A designer lessons ESL lesson plan developed by George Chilton
This lesson plan aims to help students become motivated in their use of English out in the real world. They will start to plan and track their use of English and reflect upon their progress with other students in the class in what will hopefully become part of the weekly routine. To see the ideas behind this lesson plan look at Reflections on: Motivation
Big thanks to my friend Heather Van Fleet for passing on the video.
Update – Thanks very much to Alex Walsh (@AlexSWalsh) for creating these great worksheets based on this lesson plan. Really useful and clear!
- Motivate students to use English out of the classroom
- Discussion Activities
- Second conditional
- Listening comprehension
Stage One – discussion and second conditional
This is a warmer, but you can extend the activity if your students enjoy the discussion. It’s a way to begin an unplugged class, so you are limited only by the class time.
Write “30 days” on the board. Ask the students to think of things they could realistically do for a period of 30 days and that would have a real impact on their lives. Give them some examples – but encourage them to think of ways together. Write their ideas on the board as they suggest them:
- Change hair colour
- Take a photography course
- Do a language exchange with someone online
- Stop using the internet
- Start a blog
Now put the students in groups. Ask them a question along the lines of:
How would your life be impacted if you made these changes for 30 days?
Ask your students what conditional the question is. If you’re lucky, they’ll tell you it’s a second conditional. If you need to, map out the structure of a second conditional statement for them to follow.
If + subject + past simple / subject + would + infinitive + clause
As a model answer – I asked the students to tell me how they would respond if I came in the next week having dyed my hair pink. I got some interesting responses; “I’d think you wanted attention.” “I’d imagine you’d broken up with your girlfriend.” “I’d think you were a bit strange.” As to how it would change my life, they told me it would probably change the way I felt about myself, and perhaps how others approached me. We also had an interesting chat about gender identity and difference, but that’s by the by.
Write a response to your model question (whatever it may be) under the second conditional structure, reinforcing what they are to practise.
If I changed my hair colour, my students would think I was an attention seeker.
Next get them to hypothesise how their lives would be different if they made some of the changes or started doing some of the things mentioned on the board.
Ask them to feedback some of their ideas. Error correct and check they are using the second conditional form correctly.
Stage two – (optional) video comprehension.
Skip to stage three if you can’t show video.
Write the following questions for your students:
- What was his first challenge?
- How did it affect him?
- Which mountain did he hike up? (Kilimanjaro)
- How long was his novel? (50 000 words)
- How many words did he have to write in a day every day? (1667/day)
- What changes didn’t “stick”? (Giving up sugar)
- Which were the most successful challenges and why?
Play the video once and see if they can answer the questions.
Next give them the following language chunks, show the video again and see if they can place them in the order he says them. Afterwards ask for your students to define them, if they can.
- Stuck in a rut – unable to move forward with your life
- follow in the footsteps of – to be inspired by and emulate another person
- it turns out – the result was
- give it a shot – to try something
- likely to stick – to have a permanent effect
Give your students error correction and ask their opinion on 30 day challenges. Would they try a challenge? Why or why not?
Stage Three – English out of the classroom
Ask your students to construct a table similar to the one below. They should think of some activities they can do outside of the classroom for the next 30 days, and then decide how much time to dedicate to each activity per week. They should commit to their activities – and say they will do 3 hours outside the class. By adding more than three ideas they can give themselves a choice – and don’t have to complete every activity every week.
Take 5 minutes at the beginning of each class to ask your students to compare their progress. They will motive each other to practise and use English outside of the classroom.
Idea for table credit to http://learnercoachingelt.wordpress.com/
|Activity||Time to dedicate per week||Completed|
|Read the news in English
Listen to a podcast once a week
Speak to my partner in English
Watch a series in English
Go to the cinema
Set my phone to English
Write emails in English
Set my Facebook to English
Designer Lessons by George Chilton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
- This Is Your Life: student centred, natural English, dogme. (designerlessons.org)
- A kiss isn’t just a Kiss – 30-45 Minute Image Speculation Activity (designerlessons.org)
- Love is…An Advanced English Lesson plan. (designerlessons.org)
This is a really good idea, we were actually talking about how we can encourage Ss to improve their English outside of class on #KELTChat last week so I’ll post the link there.
This is a really good lesson George! I will send it on to our teachers.
Hey Nicola I’m glad you like it. Tell ’em to comment on things they like and how they changed them. It’s useful for other teachers to see how the plans can be adapted.
Thanks for the lesson plan, great idea to motivate students making them think about things to do during 30 days!
Hi Sebastian, you’re welcome! I’m glad you like it – we’re going to be looking at more motivational / learning strategy based classes in the future.
Great lesson plan George! Think we’ll be using this in an upcoming Social Club Activity!
Glad you like it – let us know how it goes!
I used this as an impromptu lesson when only one student turned up. Now she is going to sit down with her children in the evening and watch a cartoon with them in English. A definite win win situation, they all get to listen to some English and get to spend some time together. A bonus is that she enjoyed the lesson and is enthused about doing something for herself.
That’s great to hear – it’s all about making sure they don’t have to ‘find time’ to practise English – but rather do it in the natural course of things, with the aim that it becomes second nature to them. If they are making an extra effort they’ll stop, but if it becomes a habit and they enjoy it – then they should continue. Good stuff!
Daniel here from LearnerCoaching ELT. Just discovered your site, and I really like what you’re doing.
Hi Daniel, thanks for your comment. I’ve been AWOL, so apologies for my delayed response! We’ll be back with some new lessons very soon.
Look forward to seeing them
WOW. This is exactly what I was hoping to convey to my students in China with this video.You did the work for me, and organized the material in a creative way. Thank you!
Thanks, I’m glad it’s been useful 🙂
I am loving doing this with my students. I challenged them to send me a daily voice note through WhatsApp telling me how their own personal challenge was going, as we mainly work spoken English and they’ve totally gone for it!
The challenges they chose were just great: from going on a diet to getting a driving license, learning to cook and even learning to play the ukelele; whereas for others (mainly the ones who haven’t yet found their voices in the English), sending me a recorded message with random information like what they’re wearing or what they had for lunch has been a challenge in itself and worked equally as well.
Now we (I work one on one) are listening to the recorded clips in class to correct mistakes, pronunciation and working on vocabulary.
One learners asked me what challenge I was going to do and I couldn’t help answering that listening and taking notes on 15 daily WhatsApps is a challenge, too!
Contrats for the inspiring page, I’d love to share some lesson plans with you all at some point.