Thursday, January 8, 2009


One of the learning outcomes for this week is to identify at least two contexts in which instructors face issues similar to your own. We thought a nice way to visualize this was with the the idea of a chain. Your teaching situation and lesson planning may have strong connections to the one that went before. In reality, it may be connected to many of the other examples, so the chain idea is a little limited, but it serves to highlight the idea of posting about your context when you feel a strong connection.

Picture by Keith Hall. Republished here under a creative commons attribution license.

Activity: post about who your learners are and what you do to plan lessons


1) Post about your own situation and what you do to plan lessons. There is a link called comments at the bottom right of the screen. You can add the details there.

2) If you see an explanation that resonates with your own experiences, explain where you see the similarities and also identify further differences in a comment.


My name is Julia, Green Fingers, I teach advanced and intermediate English to teenagers and adults at the U. of M. I've been teaching for 3 years. I work with predominantly Asian students. My main challenge is to keep a consistent flow of information while going into the basics once in a while, to learn to make lessons plans may help me.

Hi Julia!
My name is Amanda, Coffee-a-holic. I hear you, I've been teaching for over 30 years now and I remember well how hard was for me. Lesson plans are useful but honestly, I don't use them, I go with the flow and have only a general outline of topics. I guess that comes with experience. However, if I had known how to make a lesson plan when I started it would have helped me a lot. I teach kids at a primary school called BaeL. My main challenge is to have energy to keep up with this kids!

Hopefully, we will begin to see some patterns that are the same across the world.

Enhancing Lessons Team


  1. My students are all employees of companies who have book Business English courses with my language agency. 90% of the students are German and the levels are usually quite high (about 60% of our courses are Upper Intermediate, Advanced and Proficiency level). How do I prepare for the lessons? If we use a book, I base the lesson on that concept and always always strive to PERSONALIZE the lesson and keep it INTERACTIVE. We use a lot of material provided by the learners themselves as well.

  2. Hi, Justin, and congratulations for being the first to post on our spanking-new pink EL blog! Like your students, ours here at the University of Maryland intensive English program tend to place into our upper intermediate and advanced levels, although I suspect that our advanced students would be intermediate or upper intermediate for you. This semester, I have been assigned to teach the reading/writing/grammar component of the intermediate (Level 003) class. The class meets five days a week for a total of 13 hours. We have 3 hours in the multimedia lab, and based on recent experience I can predict that all or nearly all of the students will have their own computers at home with internet access, so online homework can be assigned. We have specific learning outcomes that students must meet for each class and level, and I am required to produce a schedule for the semester specifying which LOs will be addressed each week. I try to set this up by following the topics in my textbooks (Fundamentals of English Grammar by Azar; More Reading Power by Mickulecky and Jeffries; Vocabulary Power 2 by Dingle and Lebedev; and Effective Academic Writing 2: The Short Essay by Savage and Meyer) and then adding the learning outcomes that will require supplementation where they seem to fit best. Every Friday afternoon, I map out the coming week's lessons in more detail. However, I tend to pay more attention to which pages and chapters I will cover than to how I will ensure that my students have achieved particular outcomes. That's why I really need this session, maybe more than any of the participants!

  3. Hi all from Meri,
    I work in a private English language school for adults in London and I'm currently teaching IELTS and Advanced General English to young adults and professionals. I am expected to follow a set coursebook for half the week and the other half is what I identify the students need (I use other EFL photocopiable resources, authentic materials (including my friends on tape/the news on radio/tv/papers or DVDs) - I often make my own worksheets). My lessons are 3 hrs long every weekday so I only use a daily skeleton lesson plan consisting of ten bullet points or a flow chart so I can clearly see how the activities link, based on a theme or grammar or focused on the exam etc. My school expects a weekly lesson overview plan so again this is just a skeleton plan to work from (indicating skills/systems to focus on as well as page numbers from the coursebook) and can be amended as the week goes on. We have a weekly feedback session with Ss every Friday so this helps me plan and incorporate what the Ss want for the next week. The other thing is that we ALL have co-teachers (a class is shared across the week - I teach a group on Mon-Wed then teach another group on a Thurs to Fri). This way every teacher at my school has to liaise and plan lessons together AND it is great for development. Is this similar to anyone else's schedule?

    p.s. Before I post this, I have to select a 'profile'; not sure what it actually means so have chosen the 1st option: Google acct (whatever that means....hope this appears in the right place!!).

  4. Hi, I'm Yatziri. I work at Mexico's second biggest public school IPN. Most of my students are doing an engineering degree or they could be studying at a technical highschool. Their ages range from 16 to 70! I also teach housewives and retired people. SInce we depend on government budget sometimes que lack connectivity or things like that. My students learning objectives are meanly to undersand they technical text books, so as you can imagine it's quite hard to make them speak, but once the got the hang of it they feel confident enough to be talkative. I try incorporate technology into my classroom and in their learning process and they seem to like it. I guess that by me learning how to make their learning fun and interactive soon they will be creating very intresting thisng using L2.

  5. Hello,
    I teach English to students in the First Course. My students are between 16 and 45 years old. They are students from high school to university. Most of them are false beginners; therefore, there are some advantages in teaching them. Their social and economical backgrounds are very heterogeneous, that is, some students have cable TV, DVD movies and players, and a fast connection to Internet. This makes a big difference among them.

    What I do to design the lesson plan is:

    • I follow the objectives for a specific unit and divide it into sections, days.

    • The unit is divided into sections to be covered; we have to finish a certain number of units in a term.

    • The material is taken as it comes in the textbook, it is mandatory to follow a commercial textbook in every course. Tutors are allowed to provide extra practice where necessary.

    • After the material in the textbook is used, supplementary material is collected in order to provide language samples according to objectives.

    • Once material is collected, it is presented to students to expose them to real language use and promote interactional activities as practice.

    • Finally, if possible, students are asked to do a kind of production, to create something similar to the material worked in sections.

    Carlos Raul Lopez Reatiga

  6. Hi

    Im Leigh Thelmadatter. I have been teaching advanced English in central Mexico for over 5 years now. I recently became the coordinator of the language laboratories, with the goal of updating their technology and their use. Because of this, I do not teach classes per se, but one of the laboratories is open half day as a self access center and Im on hand there to tutor students. The other half of my job is to motivate teachers to use technology and newer teaching methodologies.

    Prior to this job I did teach classes, exclusively to very advanced students (this is my preference) as well as composition. Like a most folks here, in my Advanced A class, I was fairly restricted to teaching from a coursebook, but whenever I could I would assign writing tasks based on the Internet (like writing for Wikipedia) and other tasks. For Advanced B, I was given very free reign over content, as these students had already reached the school's requirement on the TOEFL. So I experimented and almost never used a textbook. One semester was completely dedicated to intercultural communication and contributing to Wikipedia as an extension of same. Got some of the best student improvement from this course.

    Unlike Maricel, once semesters are planned out, there is no formal way to adjust. I really like your system there, Maricel!

    Ive taken classes from the British Council that seems to want to plan every minute of every hour. If I tried that I would go crazy! On the other hand, I understand it in the sense of pushing teachers to plan more than just what pages to cover in the textbook. But I think the issue is not simply time management but rather understanding what you (the teacher) and doing and WHY you are doing it. While I would never win awards for lesson planning... I can say I do know those two things when I teach.

  7. Hi,
    I'm Vicky Saumell from Argentina. I work in a private secondary school. The students there are aged 4-18 and move from an absolute beginner to a solid intermediate level at the end of their secondary school. I teach the last three years of secondary school. The classes are based on a textbook we have chosen, but we are quite free to add and supplement. I usually work with the book and then I prepare some sort of integrative project in which I make use of technology. The school has a computer lab, which is usually taken by the Computer Studies teachers and classes, so I generaly assign these projects as homework.

    Great to share!!

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Hi, I'm Neal Chambers from Osaka, Japan. I work at a private English school. My students are aged 18~50ish. Most are international businessmen, engineers, or scientists. Some are hobbyists, or older people trying to keep their brains working. We pretty much have to stick to a particular set of books and a particular lesson plan for our classes. However, every 6 months we have the opportunity to propose and teach a class of our own design. I'm hoping to apply what I learn to one of those classes, so I can give my students exposure to other methods of learning. I also hope to teach them a little bit about web 2.0 tools in the process.

    Sorry I just wanted to make a correction, but now there is a deleted post message.

  10. Hi! I'm Vanesa Cladera from Argentina. Well, I have all kinds of students: kids, adolescents and adults, I teach at private and state schools / universities.
    I teach Didactics and Language I in an English Training College. I'm also a teacher trainer.
    I always talk to my Sts about the importance of planning every lesson carefully, and I can promise you that I do it myself.
    Before starting classes, I design the general syllabus. I always change it every year. Then, I plan everything for the month, objectives, contents, tests, etc.
    I spend a part of my weekends doing the weekly plan. I consider the warming-up, presentation/intruduction, development (controlled and free practice) and the closing-up.
    I don't write everything, but I have the plan in my mind. I write key words just to remember my lesson plan.

  11. Hello Vanesa and Lesson Enhancers:

    My name is Maru, I live in Toluca Mexico.
    I resonate with several of you.

    Like Justin and Neal I used to teach adult employees at their working place. We used a teacher manual for Business English produced by my Agency and to make adjustments according to the group's needs. The usual levels were beginners and intermediate.

    I love your teaching situation Maricel, I long for a team to work with online! Thanks Carlos Raul for providing a detailed account on the way you plan your lessons, it's so enlightening.

    Later, I moved to one2one teaching situations with adults to prepare them for the TOEFL exam, we followed the yearly TOEFL guidelines. I didn't enjoy much those lessons because my student didn't want to learn English, they just wanted to pass the test. It was good for me, it allowed me to know the material and to place myself on the TOEFL grading system.

    Last year I started teaching basic computer skills to adults and teenagers online, it's a life long project called BaeL (Becoming an e-Learner) to promote Digital Literacy for Spanish Speakers. The next step is English Language ;-)
    The lesson plans we use are provided by AprendeLibre The lesson plans in English are at My students work mainly from cyber places.
    I hear you Yatziri, it was very hard for me to persuade them to speak to a mic, and they were speaking Spanish!
    How did you do with your teenager students regarding voice Vicky?

    Right now I'm not giving f2f classes. My agency will open f2f Language courses (Spanish, German and English)in two months at the Merida branch, by 2010 I'm expected to have the same courses ready to be given online.

    That's why I'm taking this session. I'd like to have online lesson plans for each level of Spanish and English and then have the German teachers to translate them to German.
    As I actively participated in the creation of the teacher's manuals for the agency, I have the f2f material and I need to add all the online activities to it.

    Last but not Least. Your silent scream touched my heart Leigh, I worked at ITESM Campus Toluca as Academic Development Director for several years and I know how does it feel not to be heard, I'm also familiar with the system's restrictions.
    I was lucky to start the Master's Online Degrees in Toluca (Education and Administration) and I was regarded as crazy at the Campus... who would learn online? LOL

    I'm proud of saying that I do know what I'm doing and why.
    Besos. Eternal Learner.

  12. Sorry. I misspelled the HTML code for Learn Free Site I hope this time the link works!

  13. Hi all,
    I do agree with Maru, so many of the comments posted here resonate with me.
    I work in two private language schools in Rosario, Argentina. At one of the schools, I work with primary school students who attend 10 hours of English lessons a week in the afternoon, after doing their primary school studies in the morning. Actually, I’m not teaching children at the moment since I became the coordinator two years ago, but of course I’m very much involved with curriculum design and extra activities.
    At the other institute, I teach adolescents and adults who attend from 3 to 6 hours of English lessons a week, depending on the level they are doing.
    The contents covered in each course largely depend on the exam the students are preparing for and the book chosen thereby. Fortunately, we don’t have to draw up daily detailed plans as we had to when we were at teacher training college but of course I agree with Leigh that we teachers should always know what we are doing and why, there should be a rationale for all the activities we choose to do with our students.
    At the beginning of each week (many times over the weekend, unfortunately) , I map out the week’s lessons (as Nina does). What I usually do is a sort of bullet-point list with the sequence in which I’m going to carry out the different activities ( I tend not to follow the order suggested in the books) so that I can meet the objectives and I make sure I’m familiar with the content and have all the materials needed. As Vanesa says, the plan is in my mind.
    If time allows, I enjoy designing extra activities to develop the different skills further (using DVDs, games, newspapers, songs, videos, and of course now the multimedia lab with its wealth of tools). When doing this, it is vital to plan carefully beforehand so that everything runs smoothly.
    I guess we teachers are naturally creative. I frequently find myself thinking what I could do with the pictures, videos, songs, now the web 2.0 tools, which I come across; how they could help me enhance my lessons. That's one of the reasons why I'm here.

  14. Heh...I dont know why I still come up as Silent Scream... that was the name of an old blog I did some years ago (sort of therapy). I deleted that blog but for some reason, the name hangs on. Maybe someone wants me to keep screaming???

    Seems that most of us are guided (by "guided" I mean restrained) by a text. Kinda makes "lesson planning" easy... just cover X pages. If MexTESOL conventions are any indication, I dont think we will see a real shift in that focus for some time Publishers promise the moon and to do all the work for us... technology only seems to promise to make our jobs more complicated.

    So while I agree that using technology (effectively) forces up to plan better than that, I am still very skeptical about the minute-by-minute lesson planning that the British Council and some theorists seem to advocate. After all we are dealing with human beings who are not the most orderly of creatures... and heck technology has its hissy fits too.

    BTW... I dont like that you have to have an account with a service to be able to blog here. I have enough trouble with it and I have a fair amount experience with stuff.

  15. Since I teach ESOL writing/grammar at a community college in the US, my students range in age from 18 through middle-age. In background, they range from being refugees with minimal or interrupted schooling to professionals with graduate degrees. In a class of 17 students, there may be as many as 11-14 first languages represented. By placement my students bring English writing/grammar skills on the level of local 2nd-4th grade students. In this course they write paragraphs of description, explanation, and narration in the American academic style. Grammar is a linked companion course, and in it they learn the basic elements for editing their English sentences: word order, verb tense and form, noun form and usage, capitalization, punctuation, etc.
    To plan lessons, I rely in part on past experience. Because I’ve taught this curriculum in this setting for a number of years, I’ve developed an internal sense of pacing toward the final goal. With each new semester, though, for each “unit,” such a descriptive writing, I rethink the sequence of the sub-tasks based on new knowledge, new resources, and dynamics within the class itself. Using Harmer’s diagram of the lesson planning continuum, I create detailed planning notes from which I, at the time of the lesson, draw the most significant activities based on class progress, class needs, and such.
    My teaching style has evolved by sampling various resources, so I don’t rely heavily on the assigned textbooks. During class, I often rotate “mini-activities” each 15-20 minutes, so the new resources and insights I am discovering in this session should be fairly easy to slip in, a little at a time. I try not to introduce too much change too quickly, for myself and for my students.
    In terms of connections and resonance, one part of the lesson planning text resonated very strongly for me. That was the caution to teachers to consider the “overhead” of introducing new web tools, web lessons, and web homework. I also related strongly to the concern expressed by several participants that fellow teachers were slow to embrace technology to help move their students toward the environment of the 21st century: engaging students with learning processes and empowering students for autonomous learning for life. Fortunately, with Web 2.0 tools likeminded teachers are now better able to inspire and help each other.

  16. Hi Everybody!
    I'm Mary Di Mónaco from Rosario, Argentina.
    I've been teaching English for about 30 years, most of that time in a private institute which is a kind of family venture. I've taught many different levels but am currently in charge of upper intermediate groups preparing for international exams, mostly at B2 level in the European framework.

    Like Maru and Alicia, I feel I have a lot in common with many of you:
    Like you Meri, I believe in collaborative work among the teachers who teach the same level. Although we do not share the groups, we prepare the classes together, contributing ideas and experiences, which I think is most enriching.

    Like you Vanesa, I believe it's important to have a plan in your mind and, in Leigh's words, to know what you're doing and why you're doing it. But as some of you have said, I believe this plan needs to be flexible so that we can adapt certain activities depending on sts'response.

    My dream: to be able to set up a computer lab at the institute so that we could take more advantage of the use of Web 2.0 tools and their potential to engage and empower students, as Margaret points out.

  17. Hi everyone!

    In my case, I teach ESL to a group of Japanese students at Ohio University. English Fluency, as the Intensive English Program calls it, has the purpose of helping students develop their overall skills (listening, speaking, reading, writing). My students age ranges from 18-23 years of age. We meet for 15 weeks. I use a textbook called Top Notch which comes with not only a workbook, but a CD with audio for each one of the conversations, vocabulary sections, readings, exercises, etc. It also has a companion website where students can test their vocabulary/grammar knowledge as well as their listening comprehension skills.

    As far as my lesson planning is concern, I normally see what teaching suggestions the textbook recommends. Then I blend them with the needs my students have to create my own agenda. Normally, I include some technology to help them enhance their language skills. For example, I teach them how to use Audacity and convert their files to MP3 format so they can upload this file to the Speech Journal section on our Moodle site. They are responsible for posting 14 times during their stay in the US. Feedback is given to them on the same site as well as face to face for the class as a whole. They are also asked to read book (graded readings that we have in the library) and post on the Writing Journal section on our Moodle. Feedback is given to them in the same manner it is given for their Speech Journals.

    And that is how I've been doing it for the past year and a half.

  18. Hi, I’m Christian and I teach english in a catholic school in La Serena Chile. My students are aged 10 to 17, and the levels of language are not very homogenous, some students have more contact and interest in English, so the try to get more exposure to the language.
    I try to interest them through the use of attractive and innovative projects (I think), this way the get more involved and commited. I plan every lesson carefully, I follow the ministry of education textbooks, some are great others …….., I follow my lesson map so I can change the my plan according to different elements in the classroom. I used my own blogs last year and it was a great experience, I noticed the advances of my students at the end of the year.

  19. Hi, I'm Ellen and am Academic Director for an ELS Language Center in San Antonio, Texas. I haven't been in the classroom since 1997--other than to observe. Our students are mostly academic bound 18 to 25 year olds.

    Several issues that have been mentioned above resonate with me. Having to follow a prescribed textbook is one--we do custom publishing so our texts are combined from different sources. Teachers have to get through the text so students can pass a test at the end of each 4-week session. Both students and teachers are so focused on the text that it stifles creativity. I'd like to use some Web 2.0 enhancements to make our classes more alive. We also suffer from the "chronically disengaged learner." Not my words, but I love the description. Many of our students don't particularly care if they learn English or not. They just want to get through our program so they can do university classes. Again, I'm hoping that Web 2.0 may be a way of sparking interest in these students.

    We have done some digital storytelling and blogging classes that have been very successful--but I want MORE! More real world contact, more exciting course content, more genuine interest in using English. Am I asking too much???

  20. Ellen,

    Please tell us more about how you used digital story telling/blogging in your classroom. Since it was successful, I'm interested to know what you did!

    My name is Lisa. I teach a variety of ESL classes to college students. I also teach 2 college writing classes (which are strictly ESL sections.)

    Since each group of students is unique, I plan mostly by evaluating my own work-- I look at which activities have been successful, which haven't. I consider the reasons why or why not. Like others, I also try to personalize my lessons to include the students' interests.

  21. Hi, Dear Enhancers!
    The circle of shared experiences is growing closer! I teach students aged 17-25 in a private language school and at a Teacher Training College in Rosario, Argentina for 6 weekly contact hours from March to November. My classes are at C1 and C2 level (Common European Framework). As several of you pointed out, in my language school, the main syllabus is also embedded in the coursebook, mostly because our students sit Cambridge ESOL exams. Instead, for my trainee classes I select and design my own materials. I regard the coursebook as a blueprint for lessons, a springboard to design tasks that meet the students’ interests and needs. In either case, although the materials may be the same from year to year I never implement them in the same way. As English is an FL in my context, students need loads of exposure to real communication. Not asking too much Ellen, that’s where Web 2.0 finds its place in classroom practice.

    My planning is also clear in my mind but sketchy in writing, as in most cases. I’m very keen on spelling out learning objectives and outcomes as these give students a sense of purpose and direction. My thoughts take me mostly through the whys and whats and hows to develop language skills and critical thinking. This session will be prove invaluable to systematize lesson planning and share outcomes with colleagues. It seems that many times there’s still lots of reluctance because computer-based learning is not seen as ‘serious’ learning but rather as the icing that could very well be spared. Let’s keep on spreading the Enhancing Lessons with Web 2.0 word, and proof!

  22. Hi I'm Janset from Istanbul. I teach fourth and fifth grade students who are aged between 9-11 at a private school. Most of them have been learning English since they were five so they are very good at listening and speaking. Now we are mostly working on their reading and writing skills.
    We are using course books so when I am planning my lesson first I look at the teacher's book (although I don't like the way it presents the topic), I usually search the net and look through the books. I don't like to write very long and detailed plans (I used to, but it didn't take long for me to find out that how I can do my lesson mostly depends on my student's mood that day.) So my lesson plan is mostly notes of my objectives and activities that I can do during the lesson.
    Although for the ICELT course I had to write lesson plans which include minutes, anticipated problems, learner profile, etc...

  23. weftwaif... I too am interested in how you used digital storytelling and blogs. I only heard of digital storytelling a couple of months ago

  24. Hi,

    I teach a class of 9 - 10 year-olds in a mainstream primary school in the UK, and planning is done in a cross-curricular manner, covering a range of subjects with one topic area. When planning weekly, a range of resources and planning schemes are used. I always include some practical activities in my planning, as most of the children are kinaesthetic or tactile learners.

    I am interested in using blogs and collaboration tools in my classroom, as these would particularly interest the boys in the class.

  25. hi everybody!
    I teach early teenagers and adults in-company. For the teens I have to follow the textbook; that doesn't mean that I don't 'spice it' here and there with some extra activity related to their interests. I also change the order of the pages to be covered and delete the activities I don't consider useful. With them, I started a google group but it didin't meet my expectations; they didn't get engaged as I expected :(
    For the adults, fortunately, I follow some book as a guide but I 'enrich' each unit with worksheets, podcasts, songs, videos, newspaper articles... anything related to the topic we are working with to increase the exposure to the language. Also, I give them some homework from free sites in which they can work autonomusly.

  26. sorry! I forgot! I always plan my lessons and, when I go into the classroom, I have a sort of 'bullet points' to cover. During the lesson, I take notes of mistakes or good language use to somment on them as a class in the last 10 minutes

  27. Hi,

    My name is Kim and I teach adults in higher education. I use my institute's learner outcomes to drive my lesson planning. I incorporate the required skills and strategies into my weekly plans. However, the plan I actually use in the class are just like Cari's. I just write down the main points I want to cover in bullet format, or write down the pages I'll use in a text book. I really need to write the specific objective of each lesson and make certain that I assess whether or not I meet this objective!

  28. Hi, I’m Carolina Lapointe from Ilo, Perú. I work in two private English institutes with similar teaching contexts. Like some colleagues, I have students of all ages except kids.
    I need to follow a textbook but have freedom to change things taking into account my students’ interests and needs. In this sense I resonate with Cari. I plan daily lessons but knowing beforehand all about the whole unit I’m supposed to cover. I like to focus on the topic of the unit and from there make any necessary changes. I usually prepare warm-ups that will connect the learners’ own experiences with the topic we will be discussing. This works for me since I can elicit vocabulary related to such topic or I can introduce new words and phrases that I know students will see later. Depending on the group I will have a simple guideline to follow as a lesson plan or I’ll take more time to prepare something more detailed.

  29. Hi i came this place to check the comment box that is it working or not. Hope it is good bec many comments are here.

  30. hello
    a late start. Looking forward to this class. I'm a corporate educator. My interest in joining this class is to participate as teachers do. Your students eventually come to my environment which is the corporate side. I want to extend the same curiousity and creativity that you have started them with.
    What better to learn what you are all doing than to partcipate and learn from all of you
    Toronto, Canada

  31. hi my name is saro rosales and i´ve been teaching english for 24 years, first to young students at a high school and for the last 20 years in a language school in gran canaria, spain. i teach pre-intermediate (using moodle) and i have a blog for my intermediate schools. the use of new technologies in education has been, after so many years, a challenge and ilusion

  32. Hi everyone,
    I am Kelly Vieira. I loved this idea of having a blog to share our experiences. As a blog lover, I feel myself at home!
    I teach at a public language school in Brasília. I have students from 11 - 30 years old mainly who are divided into level of English language. Every semester I have new groups of learners who struggle to learn a language that is almost a myth to them. They are from difficult realities in terms of money and social class. My students struggle to study in a school that offers them the opportunity to learn a foreign language but the world asks them to forget it. We as teachers have the challenge to make them see how important it is to study and be prepared to face the market. I boost their ego by saying how brave their are to be there every class. I never give up. I have collected some good examples and tried to set another good for them.
    I hope the circle of sharing experiences grow more and more.
    See you.

  33. Hi, I'm Marina and I teach English at secondary school level (15-17 year olds this year, 12-15 last year) and tertiary level institutions, both private and public.
    In spite of the fact that my secondary school students have been exposed to English systematically ever since they were 3, I still get classes which are truly mixed, and I can say I have four or five different levels in the same class. It is puzzling, and somehow fascinating to see how people develop their own skills at a different pace. And this is something that teachers of other areas maybe don't see. So planning is indeed difficult, since I do have to think a few things ahead so as to cater for all levels and styles, however idyllic that may sound. Like many of you, I just have an outline with the main points, and sometimes the examples I need to explain a particular point. The rest is just the "magic" of the day, sometimes, as some of you have said, there are other things to tackle in the group and that becomes the top priority.
    Truly glad to read your comments!

  34. Hi all,

    I am Agus D. Priyanto, an English teacher for university students. Similar to Prof. Marina's case, I have mixed students in one class.
    Therefore, I am now thinking of making a placement test just to group them into the same level.
    I usually start my lesson plan with the objective of the session, then jotting down the steps I will do in class. That will include how I will start engaging my students, give explanation, give them practice, and do the assessment. When I have enough reasons to let them go online, I will do so.
    That's it.
    I also use blogs with my students. One of them is
    My personal blog is
    Looking forward to your comments.

  35. How do I plan my lessons?
    I teach different group of students every semester. I have teenagers and adults from elementary school to university. Most of my students have never traveled abroad or talked to a native speaker.
    I use a textbook in my school. I follow the author’s ideas and add my own style to every class. I also like using the best of all methods I could read about. There are classes I use repetition, speaking practice, gestures, questions and answers, drills and so on. I vary the procedures and I also try to get the best of each student by offering multiple intelligence activities. Of course it is not every class. In a semester, I give at least three multiple intelligence activity that I adapt from the activities I have from the book.
    I have freedom to change what the textbook suggest but I cannot modify the language content my students have to study. I give the same tests that all the teachers from the same level give to his students.
    I have some strategies I consider essential to my teaching practice:
    - Spice up lessons with funny stories: embarrassing stories, funny moments in family, new experiences from the last weekend, etc
    - Add/ improve / skip activities from the textbook. I love showing how the activities from the textbook are interesting by using the ones which are relevant to the students. The activities I don’t find very effective, I adapt them to another exercise or use the idea to create another task.
    - Warm up to start the class. I use 5 to 10 minutes to introduce the topic of the new lessons by using games, speaking practice, or reviewing the last class content to refresh students’ memory.
    - Use students’ schemata to make them active their own learning. I try to involve students in every step of my lesson plan. They are the ones to give me the questions and also the answers. Sometimes I ask them, sometimes they ask me.
    - Use interactive and collaborative activities. I reckon much of my success with my students is the use of blogs. It is an excellent tool to boost group work and let shy students bright in class. Visit the blog I have to assess my students:
    - I hope I hear from you soon.
    - kelly

  36. Hi, I'm Julia from Akron, OH. I teach English for Academic Purposes. Nearly all my students are looking to eventually be accepted into undergrad or graduate study programs at US universities and our program is quite intensive in order to help prepare them for academic study. I have taught academic reading for 3 semesters. The approach we take is a skills-based approach, and generally I follow the textbook closely but do supplement the topics with materials I create or find. My lesson plans can look like anything from a bullet-point list to a more detailed, minute-by-minute game plan. It depends on my familiarity with the material. If I'm going to be giving instructions for a difficult task or explaining a new concept, I might sit for a few minutes and script out what I'm going to say, especially if it is the first time for both me an the students.

    I agree with what was posted earlier by Justin: I also try to personalize the topics and generate more student interest, which can be difficult for reluctant readers and especially when the authentic academic texts we need to read are not interesting for them. In another post, Leigh mentioned that lesson planning is not only about time management, but it is important for the teacher to know WHY they are doing something. To me this is the most important aspect of the lesson. I try to have a good reason and rationale for each of my activities/approaches/methods, and I share this with my students periodically. I think that by letting them know that I have thought through my actions and decisions and can give a solid reason why I'm asking them to do certain things then that fosters a more effective and productive learning environment.

  37. Hi!
    I'm Abellatif from Morocco. I teach part time at a private school. The textbooks we're using are adopting mainly communicative and theme-based approaches. But I try to incorporate ICT materials to make my lessons more appealing to learners.

  38. Hi!
    Saro reminds me of the time when we tried to use moodle for in-service training. It didn't work because we were told that we needed an independent server. So we opted for a simpler and more user-riendly application: nicenet.


  39. Hello,
    Sorry for being so late.I was on vacation and like Kelly I work in a public language center and my students are from 9 to 18 years old. We have a textbook to follow and I usually plan my lessons looking at the pages I have to work with ( usually 2 each class) and try to add interesting activities.

  40. Hi, everyone! I have a doubt, I keep on postin my comments but I cannot find them here... Does anybody know what can be happening? Am I doing something wrong?
    Thanks in advance,