To kick off lesson planning, here is a demo lesson that I did about a year ago to a group of practice Czech Students on one of the TEFL courses at The Language House. It's a good example of a Task Based lesson where the students, in this case, have to create a new country in groups based on about 10 new lexical words like - population, export/import, capital city, landscape...etc. At the end of the lesson, students discuss and compare their new countries to each other using the correct sentence structures and lexis that we taught earlier in the lesson.
Is this an example of my best work? Of course not, but it demonstrates some positive qualities that you want in a lesson. A couple of things to note though about the video -
|Even if your lesson goes horribly|
wrong, you're still in a beautiful city
1. I had never taught these students before.
2. I hadn't taught a single English lesson in about 1 year because I had been away from Prague.
3. This was a spur of the moment thing and I didn't have a lot of time to prepare.
I'm mentioning these things to illustrate the point that you don't need to know your students well or have something special prepared to achieve positive results like high output, high participation, motivation, engagement...etc in your lessons. You just have to TRY to do the right things. My only materials in this entire lesson was one piece of flip chart paper. That's it!
Too many times teachers make excuses or blame their students for why things didn't go their way. In reality, it's usually the teachers fault because they failed to do what was right, or needed, to get the students involved. Your job as a teacher is to mold your class to do what you want them to do and to get them involved in almost an effortless way. I think for me, my use of humor, my fast pace, my high (but not overpowering) energy and the constant friendly pressure I put on them to get them speaking especially in the beginning, but also throughout the lesson, is what ultimately gets the lesson to where I want it to be.
I'll write a complete lesson plan of this particular lesson later but here are the basic steps. The actual lesson was about 50 minutes long and obviously the video has been shortened, but you should still be able to see the main stages.
Intro - guessing and talking about what country I'm from - (since I don't know these guys this is almost serving as an icebreaker)
Lead in - students in groups discuss what they like and dislike about their own country
Lexis - 10 words elicited and drilled
Study - students practice answering and asking questions to each other using these words
Task Creation - students create in groups their new country
Activation - students compare countries with different groups and ask each other questions using the target language, sentence structure presented. At this stage, I want the output to sound as authentic and realistic as possible.
Wrap up the lesson with some feedback and correct some mistakes from the activation on the board.
Notice throughout the lesson I'm monitoring. I'm actively involved in the students' group work. I'm helping them practice pronunciation, sentence formation, eliminating the use of L1 (Czech) and encouraging them and giving them positive feedback. This is essential if you want results in the classroom. I will say that my TTT is probably a bit higher than normal but I used it to develop a better rapport with the students and inject humor into the lesson. If I were to teach them again, it wouldn't be necessary to use as much language.
TEFL Prague Courses
The Language House