Tag Archives: lesson planning



Note: For a while now, I’ve wanted to do a series of posts for TESL certificate students and recent graduates. This is the first of what I hope to be a series of articles focused on some foundational skills needed in being an English language instructor.

When I was nine, we got our first computer at home. My brother ordered a Sinclair ZX-80 from the UK and it was a beautiful thing. This thin, white masterpiece of British engineering had 1KB of RAM and no internal storage. Instead, it used cassette tapes for loading and saving programs, which could take up to an hour to load.

I loved it. I was determined to write my own programs and make my millions as a computer programmer. I read through the manual on Sinclair BASIC and played around with simple programs before setting off on my ambitious plan of writing a computer game I could sell. After thinking about it for while (probably 10 minutes), I settled on the name Tank Wars. I wasn’t sure of the details at that point, but I knew it would involve tanks moving around the screen and shooting at one another. Yeah. A winner for sure.

Fast-forward a few years later and Tank Wars still hadn’t gotten off of the ground. I had made some progress, but due to a number of issues, I just couldn’t make it work. Eventually I gave up. Thankfully, it wasn’t a complete loss. I learned a good deal about programming and realized it wasn’t the path for me. I also learned a whole lot about careful planning. Continue reading Questioning




Image courtesy of Keith Kissel

I have a feeling this is going to be a rather short post, but this thought has been taking up space in my brain for too long and needs to get out. I also have a feeling that this isn’t going to be as clear as it seems to be in my head at the moment. Here goes nothing.

I think we have become lazy when it comes to preparing lessons. Okay, that is a bit harsh, but I think there is at least an element of truth to that. When I became an English language instructor back in [date as been removed to protect the age of the writer], we didn’t have the internet; we had to make our lessons from scratch! Actually, that isn’t entirely true, we did have a shelf full of books with some lesson ideas and photocopiable activities (thanks, Jill Hadfield!). I remember spending hours planning, prepping, cutting, glueing, copying, stapling, etc., just to get ready for the next day (I even used stencils and clipart!). I wouldn’t say that my lessons were anything fabulous (actually, I shudder in horror at some of the things that I did), but I did attempt to tailor my lessons to the group I was teaching.

My fear at the moment is that we have become so reliant on the what and not on the why. Continue reading Considering