Okay, so you’ve got yourself a shiny new teaching English to adults job. It’s now getting to crunch time. What do you actually do in your classes, and is there a source for all adult ESL lesson plans?
Keep on reading to find out what’s the deal with lesson planning when you work in a Korean university or teach adults anywhere in the world for that matter. Don’t worry. It’s not as difficult as you might think to have awesome ESL adult lesson plans.
Teaching English to Adults ESL Lesson Plan
One of the common questions that I get from Hagwon and public school teachers in South Korea is what I actually do in my university classes. In hagwons, it’s rare to have the same students for more than an hour at a time, and 40-45 minutes is more common, a couple of times a week.
With this length of time, it’s pretty easy to keep just about anyone entertained. In public schools, the class lengths are about the same, and the Korean co-teacher usually does the bulk of the heavy lifting, with the foreign teacher just being the “assistant.”
However, university English classes are an entirely different beast altogether, and you’ll certainly want to check out this sample ESL lesson plan for some great ideas.
Check out this Sample Adult ESL Lesson Plan
My university classes in Korea range from 1.5 hours to 4 hours with the same group of students. 4-hour classes can be quite difficult to plan for since they’re so long, so I’ll use that as my adult ESL lesson plan example. Here’s how I would use the time (if I was given no materials that I had to teach) and had reasonably high-level students.
First, choose a topic for your ESL adult lesson plan
I’d pick a topic such as “Youth unemploymeant in Korea,” “Microfinance” or “Renewable Energy.” I choose stuff that I’m actually interested in, and then I adapt and make it easier for as low-level as high-beginners. Things like movies, hobbies, food and pets are TOTALLY overdone, and I refuse to use topics like these unless forced to (if I’m given a textbook with them in it or have extremely low-level students-but, I generally try to avoid teaching absolute beginners because I find it pretty demoralizing).
#1: introduction to the topic
Choosing the topic of your adult ESL lesson plan usually involves some general warm-up questions, key vocabulary, sample conversation, or something like “describe the picture” for lower-level students.
#2: Reading or listening
If you find articles from Breaking News English, you can do the listening first with some sort of “big-picture” questions. I’d usually listen twice, with the first time just being simple true/false or matching or something and then the second time, I’d increase the level of difficulty and use some short answer questions. I’ll always get the students to compare with their partners before eliciting answers from the class.
Then, I’d get the students to read the same thing that they just listened to, but they’d have to answer some serious “critical thinking” or advanced level “reading comprehension” questions where the answers require processing the information in a deep kind of way, or the answers are very subtle and require some “reading between the lines.”
The students would have to discuss in small groups of 3-4 people, and then we’d talk together as a class. I give them questions based on the topic for that day.
#4: Activity or Game
For example, when I talked about micro-finance, I showed a couple of videos from Kiva and showed the students my own portfolio to who I lent money.
It might be a debate of some kind. For example, on the topic of Youth Unemployment, it could be, “Who has the final responsibility for solving this problem: youth, the government, parents, industry or universities?”
It could be a survey activity. For advanced students, they’d have to make their own survey question or two, ask their classmates, process the information and then report back to the class their results. For lower levels, I give them the questions already prepared.
Or, I might do some writing activity of some kind where the students have to share their opinion on the topic. But, I will quite rarely do this, and my activities are generally slanted towards speaking.
Example of adult ESL Lesson Plans for University Students
If you want to see this kind of adult ESL lesson plan in action, here are the goods! It’s an ESL adult lesson plan dealing with youth unemployment in South Korea, and it’s suitable for a 3-4 hour class.
Youth Unemployment in Korea Lesson Plan
Here’s a 4-hour ESL lesson plan on the topic of Youth Unemployment. Of course, if you don’t teach in South Korea, you probably shouldn’t use this lesson plan for your classes!
That said, the principles are the same, so just choose a topic more relevant to your students. Ideally, you could choose a similar reading or listening passage about youth unemployment in your own country. Then, much of the work would be done for you.
Here are the steps I followed for this advanced ESL lesson:
#1: Warm-up riddles + Setting the Context
Lots of students come late so I do some riddles for 5-10 minutes while people stream in. This was the only thing that was not related to the main theme of the lesson. And of course, it’s a good idea, in general, to start with an ESL warmer of some kind.
Then I have the students talk with a partner and then the whole class together about some general questions related to hopes for the future in terms of jobs, etc. Basically, I want to set the context and get my students thinking about what’s coming up.
#2: Reading-first time
I had the students read the passage quickly (less than a minute, CELTA style) and then answer some true/false questions. Then, they compared their answers with a partner and then the whole class. Here are the article and questions that I use for this lesson plan.
#3: Reading-second time
This time, the students read slowly and have to answer some difficult comprehension questions. After that, they talk with a partner or small group at first and then quickly together as an entire class. This part often leads to some pretty interesting discussions so in a class this long, feel free to let the students take it where it might go.
#4: Youth Unemployment Video-first time
What is the program about in this video? My students have to talk with a partner and then we discuss the video with the whole class.
#5: Video-second time
Would this program work in Korea? Talk with a partner and then with the whole class.
Kiva Microfinance Organization
Show the website and talk about what they do, watch their short video, etc. Choose someone to “lend” money to. I then talk about why I love to use Kiva.
Groups of 4 students brainstorm ways to reduce youth unemployment in Korea. Each person chooses their favourite and prepares a 2-minute speech about why it’s the best solution. Give the speech to their group and the other 3 members must ask a difficult question each. One person from each group can share their solution with the class.
#7: Follow Up for the Topic
If there’s still time in the end, I’ll have an emergency activity or two. It usually involves writing a paragraph about something related to the topic.
Grammar Focus ESL Adult Lesson Plans
If you want to teach grammar to university students or adults, it can seem a bit overwhelming at times. Where do you start, right? Some of the grammar points are just so complicated.
However, an ESL adult lesson plan template certainly makes this task much easier. There are some key steps to follow and by using this template, you’ll be able to plan ESL grammar lessons in no time at all.
Sounds like exactly what you need to make your TEFL classes better? You can find out all the details here for easier ESL lesson plans:
How to Plan an ESL Grammar Lesson.
Or, be sure to check out these top ideas:
Sample ESL Adult Lesson Plan for Listening
I know that many foreign teachers teach “speaking” or “conversation” classes and choose to focus mostly on speaking. However, if you think about it, listening is half of the conversation, right? Or it should be! That’s why I like to spend some time working on listening skills in my classes.
Like grammar, planning an ESL lesson plan that’s focused on listening is just so much easier if you have a template with steps to follow. Check that out right here:
ESL Lesson Plan Template for Listening.
Conversation Lesson Plan for Adults
If you want to see a sample of a lesson plan that focuses on speaking and conversation, have a look at these ready-made ones on travel or time that include the following:
- Warmer question
- Vocabulary focus
- Idioms and phrases
- 14 conversation questions
- Writing prompts that are ideal for homework
You can find them here:
Travel ESL Speaking Lesson Plan.
Conversation Topics and Discussion Questions
Did you like these ESL Lesson Plans?
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 278 Pages - 07/12/2020 (Publication Date)
Yes? Thought so. Then you’re going to love this book over on Amazon: 67 ESL Conversation Topics with Questions, Vocabulary, Writing Prompts & More. In short, it’s everything you need for a complete English conversation lesson for teens, university students, or adults.
Why not make your life easier, right? Just get the book, print off a lesson and go. There are 67 timeless topics to choose from so you’re sure to find something that will interest any group of students.
Have a look at the book on Amazon but only if you want a serious dose of ESL teaching awesome in your life:
FAQs About ESL Adult Lesson Plans
Here are the most frequently asked question about making lesson plans for adults and university students.
How do you make a lesson plan for adults?
You want an ESL adult lesson plan to be as clear as possible. First, choose the topic, include an introduction to the topic, reading or speaking activity with questions, discussion, and additional activity or game.
What are the four key components of a lesson plan?
The key components of an ESL lesson plan include lesson topics, class objectives, procedures, and student practice.
What is PPP?
How do you teach English speaking to ESL adults?
You can teach English speaking lessons to adult ESL students by utilizing online lesson plan samples, games, and activities.
Making Adult ESL Lesson Plans: Join the Conversation
If you teach adults in Korea or around the world, please let us know what you do in your classes. Do you have any go-to university ESL lesson plans that you’d like to share with us? Leave a comment below and let us know. We’d love to hear from you.
Also, be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other busy teachers, like yourself, when planning their English classes.
Last update on 2022-06-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API