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ESL Lesson Plan Template

Why do you need an ESL lesson plan template? Well, a lesson plan is essential for all teachers – new and old. Firstly, they act as a script for you during your lesson and they will help you manage your classroom (and time!) effectively. Secondly, they serve as a record of what you have taught and where you  are in your syllabus for each class. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, they serve as a great learning tool for you as a teacher. This is because you can review your own performance after each lesson and critique what worked and what didn’t. For example, were your classroom rules understood and adhered to? If not, you can use your experience to amend them. Amending your lesson plan immediately after a lesson will become common as you learn from your mistakes and successes. Keeping these records will also make it much easier to deliver a lesson on the same topic in the future.

We have provided a simple ESL lesson plan template for you. Most of the sections are self-explanatory (date, time, name etc.). There are some areas that do require some further elaboration for new teachers, so we have expanded on these below.

ESL Lesson Plan

Teaching Materials

It will be a very rare day that you do not bring anything with you to a class. At the very least you will be bringing your prized USB containing all of  your wonderful PPT’s (as an aside, please always, always, always back-up your lessons!). Usually you will also be bringing additional TEFL teaching materials with you, such as flash cards, balls, stickers etc. When you first start teaching it can be easy to forget some of these in your office, so it is best practice to note what you will need here to serve as a reminder.


This should show how your lesson fits in in the curriculum so far. You should linkthis lesson with previous lessons and showing how it will develop in the next. For example, you may have previously taught new vocabulary which will be used in this lesson to introduce new grammar points. 

A teacher reading to her students

Anticipated Problems For You and Students

When you plan your lesson, you should give careful consideration to what difficulties both you and your students may face during the lesson. Problems your students may face could be the pronunciation of certain words. For example, the word “orange” is notoriously difficult for many young Chinese learners so you should develop a strategy to help with this. 

You should evaluate your own performance in recent lessons and consider what problems you may encounter during a lesson. A common problem for many new teachers is that they can rush through their lesson. This means they will run out of activities for the class. A solution for this would be to always have at least one back-up activity in mind to help extend the teaching time in your lesson.


This is arguably the most important part of your lesson plan. Here you will outline how your lesson will flow, and how much time you will allocate to each part of your lesson. When you start teaching for the first time, having a detailed procedure will greatly help you to stay focused and on topic during your lesson. It is very easy to get sidetracked during activities and dwell on them longer than is necessary.

Remember to also review your procedure after the lesson and amend it accordingly as soon as you can. Often you will find that you have over or under estimated the length of time students need for certain activities. Always revise your procedure. The next time you teach that topic you should feel your confidence in delivering a great lesson increase tenfold!

Free Sample Lesson Plans:

Occasionally we will write articles and provide example lesson plans for specific types of lessons. You can find these below, we recommend you check in often as the list is always growing!

  • Vocabulary: Learn how to teach vocabulary and review a sample lesson plan on animals for Elementary school students
  • Past Simple: Teaching grammar is tough, but this guide and lesson plan should steer you in the right direction for the teaching the past simple tense.

Tom Bogues

Tom is the Director of ESL Job Center. He has been working in the TEFL industry in one form or another since 2016 and is now using that experience to match quality teachers with quality schools across China.