The TEFL Life: A TEFL blog

a story about bad grammar and non-existent punctuation and my TEFL adventures

lesson planning logic: start from the end

If you’ve ever done a TEFL or CELTA course, your head will be filled with acronyms like PPP, ARC, ESA and a lot of other variations that you have probably forgotten what they actually stand for. Still, even after all that instruction on how to make a plan (which is a weird thing in itself – how can you tell me how I want to plan?), you might be finding that lesson planning is a bit of a schlep* and the outcomes are not worth the effort of the input. I remember in my TEFL course when I would take over an hour to plan a 20-minute lesson. Craziness. Then you get to the real world and realise you just don’t have the time plan 6 45-minute classes a day: at that rate I would’ve been pulling all-nighters every day. Not exactly sustainable.

So, let’s look at planning without planning the planning, if that makes sense?

The first thing to think about is what you want your students to be able to do by the end of the lesson. This is not a magic trick so realise that this goal is only a guideline. They will probably not be able to do what you want them to do (if language learning worked like that we would all be out of jobs) but they’ll be able to give it a go. So basically you need to think of how you’re going to get them there.

This is what is meant by “start at the end”. Spending ages conjuring up an amazing intro or warmer or whatever you want to call it is pointless because that is not the lesson and shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to execute. So why waste energy on designing a magical 10 minutes?

Once you’ve decided what exactly it is you want your students to accomplish, think about the activity that is going to let them prove themselves. Next look at how you are going to present the language and allow for clarification, consolidation and practice. This will include what exercises in the coursebook you want to do (and which you don’t want to do). By now most of your lesson should be covered.

Have a look for the holes, come up with a Plan B and an emergency evacuation activity and you’re sorted. The final step you need to think of is what happens when you walk in the classroom, but by now you should have an idea of what is necessary and what will work.

The end beginning 😉

*a hassle


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This entry was posted on April 1, 2015 by in General TEFL and tagged , , , , .

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