Keep Your Eyes on the Prize: Using Objectives in ESL Lesson PlanningBy Johanna Kawasaki
December 11, 2020
Are you new to teaching English or facing the somewhat scary task of having to make your own ESL lesson plans? Are you unsure how to build a lesson around a topic that you want to teach? While there is no universally-recognized recipe for how to create a TEFL/TESOL lesson plan, there are some important ingredients to include, like lesson objectives. Considering objectives in ESL lesson planning is essential if you want to deliver a useful and engaging lesson. We’ll show you exactly how to incorporate ESL learning objectives into your lesson plan!
If you’re new to teaching, you’ll want to get initial training and qualification with a TEFL certificate. You can explore our online TEFL courses to get started!
What are objectives in ESL lesson planning?
Objectives in ESL lesson planning are also known as lesson aims, student goals, learning goals, or learning objectives. Though the term varies depending on where you received your teacher training, the goal of objectives stays the same: defining a specific and measurable outcome of a lesson that is centered on your students’ achievement. Usually, a lesson should have not just one, but several ESL learning objectives that are linked to a certain time frame or task.
Why are objectives important in ESL lesson planning?
Your lesson objectives drive everything you do throughout your lesson. They can be the difference between an aimless lesson and one that intentionally brings students a step closer to meeting their language goals. Here are some reasons why ESL lesson objectives are important and how they can help you as a teacher:
Learn everything you need to know about crafting ESL lesson plans and other essential teaching skills in the Bridge 120-hour Master TEFL/TESOL Certification course.
How do you write ESL learning objectives?
When you’re planning your lessons, the first step is to ask these questions to establish the lesson objectives:
- What am I teaching in this lesson?
- Why am I teaching it?
- What will the students be able to do by the end of this lesson?
- How will I know if the students have learned what I want to teach them? In other words, how will I measure the success of the lesson?
By answering these questions, your objectives will become clear. They will form the irreplaceable framework for your lesson.
What elements should an effective ESL lesson objective have?
There are three main elements that every lesson objective should include:
What are some good and bad examples of ESL lesson objectives?
Examples of ESL lesson objective elements
For the best results, lesson plan objectives should meet all of the above criteria. They should be specific, student-centered, and measurable.
Let’s take a look at some examples of lesson objectives that do and don’t meet these criteria:
Putting all of the elements together
Now, let’s put all of the elements together. Here’s an example of an ideal ESL learning objective that is specific, student-centered, and measurable:
This objective relates to the grammar point, the modal “should,” which is the lesson topic. It also defines what students will be able to do by the end of class, and you can easily measure success by monitoring and assessing the students’ use of the target word in their oral and written output.
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, last-minute EFL lesson plan outlines or so fully developed that a substitute teacher can walk in and complete the lesson without skipping a beat. As long as you’ve defined your ESL lesson objectives, your class has the potential to run smoothly and bring students one step closer to fluency!