ESL Speaking Lesson Plan Template

ESL Speaking lesson plan template

Whenever I talk to people who are preparing a lesson plan or a demo lesson in order to get ready for an ESL teaching job interview, I’m always surprised that many people really have no idea how to plan a lesson. I was pretty clueless too, until I took the CELTA and the DELTA where my trainers beat this ESL speaking lesson plan template into my head such that I could basically recite it in my sleep.

A short disclaimer. “Speaking” is not enough of a lesson plan objective in itself. You need to put it together with something else, perhaps a grammar point or some new vocabulary. You could also use a listening or reading as the basis for speaking. For this lesson, I’ll assume that you’re introducing some grammar or vocabulary. You just have to follow these 6 easy steps.


At the beginning of the lesson, you need to set the context.

You can set the context in a few different ways, but an excellent way is to get students to talk with their partner for a couple of minutes about a certain topic. It’s best if you give them a challenge of some kind such as, “Think of 5 reasons why…,” or, “Tell your partner about the last time you…”

Don’t control the language they use, but use it as kind of a warm-up to activate any of their previous knowledge.


Introduce the language (grammar or vocabulary) more explicitly at this point. But, don’t get all caught up in the nitty-gritty details of form, but instead focus on the bigger picture. When can you use this language and what does it actually mean if you say, “XYZ.”

For example, if I were introducing “too short/tall, etc.” I could show some pictures of people wearing clothes that don’t fit and ask what the problem is. They’re too short! It’s too small! It’s best if you can get students to work together on this instead of alone or as a whole class. Remember, it’s all about student-centered classrooms!

Be sure to ask some CCQ’s (Concept Checking Questions) at this point to see if students really “get it.”


At this point, get explicit. Make sure you point out not only the positive, but also the negative and the question form if you’re introducing grammar. For vocabulary, be sure to give an example sentence so that students can see how it’s actually used.


I hate pronunciation drills so I don’t usually do them.  If you’re teaching children, be sure to include them because it could be the first time they’ve ever heard this grammar construction or vocab.

Controlled Practice

At this point, you want your students to get some time to use the language. Give them some very controlled practice using the target language. Things like fill in the blanks, matching, etc. Make sure you have some questions related to form and some related to meaning. The best ones combine the two. Always have students compare answers with a partner before checking together as a class.

Make sure your practice forces the students to use the target language of that lesson.

Freer Practice

Once students have the basics down, you can set an activity where they will be able to use the target language in a more creative way. You can do things like surveys, board games, discussion topics, or task-based learning. Monitor and offer feedback, but as long as students are getting their meaning across, don’t interfere too much. An error with meaning is far more serious than an error with form at this point so focus on that.

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