Keep Your Eyes on the Prize: Using Objectives in ESL Lesson PlansBy Susan Weymouth
June 17, 2016
Most experienced English teachers know the benefits of planning and do their best to walk into each class prepared. ESL lesson plans can range from a few notes on the back of an envelope to full-blown works of art. They can be quick 1-2-3 outlines or so fully developed that a substitute teacher can walk in and complete the lesson without skipping a beat.
A good place to begin any plan is with an objective.
After all, how do you know you have arrived if you don’t know where you want to go? Depending on your place of training, you may call them aims or objectives, learner goals or teacher goals, main aims or secondary aims. Let’s cut through all the options and define one specific, learner-centered, measurable objective for each ESL lesson.
You can then use this objective to guide your activities and assess students’ progress.
Imagine a lesson on telling time.
To make the objective learner-centered, don’t write about what you’re going to do, focus on what students will do:
“By the end of the lesson, students will…”
To make the objective measurable, list actions that you can observe.
Awareness and understanding occur inside the learner, but teachers can only measure actions. Therefore, define concrete things you want to see and hear:
“By the end of the lesson, students will identify the time from picture prompts and clocks and accurately express various times verbally and in writing…”
Make the objective specific by including the actual content of the lesson:
“By the end of the lesson, students will identify the time from picture prompts and clocks and accurately express various times verbally and in writing, using phrases such as quarter to, half past, 10 minutes till/to, and 20 past.”
This type of lesson plan objective will help organize your class and assess its effectiveness. It provides focus and keeps your eyes on the prize of student achievement.