ESL Speaking Lesson Plan Template | EFL Lesson Plan

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ESL Speaking lesson plan template

Do you need help planning an English conversation class? You’ve come to the right place! Keep on reading for all the details with our ESL speaking lesson planning 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. It’s not difficult, but surprisingly, there just aren’t that many frameworks that are explained clearly in teacher’s guides or online.

I Didn’t Know How to Make an ESL Lesson pLan Either

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. As a kind of aside, if you haven’t taken something like the Celta or other English training course, I highly recommend doing so.

What’s your Objective? “Speaking” isn’t Enough

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. This is pretty common for most textbooks that you’ll be teaching from, so it’s not really a stretch.

You just have to follow these 6 easy steps for your ESL lesson plan template for adults.

Will this Lesson Plan Work for Kids?

This ESL lesson planner is for adult students. Will it work with children? Kind of, with some modifications.

Most kids are not great at the, “Talk 1-1 with your partner for five minutes kind of thing.” It usually devolves into chaos. So, you’ll usually have to incorporate more whole class activities and things like chants or singing.

Step #1: Set the Context

At the beginning of the lesson, you need to set the context. You’ll want to do this because teaching language (grammar or vocabulary) without giving students a situation or reason to use it in isn’t that helpful.

However, by setting the context, it takes the content from just random new stuff into something far more concrete and useful.

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. Then, elicit some answers from students at the end of this time.

An advanced level teaching move is to kind of steer the conversation into what you’re teaching that day. For example, pick out grammar and vocabulary that the students used which you’re going to teach.

Step #2: Deal with Meaning

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!

Or, if your lesson is about the simple past, you could get students to talk about some things they did on their summer vacation. They’ll obviously have to use verbs, and you could big picture highlight some of the past forms they use. Expect mistakes with the negative form, etc. but don’t look too closely at it yet.

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.”

A common mistake is to jump into the small details first without looking at the big picture. Don’t neglect this step. Along with context, they help students understand the meaning of the language and also to know when to use it.

Learn More about Student-Centered Language Teaching

Remember that if you want your students to improve their skills, you’ll need to put the focus back on your students. Learn more about this in the short video below:

Step #3: Work on Forms

At this point, get explicit with the small details. 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.

Even though textbooks often have a little chart of whatever, I like to write it up on the board. Usually, I make a chart with almost all blank spots. Then, I get the student’s help to fill it in.

With languages, students have often seen the same things before, but just need a reminder of the correct way to do it.

Step #4: Pronunciation Time in a Speaking Lesson Plan

I hate pronunciation drills so I don’t usually do them. However, they can be quite useful for some students and I will pull the out if there is a particular problem.

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 vocabulary.

Step #5: 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. Often, they can catch mistakes at this level instead of just relying on the teacher.

Make sure your practice forces the students to use the target language of that lesson. This is obvious but it’s worth mentioning!

Step #6: Freer Practice

The next step in this ESL lesson plan example is free 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. Some of my favourite ESL speaking exercises are things like surveys, board games, discussion topics, or task-based learning.

This kind of practice could take just a few minutes, or an entire class (the next one if you have time in your schedule.

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.

I’ll generally circulate around the classroom at this point, eavesdropping on the students. I carry around a paper and pen and write down the mistakes I hear. I’ll highlight the ones that I hear more than once with the whole class at the end of the activity.

If I’m going to be seeing students over the course of a semester, and they’re not super motivated to learn English, I”ll usually give the a ranking as a class for how the activity went. For example: okay, good, or needs improvement. If not good, then I’ll say something like, “I saw many students speaking Korean. Let’s work on using more English next time.” Or, “Remember that the goal is to improve your English. Please speak 1-1 with other students, not in a big group because this doesn’t really help you as much.”

ESL Speaking Lesson Plan Examples

If you want to check out some of the ESL speaking lesson plans that I’ve already prepared, then you’ll need to see the following:

6 Conversation Lesson Plans for Adults

They are mostly for students in South Korea, but you could adapt some of them to suit your own context. However, the most valuable part might be to see how an ESL speaking plan fits together.

Please note-I usually base my speaking lesson plans on some sort of reading or listening first. This makes a far more interesting and valuable lesson than simply “free-talking.”  In free-talking, students often just recycle the same tried and true vocabulary and grammatical constructions they already know, instead of pushing themselves to try out new things.

More ESL Lesson Plan Templates

If you’re looking for more templates for ESL lessons beyond just speaking, then you’ll want to check these articles out:

How to Plan an ESL Reading Lesson

ESL Listening Lesson Plan Template

The Killer 4-Hour Class Lesson Plan

ESL Lesson Plans for University Classes

It’s ESL lesson plan examples, templates and more! Basically, just about everything you’re going to need to get started with teaching English, the more awesome, organized way.

Need more Ideas for ESL Speaking Classes?

If you teach conversation, or speaking classes, then you probably need lots of ideas for games or activities you can use. It’s best to mix things up with a variety of classroom activities because it keeps things fresh for you, as well as the students.

If this is the case for you, then you’ll need to check out this book on Amazon: 39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities: For Teenagers and Adults. 

You can get the book in both digital and print formats. The (very cheap!) digital copy can be read on any device. Just download the free Kindle reading app and check out the book on your Smartphone, tablet, Kindle, Mac, or PC.

It’s super easy to have almost 40 top-quality ESL activities and games right at your fingertips. Keep a copy on your bookshelf for a quick reference, or refer to the copy on your phone for lesson planning at your favourite coffee shop.

Check out the book on Amazon today:


Have your Say about this ESL Conversation Class Lesson Plan Template

Is it a solid lesson plan template, or are there other steps you follow when planning your lessons. Leave us a comment and let know know what you think.

Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. It’ll help other teachers, like yourself find this useful teaching resource.


Last update on 2019-07-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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