activity for this part is typically prepared by the teacher. An example of a group activity might look like; Find someone Who, a Chain Story, a Competition, Pictionary, or Charades. It is normally a fun activity that gets the class up and moving around. The main focus of this stage is Fluency. The teacher doesn’t correct the students but focuses on the activity to keep flowing. As long as the students are using the target language (even though they might be making mistakes) that is all that matters! 

How do you plan an ESL lesson quickly?

We’ve told you how to avoid this very moment, but let’s face it! Sometimes time gets away from us. Or, you may be doing everything right and all of a sudden got landed with another class because your colleague can’t make it to class. Whatever the reason, you have a class soon and are not prepared! Don’t fret. Here are some last-minute tricks to set up your ESL lesson plans for the day.

1. Always Prepare

No matter the lateness of your planning, always prepare for the lesson, even if it’s just 10 minutes you have, put those 10 minutes aside to plan your lesson. 

2. Have Back-Ups

At the start of the academic year, you’ll know the levels and age groups of your students. Our advice would be to prepare to be unprepared. Have some backup lessons on your laptop. One each for vocabulary, grammar, and punctuation. You can then adapt these ready-made lesson plans to your next subject. 

3. Follow these steps

If you have to make one from scratch, follow these simple steps to make one kickass last-minute lesson plan.

Warm Up Their English: Start the class off slowly. Take 5 to 10 minutes at the start of the lesson to converse with your students. Not anything too complicated, use a conversation they already know, like how their weekend was, for example. 

Recycle material: We can’t overstate the importance of repetition. This is a key method to English language learning. So, in this last-minute lesson, why not use this time to go over previously learned vocabulary. 

Extend the Language Skills: Now that you have helped them remember previously learned vocabulary, stretch their understanding. You’ll want to include one or two practice activities in which you, as the teacher, are still actively participating. For example, after teaching new vocabulary, have students work in pairs to categorize words into different groups or read through a chapter with those words as a class. Make the most of the opportunity to challenge your pupils’ knowledge and creativity. Speaking a second language is a very creative process and skill. Rather than having your pupils merely follow directions or fill in the blanks, encourage them to utilize their imaginations to combine the language they’ve learned into a project.

Classroom ESL Tricks to Set up Your Lesson Plans for the Day

Making lesson plans is not an easy task, but we hope that these few tips and tricks will help you get well on your way. Hopefully, you don’t find yourself in this situation often. Best of luck!

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyBrowse Courses