ESL Lesson Plan Template

Instructor: Jacob Compton

Jacob has taught ESL in three Asian countries and has a master's degree in education.

This lesson goes over a template for an ESL lesson plan that can be used for any age group and any language level. The template is broken down into six sections. Each section is designed to help your students' learning and to help your class flow more smoothly.

I Need a Template!

There you are, in front of a class of students for the first time. You have a book in your hands, your mouth is dry, and you are desperately trying to think of a way out this situation. You realize you need a good plan for your lessons so that this doesn't happen again!

In this lesson, we will discuss a template you can use for ESL lessons. You may think that every class should look differently, but actually, familiarity helps with classroom management. Your students know what will happen next and they can be prepared, which will give them a sense of security.

Warm Up

The first thing your students should do is warm up. Think of it like a gym class or a martial arts class - the first thing you do is prepare your body for exercise. It is the same in classrooms. If you think of your students' minds as muscles, it is your duty as a teacher to prepare or 'warm up' their minds so they can accept the information you are teaching them.

One great method for warming up your class is asking them the same five questions every day. Number one: 'What day is it today?' Number two: 'What month is it today?' Number three: 'What date is it today?' Number four: 'What year is it?' Lastly, 'What is the weather like outside?' When you receive this information from your students, put it on the board. When you put something on the board, it adds importance to what you are doing and saying.


The next step is to review what your class covered in the last lesson. With this part of the lesson, you are trying to activate their memories and get your students to produce the information rather than reviewing it yourself. For example, if you did a lesson on restaurants, you could go around and get the students to pretend to order food. Then, you could add on to this question, getting your students to add in drinks, desserts, and changes to their dishes such as asking for a different vegetable or starch, or maybe even saying how well done they want their steak. This is to see if your students have retained the information you taught them during last class and to further prepare their minds for the rest of the lesson. This section can take 10-15 minutes, or longer if you have to re-cover some things that your students are not sure about from the last lesson.

Introducing New Information

After your review, you will want to start introducing the new information. You will want to start small and work into more complex ideas. A good place to start is with vocabulary. If your students do not know the vocabulary very well, show them pictures with the English written underneath. Once they have learned some vocabulary, add in some grammar.

For example, your class may be covering food and grocery stores. The vocabulary for that lesson is food that they would find in a grocery store, while the grammar is some and any. What you could do is brainstorm the vocabulary and put those words on one section of your board. Then write 'some' and 'any' on a different section of the board. You would explain that if the word changes in order to make it plural, they should use 'any' and if it does not, then they should use 'some'. After that, have the students tell you what words go into the different columns. This section of your lesson can take 10-15 minutes.

Guided Practice

Guided practice is when you have the students use the new information in a scripted conversation that you have prepared ahead of class. This will give your students an idea of what the proper English is, and will also give your students a resource that they can fall back on for the rest of the class. This section of your lesson should only take 10-15 minutes.

Unguided Practice

For this section of your lesson, you are building on what you have taught them in the guided practice. For example, if we continue with the example of a lesson on grocery stores, your students could underline words from the scripted conversation on the board and make changes to the conversation in the grammar and vocabulary.

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