Sunday, April 8, 2007

Making a Lesson Plan

ESL lessons, EFL lessons, English grammar lessons and even lessons on how to ride a bike all need one very important thing: one or more objectives. Assuming the grammar lesson topic is the Past Perfect, examples of lesson plan objectives looks like this:

1. By the end of the lesson, student will be able to distinguish Past Perfect sentences from Simple Past sentences.

2. By the end of the lesson, student will be able to demonstrate knowledge of the proper form of the Past Perfect by writing five sentences in the Past Perfect.

3. By the end of the lesson, student will be able to demonstrate correct usage of the Past Perfect by speaking (or writing) three sentences correctly using this tense.

There are three important things to notice about these objectives:

1. They are all related to the lesson topic (Past Perfect tense).

2. They are all measurable. At the end of the lesson, the teacher should not have to guess whether the ESL learner understands the Past Perfect. An objective that states, “By the end of the lesson, student will understand the Past Perfect,” cannot be measured. How do I know if the student understands it or not if he or she does not somehow demonstrate the knowledge?

3. They are all student-focused: “student will be able to…” The objective should not state something like, “Teacher will teach the Past Perfect.” This is not a learning objective.

How the teacher or tutor goes about trying to meet the student-focused objectives is the stuff that is included in the rest of the lesson plan (i.e., the steps the teacher carries out during the lesson to help the learner meet the objectives. These steps can include exercises from a grammar book, a conversation focusing on the grammar point, a presentation by the teacher (although this should take only a short amount of time), ESL games, etc.

This approach can (and I think, should) be used for all lesson plans, not just ESL or EFL or English lessons. They can be used for history lessons, math lessons, etc.

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