How to Write a Lesson Plan for ESL Students

Instructor: Sarah Mills

Sarah is an educational freelance writer and has taught English and ESL in grades k-12 and college. She has a master's degree in both Literacy and TESOL.

This lesson will show teachers how to create effective lesson plans for ESL students using various support strategies. These include writing clear lesson objectives, adding support materials, and considering which accommodations to provide.

Lesson Plan Factors

Writing lesson plans for ESL students is similar to writing them for native speakers. The main difference is that you'll want to build supports into the lesson to give all students an opportunity to access the curriculum.

The type of lesson plan you write depends on the group of students you're teaching and the kind of content students are learning:

  • If you're a high school algebra teacher working with a mixed group of native and non-native speakers, your lesson plan would be based on your school's math curriculum.
  • If you're an ESL teacher pulling aside small groups of English learners to work with throughout the week, you might want to write a lesson plan about acquiring English vocabulary or conversational skills.
  • If you're teaching the acquisition of English language skills, as opposed to a content course like language arts or science, you'll first want to determine which domain of English mastery your lesson plan will focus on: listening, speaking, reading, or writing. Many times, your lesson will cover two or more of those areas simultaneously.

There are many different templates for creating lesson plans, but there are a few sections that a lot of them have in common: learning objectives, support materials, and activities.

Learning Objectives

Most lesson plans begin by stating a student objective. An objective should summarize exactly what students will be able to do by the end of the lesson, using clear language and strong action verbs. It's a good practice to make all students aware of the lesson objective so they can understand the goal they should be working toward.

Consider the following example:

Examples of Learning Objectives

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