|CELTA-004a| Parts of a Lesson Plan: What are the steps? [PART 1]

Hello Exam Seekers,

Today’s post may be interesting not only to those who are taking the CELTA but to teachers in general. The reason for this is that it may help you reflect upon your teaching and how you have been planning your lessons so far.

To start with, I ask you: how do you plan your lessons?

Let’s assume that all the teachers in the world prepare their lessons because they need to be ready for what they are going to teach every day, right? However, most teachers do it differently, and there is a particular reason for that, which has no relation to people being different, do you know why?  First, let’s ask two important questions to make you understand:

  • Do all the lessons have the same steps?
  • Do you follow the same procedures for every skill you teach?

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Before answering the questions above, there are some essential things to consider when preparing a lesson are:

  • how can you help your student understand the topic – or text or recording or whatever you are teaching – better?
  • how does the way you are teaching prepare your student to be a more independent learner?

Some sequences of exercises and steps are followed by the intention to ease the student’s learning path. Therefore, depending on the skills you are teaching and also the methodology, some steps are going to help make sense of all that is happening in class. Then the answer to the questions above is “No.” Not all lessons have the same steps; actually, they are different because they need to achieve their specific goals, and this is the answer to why all lessons are prepared differently.

If you are teaching in an ESL – or EFL – environment, then the focus is on the language. Thus, thinking about the strategies that could be taught and implemented when teaching are of great importance. Of course, there are other methodologies and focuses on teaching, for instance, the CLIL approach tends to give higher importance to content rather than language. For now, let’s consider the ESL scenario, which is the one you will be more in touch with when taking teaching certificates like the CELTA.

So, there are two steps that should be present in all our lessons. They are called the warm-up and lead-in. They are important because the warm-up is used to energize the group, to have students interact and even move around a bit depending on the activity while the lead-in is used to set the context of the lesson to start. It is pretty much the ‘introduction’ of the topic through an activity that involves a brief discussion, some questions to help access the student’s schemata regarding the topic, and so on. There is a text about these two, which explains in detail what the differences are, so check it out!

Usually, you decide on your warm-up and lead-in, after you have chosen a type of lesson. Even though the warm-up is not necessarily connected to the lesson, it is always interesting to make it move in the same direction.

Then, you have other steps according to the skill you chose to teach. Here are some examples:

Language Lesson: warm-up >> lead-in >> presentation >> practice >> production

Receptive Skill Lesson: warm-up >> lead-in >> pre-teach vocabulary >> reading/listening for gist >> listening/reading for detail >> follow-up

Writing Lesson: warm-up >> lead-in >> reading for gist/detail >> model analysis >> practice >> preparation for writing task >> writing task

Speaking Lessonwarm-up >> lead-in >> reading/listening for ideas >> pre-communiative task >> language clarification >> practice >> (preparation for speaking task) >> speaking task >> (feedback) >> (reformulation)

Keep in mind that these are only basic steps of a lesson plan. I will be explaining them in detail in the following posts to clarify the sequence above. Although there are some other sequences and types of exercises that you can do. Nevertheless, if you master these sequences and how to link them smoothly for the CELTA, you will feel a huge difference when preparing lessons and even with the development of your students.

This was a more theoretical text for you to understand that different lessons require different types of approaches. So keep that in mind when you plan a language lesson or a receptive skill lesson. The next texts will be more practical and explain the steps for each of the skills.

However, If you have specific questions about the text above, please comment in the comment session below. And don’t forget to follow the blog at:

Have a great weekend, 
Patricia Moura

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