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Planning for lessons nightmare! 
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Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2015 2:47 am
Posts: 13
Post Planning for lessons nightmare!
Hi, I guess I have a common problem!

I currently have around 20 lessons per week, all varying levels and age groups.

I seem to spend forever planning for these lessons and don't really feel confident going into the lessons with what I have most of the time. And I mean forever, most evenings I am using all of my free time trying to find something to teach for the next day!

I think most of this comes from not having a curriculum to teach from, so I actually don't have any idea myself until I stumble upon something on the net or an idea just pops into my head.

Only a few of my lessons use a course book, I would say I have around 15 lessons to plan without using any books, and with limited paper printouts etc.

Does anyone have any tips on being more time efficient when planning?
And also anywhere I can find a half decent curriculum that covers a few different ages and abilities? Any help would be greatly appreciated!


Tue Jan 13, 2015 3:09 am
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
Posts: 2130
Location: Nagano, Japan
Post Re: Planning for lessons nightmare!
benny - It sounds like quite a challenge.

A couple suggestions would be to set a lesson pattern. For elementary school classes, I like to have a review/new languge section, TPR section, phonics/abc section and then new vocabulary section.
review section: use vocabulary we have learned to practice questions and answers
TPR section: introduce new verbs and even mime out stories
phonics/abc: build reading competence (for younger students I sometimes just read them books)
new vocabulary: build vocabulary needed to discuss some topic or vocabulary that surrounds some grammar point

Junior high school classes here are very grammar focused. So, their classes focus more on being able to use all of the grammar that they learn in school.

Hgh school classes are tough. They know a lot of English but just need to practice speaking. However, just free talking seems like a waste of a lesson (week after week.) So, I try to work in conversational strategies like responding to information, asking about details, explaining things and ideas in English.

Have you looked through the MES Curriculum?

Build up! Be positive! Teach hard!

Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:25 pm
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Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2015 2:47 am
Posts: 13
Post Re: Planning for lessons nightmare!
Thanks, I will look through that link you added and see what I find!
You are right, it is a challenge! A lot of my lessons are conversation or speaking classes, and like you said it does seem like a waste just to "chat" for the lesson.

I do find areas of interest for the students and choose topics where we can learn new vocabulary and expressions, and then discuss it and put some of their conversational skills to the test! But I get the feeling that the students expect a bit more from the lessons.

Just like you said, classes in schools here are also very grammar based, and I don't really want to repeat basic grammar with the students if they have learned it at school already. Also, I don't feel too confident teaching grammar lessons, as even though I can use the correct grammar myself, teaching and explaining it is another story! ;) That's something I am working on though in my free time.

I thought that by now, after 1.5 years of teaching I would have had a library of lessons and ideas built up but I don't seem to have any!

Wed Jan 14, 2015 6:36 pm
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Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:57 pm
Posts: 36
Post Re: Planning for lessons nightmare!
As both Mark and yourself have suggested, it might be easier if you have a curriculum to base things on. When designing your curriculum there is no need to try and reinvent the wheel, grab something that is already out there, and try and adapt it to your, and your students needs.
If your students are younger, say elementary school level, you could have a set lesson structure and change parts of it depending on the topic being studied. Younger students like the comfort and familiarity of a structured plan. As the students age increases, you can vary this more, and do things differently depending on the topics being studied.

Wed May 20, 2015 3:12 pm

Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2015 2:47 am
Posts: 13
Post Re: Planning for lessons nightmare!
Thanks guys. I love that quote, you don't have to re invent the wheel.

Sometimes that is part of the problem, I need to get used to not creating everything different and organic for every one of my lessons.

For a lot of lessons I have free run on what I teach. The boss tells me to ask and see what the students need or want to know.
But most of the students are not very up front with this!

Thu Aug 13, 2015 6:40 pm
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