Chapter 6. Your lesson is a coherent sequence of learning activities that link together to form a whole.


Chapter 6. Your lesson is a coherent sequence of learning activities that link together to form a whole.

A language lesson consists of a sequence of activities that lead toward your les­son goals or objectives. The structure of a lesson is determined by how you deal with three essential stages of a lesson: openings, sequencing, and closings.


This phase of the lesson serves primarily to focus the students’ attention on the aims of the lesson, to make links to previous learning, to arouse interest in the lesson, to activate background knowledge, or to preview language or strategies students may need to understand in order to complete activities in the lesson. There are various ways in which a teacher can achieve a successful opening – for example:

J Ask questions to assess the learners’ background knowledge or to develop ideas related to the topic.

J Use brainstorming and discussion activities.

J Show a DVD or video clip related to the lesson theme.

J Give a short test.

J Do or show something unusual to arouse students’ interest in the lesson.


A lesson is normally devoted to more than one type of activity, and teachers often have a “script” or preferred sequence that they follow when teaching a particular type of lesson, such as a speaking lesson, a reading lesson, a writing lesson, or a listening lesson. A common lesson sequence found in many tradi­tional language classes consists of a sequence of activities referred to as P–P–P: Presentation, (new language items are introduced), Practice (students complete guided practice activities using the new language), and Production (students take part in freer, more open-ended activities using the new language). In com­municative language teaching, lessons often begin with accuracy-based activities and move toward fluency-based activities. Reading lessons often follow a format consisting of Pre-reading, While-reading, and Post-reading activities. Listening lessons follow a similar format. Conversation lessons often begin with con­trolled practice activities, such as dialog practice, and move toward open-ended activities, such as role plays. Lessons based on a task-based approach often follow a sequence consisting of Pre-task activities, The task cycle, The language focus, and a Follow-up task. In addition to the lesson sequence suggested by the teaching approach you are using or by the particular language skill you are teaching, other more general considerations will also influence the stages into which you think a lesson should be divided, drawing on principles such as “easier before more difficult activities,” “receptive before productive skills,” or “accuracy activities before fluency activities.” At the same time, when planning a lesson, you will need to consider how you will handle the transitions between the different sequences of the lesson.

Experienced teachers are very skilled at handling the transitions between the different parts of a lesson. They tend to mark the onset of transi­tions clearly – for example, by stating when one activityshould end and when the next will begin; they also make use of a variety of procedures to avoid losing class time as they move from one activity to another – for example, by imple­menting clear procedures for forming groups and for carrying out group work.

Less experienced teachers, on the other hand, tend to blend activi­ties together, not paying sufficient attention to the links between events and taking too long to complete the movement between segments of a lesson. It is important to keep in mind that effective lesson links or transitions help maintain students’ attention during transition times and establish a link between one activity and the next. Planning for transitions involves thinking about how the momentum of the lesson will be maintained during a transition – for example, while moving from a whole-class activity to a group-work activity; another issue that teachers need to consider is what students should do between transitions – for example, if some students complete an activity before the others.


The closing phase of a lesson is also an important part of a lesson sequence. Ideally, it should leave the students feeling that they have successfully achieved a goal they set for themselves or that had been established for the lesson, and that the lesson was worthwhile and meaningful. Sometimes you and your students may have a different understanding of what you were trying to achieve in a les­son. At the end of a lesson, it is usually valuable to summarize what the lesson has tried to achieve, to reinforce the points of the lesson, to suggest follow-up work as appropriate, and to prepare students for what will follow. It is always important to praise the students for their effort and performance. During the closing stage, students may raise issues or problems that they would like to discuss or resolve; at this time, you may also encourage them to ask you for sug­gestions concerning how they can improve.

It is often useful to make students aware of the sequence or structure you have planned for a lesson. One way to achieve this is to write a brief lesson outline on the board before the lesson begins (preferably before the students come to class), listing the activities that the students will take part in and the purpose of each activity. This lets the students know what they will be expected to do during the lesson. It also gives students a sense that they are taking part in a lesson that has been well planned and organized. Another benefit of making sure everyone knows exactly how the lesson will play out is that late-coming students can be oriented to which part of the lesson has already been taught.


Creating Effective Language Lessons

by Jack C. Richards and David Bohlke

© Cambridge University Press 2011



2.2 Prepare the questions as to the content of this chapter. Discuss it in groups.



Face to face

3.1 The article below was written by a teacher. Read it and say what she thinks a lesson plan describes.

Creating Lesson Plans Lesson plans have three primary functions. First, the process of preparing them helps instructors organize their thoughts for each day's work with children. Second, they provide documentation that becomes the basis for reflection and future refinement of the instruction process. Third, they enable instructors to document and exchange specific teaching strategies in a format that is easy for others to understand and follow. If multiple instructors, volunteers, interns, etc. are working with children in a single class, creating a lesson plan ensures that everyone knows how and when the activities will be done, and why they are being done. A lesson plan describes a set of activities that are implemented over the course of a single session. In this context, for example, a lesson plan would describe what happens in an out-of-school program with one group of children on one day. This is distinct from a project, which is a series of interrelated lessons, implemented over sequential sessions that result in a product or group of products. A lesson plan is a working document. Your organization may want to assemble an ongoing "best of" collection of lesson plans that have been rewritten to reflect how they were actually implemented or should have been implemented. Since a lesson plan is first and foremost a personal planning tool for an instructor, each instructor should use a format that works best for him or her. At a minimum, lesson plans should include: · age of children · length of time of activities · objectives (what children will accomplish/produce by the end of the session) · learning outcomes (skills and competencies that children will practice or develop) · activity steps/procedures · materials · strategy for incorporating the use of the Internet and related technologies Other planning areas might include: · introductory activities · transitions (activities that bridge a change of activity or a physical move to another space) · closure (activities that help children process what they have learned, and prepare them for the next day's work) · assessment (how to determine what children have learned)/


3.2 What kinds of activities does the author distinguish?


3.3 In your opinion, what classroom activities can be used as introductory activities, transitions and closure? Write a short list. Discuss it with a partner.


4.1 Look at the headline below. What does it suggest the article is about?


How to Write a Lesson Plan: 5 Secrets of Writing Great Lesson Plans   1.One click! That's all it takes for you to say 'thank you' for the articles you find useful! Use the buttons above to show us your love, we work hard to deserve it! Close Writing a lesson plan will ensure that you are prepared for your class and will make it run more smoothly. It is important to break the material up into several sectionsandchoose activities suitable for each.Knowing approximately how much time an activity will take is important, but after the first lesson you may need to adjust things accordingly. It is best to be flexible seeing as different classes will respond to material differently. If at any point students struggle, you will have to dedicate more time to instruction or drilling before moving on to practice activities. For the purposes of this example let’s assume that an English class is forty-five minutes long. How to Proceed Warm up A warm up activity can be used in a number of ways. It can get your students thinking about material that will be used later on in the class, review material from a previous class, or simply get your students thinking in English, moving around, or awake. This activity should only take up a small portion of your lesson, perhaps five minutes. Introduction A good introduction will create a need for students to learn the material you are going to present and get them interested in the day’s topic. This is the part of the lesson where the teacher does the most talking so try to get students involved and use choral repetition to keep students talking about half the time. Depending on how complex the topic is or how much new vocabulary there is, the introduction could take some time but in most cases, about ten minutes should be sufficient. Practice The practice activity would normally be about ten minutes and have students working individually or in pairs. Practicing model dialogues, completing worksheets, and doing short activities would be appropriate. This may take about ten minutesincluding going over the answers or having some demonstrations. Production In the production activity students should have to produce material on their own. Rather than reading sentences, perhaps they have to answer questions or make their own sentences. Longer activities such as board games, which can be played in groups, or activities for the whole class, where students work in teams, would be best. The remaining class time can be devoted to this activity. Review It is a good idea to plan another five minute activity that can be done at the end of class as a review or used as the warm up in the following lesson. If the production activity does not take up the remaining portion of the class period, you have a backup plan. Important When writing lesson plans, be sure to include what part of the textbook you are covering in the lesson, the target structure, new vocabulary, directions for all the activities youintend to use, and the approximate time each section of your lesson will take. The idea behind a lesson plan is that another teacher could pick it up and successfully teach your class without further instructions. If there is an activity where you plan to ask the students questions so that they use the past tense in their responses, write down the questions you plan to ask. It is more difficult to think of appropriate questions on the spot and you are more likely to ask them a question using vocabulary they are unfamiliar with as well. If there is a group activityin the lesson, write down about how many students should be in each group because two to four students is a lot different than five to ten. Writing out your lesson plan can also help you figure out what material you must prepare for a lesson because if your production activity will only take about ten minutes, then you are obviously going to need an additional activity to end the class with. Not all lessons will be conducted the same. In some instances, the introduction of new material may take an entire lesson or the production activity may be an entire lesson. It is always good to have familiar activities to fall back onin case something doesn’t work quite the way you had planned. If students are playing the board game without actually speaking, in other words just moving their pieces around the board, they are not getting the necessary practice so you may have to either join the group having difficulties or change activities altogether. At any rate, lesson plans are enormously helpful and if the following year you find yourself teaching the same material, preparation will be a breeze. try{_402_Show();}catch(e){}


4.2 Look at the list below of words and expressions from the article. With a group, write definitions of each one. Then explain them to someone from a different group, as if you were explaining them to students. Would you explain them just by using the definitions or in some other way?


Group 1 Group 2
instruction practice activities choral repetition completing worksheets board games directions for the activities drilling warm up activity model dialogues target structure production activity group activity


5.1 Teenagers are notoriously hard to please and teachers are always looking for original activities that will both capture and hold students' interest. Watch the video and make brief notes in the chart below. Then discuss your answers



Name of the activity Objectives Teacher’s instructions
Running dictation      


5.2 Which of those activities could you use at a teenage class? Discuss it in groups.


6.1 The author of the article below suggests activities for teenagers. Read the article.

Activities for teenagers Teenagers are at that important stage between childhood and adulthood. They want to be treated responsibly, but they still enjoy having fun during classes. They can also be easily distracted. It is important to keep the activities varied with teenagers and not to spend too long on any one thing. Try to find material that is relevant to them. For example, it wouldn't be appropriate to base a lesson for teenagers on renting and furnishing an apartment. The following subjects are always popular:
  • The internet
  • Celebrities
  • Music
  • Sports
  • Fashion
  • The media
But don't underestimate your teens – they can deal with more serious subjects too and are often very concerned about world issues. Projects work well if you are teaching teenagers, and they also help them learn about working as a team. The following projects are always good choices:
  • Making mini movies
  • Creating newspapers or magazines
  • Designing surveys and asking people's opinions and writing reports or making presentations of the results
Teaching English to teenagers is great fun. It can be inspiring for the students and the teacher alike, and it opens up a completely new area of employment for you to consider.


6.2. The author suggests subjects he considers to be popular with teenagers and projects he thinks to be good choices. Add the subjects and projects you consider to be appropriate in teenage class. Discuss your answers with your partners.


6.3. The word combinations below are from the passage. Match those in the left-hand column with the appropriate one(s) in the right-hand column.


to be treated distracted
be easily varied
stage between your teens
material responsibly
to keep the activities to be concerned about world issues
working as having fun
to be concerned about world issues childhood and adulthood
enjoy a team
don't underestimate that is relevant


Now read through your answers and tick those that personally you consider to be characteristic of teenagers. Discuss your answers with a partner.


The article below presents Interactive Classroom Activities, which can be used at teenage classes. Each of three groups will have to study three classroom activities (1-3; 4-6; 7-9). Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of them in your group and then in other groups present your activities and get acquainted with other ones.


Interactive Classroom Activities 1.Entry/Exit Tickets Entry & Exit tickets are short prompts that provide instructors with a quick student diagnostic. These exercises can be collected on 3”x5” cards, small pieces of paper, or online through a survey or course management system. Entry tickets focus student attention on the day’s topic or ask students to recall background knowledge relevant to the day’s lesson: e.g., “Based on the readings for class today, what is your understanding of ___________?” Exit tickets collect feedback on students’ understanding at the end of a class and provide the students with an opportunity to reflect on what they have learned. They can be helpful in prompting the student to begin to synthesize and integrate the information gained during a class period. For example, a muddiest point prompt: “What was the muddiest point in today’s class?” or “What questions do you still have about today’s lecture?”. Advantages of entrance and exit tickets include: participation of each student, prompt for students to focus on key concepts and ideas, a high return of information for the amount of time invested, important feedback for the instructor that can be useful to guide teaching decisions (e.g., course pacing, quick clarification of small misunderstandings, identification of student interests and questions). 2.Free Writing/Minute Paper/Question of the Day Exercise These are activities that prompt students to write a response to an open question and can be done at any time during a class. Writing activities are usually 1-2 minutes, and can focus on key questions and ideas or ask students to make predictions. These activities give students the opportunity to organize their own thoughts, or can be collected by the teacher to gain feedback from the students. Advantages include developing students’ abilities to think holistically and critically, and improving their writing skills. 3.Ice Breakers Ice Breakers are low-stakes activities that get students to interact and talk to each other, and encourage subsequent classroom interactions. They can be useful at the beginning of the semester: for example, asking students to introduce themselves to each other and what they would like to learn in the course. Advantages of icebreakers include: participation of each student, the creation of a sense of community and focusing students’ attention on material that will be covered during the class period. 4.Think–Pair–Share This type of activity first asks students to consider a question on their own, and then provides an opportunity for students to discuss it in pairs, and finally together with the whole class. The success of these activities depends on the nature of the questions posed. This activity works ideally with questions to encourage deeper thinking, problem-solving, and/or critical analysis. The group discussions are critical as they allow students to articulate their thought processes. The procedure is as follows: 1. Pose a question, usually by writing it on the board or projecting it. 2. Have students consider the question on their own (1 – 2 min). 3. Then allow the students form groups of 2-3 people. 4. Next, have students discuss the question with their partner and share their ideas and/or contrasting opinions (3 min). 5. Re-group as a whole class and solicit responses from some or all of the pairs (3 min). Advantages of the think-pair-share include the engagement of all students in the classroom (particularly the opportunity to give voice to quieter students who might have difficulty sharing in a larger group), quick feedback for the instructor (e.g., the revelation of student misconceptions), encouragement and support for higher levels of thinking of the students. 5.Case Studies and Problem-Based Learning Case studies are scenarios that apply concepts learned in class to a “real-life” situation. They are usually presented in narrative form and often involve problem-solving, links to course readings or source materials, and discussions by groups of students, or the entire class. Usually, case studies are most effective if they are presented sequentially, so that students receive additional information as the case unfolds, and can continue to analyze or critique the situation/problem. Guiding questions lead students through the activity. The questions should be designed to develop student’s critical thinking by asking students to distinguish between fact and assumptions, and critically analyze both the process they take in solving the case study as well as the solution itself. Example questions include: What is the situation? What questions do you have? What problem(s) need to be solved? What are some solution strategies? Evaluate pros/cons and underlying assumptions of these strategies. What information do you need? Where/how could you find it? What criteria will you use to evaluate your solution? There are many collections of case studies publically available in a variety of disciplines. Problem-based learning activities are similar to case studies but usually focus on quantitative problems. In some cases the problems are designed to introduce the material as well as provide students with a deeper learning opportunity. The advantages of problem-based learning activities and case studies include developing students problem solving and decision making skills, develop student’s critical thinking skills encouraging critical reflection and enabling the appreciation of ambiguity in situations. 6.Debate Engaging in collaborative discourse and argumentation enhances student’s conceptual understandings and refines their reasoning abilities. Stage a debate exploiting an arguable divide in the day’s materials. Give teams time to prepare, and then put them into argument with a team focused on representing an opposing viewpoint. Advantages include practice in using the language of the discipline and crafting evidence-based reasoning in their arguments. 7.Interview or Role Play Members of the class take the part or perspective of historical figures, authors, or other characters and must interact from their perspective. Breakdown the role play into specific tasks to keep students organized and to structure them so that the content you want to cover is addressed. Preparation work can be assigned for outside of class, so clearly communicating your expectations is essential. Advantages include motivation to solve a problem or to resolve a conflict for the character, providing a new perspective through which students can explore or understand an issue and the development of skills, such as writing, leadership, coordination, collaboration and research. 8.Interactive Demonstrations Interactive demonstrations can be used in lectures to demonstrate the application of a concept, a skill, or to act out a process. The exercise should not be passive; you should plan and structure your demonstration to incorporate opportunities for students to reflect and analyze the process. 1. Introduce the goal and description of the demonstration. 2. Have students think-pair-share (see above) to discuss what they predict may happen, or to analyze the situation at hand (“pre-demonstration” state or situation). 3. Conduct the demonstration. 4. Students discuss and analyze the outcome (either in pairs/small groups, or as a whole class), based on their initial predictions/interpretations. Advantages of interactive demonstrations include novel visualizations of the material and allowing students to probe their own understanding by asking if they can predict the outcome of the demo. They are also a venue for providing applications of ideas or concepts. 9.Jigsaw A Jigsaw is a cooperative active learning exercise where students are grouped into teams to solve a problem or analyze a reading. These can be done in one of two ways – either each team works on completing a different portion of the assignment and then contributes their knowledge to the class as a whole, or within each group, one student is assigned to a portion of the assignment (the jigsaw comes from the bringing together the various ideas at the end of the activity to produce a solution to the problem). In a jigsaw the activity must be divided into several equal parts, each of which is necessary to solving a problem, or answering a question. Example activities include implementing experiments, small research projects, analyzing and comparing datasets, and working with professional literature. The advantages of the jigsaw include the ability to explore substantive problems or readings, the engagement of all students with the material and in the process of working together, learning from each other, and sharing and critical analyzing a diversity of ideas.


7.2 Watch the video about Teaching Activities, where Debates, Building Dialogues, Storytelling and Information Gap are presented. Discuss with the partner their effectiveness in teenager classroom.


7.3 In this video you will see a teenage class lesson where the teacher practices Ice Breakers “Wordstorm”. Watch it and give your opinion as to its effectivness. Prove your idea.



7.4 Whole class discussion, based on each group’s findings:

“The Interactive Classroom Activities for Teenagers. Pros and cons”.



On line task · Listen to the lectureInteractive classroom activitiesby Kent Lee   · Read the article Planning a Lesson. Structure the Lesson.   · Prepare the presentation of ‘Teenager Classroom Activities”. Choose pictures to illustrate them  



· Write essay ‘Why is it necessary for a teacher to capture and hold teenagers` interest at the lesson?”

· Structure the lesson for a teenage class (according to the program).




2. 3. 3.


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