How to Become an ESL Teacher – English as a Second Language

An Adult ESL Lesson Plan:

Lesson Topic: Learning About the Community

Students will become more comfortable with volunteering at their child’s school. If students do not have children, they can learn how to become volunteers at a local school or community center.

Lesson Plan Level:

Low Beginning ESL, Beginner, Easy

Lesson Goal:

Students will become comfortable with the idea of volunteering at their child’s school regardless of their limited English skills. This will help English learners feel connected with their community.

Student Outcomes:

Students will learn the vocabulary necessary to be able to ask a few questions at their child’s school about volunteering.

Vocabulary Focus:

help, volunteer, child, community, helper, teacher, What? How? When? What time?



Chart paper, pictures of volunteers at schools doing various tasks


1. Students will look at pictures of people helping at their child’s school (ex. photocopying, reading with child, filing papers).

2. Teacher will ask if students have done this before by showing a thumbs up, thumbs down approach.



  • Same materials used in Engagement:
  • photos for questions and skills/tasks


1. After the teacher tells students that it is important for them to help at their child’s school whenever possible, she will review ways they can help through the pictures.

2. Teacher can demonstrate questions they can ask on the board by using key vocabulary (What, How, When, What time?) they can use to ask a teacher at school. Picture cards will be used for these questions as well as the teacher demonstrates asking questions.

3. Teacher will elicit responses on ways/skills students may have that they can use to help volunteer (i.e. filing, reading, photocopying) using picture cues.



  • Paper and pencils
  • Teacher made scramble sheet or scramble word cards


Students will match pictures with words in pairs as teacher monitors and checks for understanding.

Students will scramble words in pairs to create questions they can potentially ask their child’s teacher about volunteering. Then they will practice reading the questions as teacher supports each pair of students.

Using sentence starters, students will work on practicing their responses using key vocabulary.



  • Premade teacher questions for role-playing


Students will role-play being the teacher (more advanced students that can ask premade questions made by teacher) and parent asking for how they can help, their availability and when using vocabulary words.

A separate application activity can be a version of Conversation Café where students ask each other questions they made and place them in an envelope for students to answer.

As an extension: Students can visit school and ask their teachers to volunteer. After, they can come share their experiences with the class and tell how they will help at their child’s school.

Day One Lesson Plan for ESL Learners

It is the beginning of your ESL teaching term and you are getting prepared to do your first lesson. What should you do? It is important to make your learners feel comfortable in their new class setting and that they get to know you and their peers. Therefore, it is key that you do an introduction lesson where they can all learn a little bit about each other and practice basic speaking skills with new learned vocabulary. Modifications to this lesson should be made based on the skill level of your beginner learners.  This lesson can be used with students of all ages.

Lesson Title:



Low/Beginning ESL


To be able to greet people, introduce yourself, introduce others, ask for information, and give information. Learners will: Identify themselves and be able to give basic information about themselves in classroom situations and controlled settings. Content standards S2.1a The idea is for students to be comfortable with their new peers and get to know each other while learning new English vocabulary.

Link activity:

The teacher will show students a few items that describe herself so students can relate to and model how to introduce oneself using key words: name, like, enjoy, live, from. The teacher will write the sentence starters on the board.

Engage and Educate:

Teacher will model how to ask someone more about themselves with another student using the sentence starters. Students will be instructed to use the sentence starters written on the board and practice with a partner. Ex: Hi, my name is ________. I like to ______. I enjoy ________. I am from ________.

Active Learning:

Students will find three people to interview using the sentence starters. If students are able to write their responses they can do so. Teacher will monitor students and assist when necessary.


Students will then share information about one person they met until everyone gets a turn. Teacher will assist students who need help and encourage students to introduce someone that hasn’t been already introduced. Key words to introduce for this activity include: I, met, he, she

Extension/real life application:

Students will be encouraged to think of someone they can practice with either at home or at the work place. Then, they will be asked to share what they learned about someone else at the next class meeting. It is advisable for them to practice with someone who can speak English so they can learn new words such as new hobbies and locations.

If there’s time:

Students can create a timeline including five events and dates in their life. The teacher should have a premade timeline made of herself to model the activity. Beginners may simply draw pictures and label them next to the five dates. In addition, they should pair-share their timeline with a partner and then share what they learned about their partner with the class.

English Student Raising His Hand to Assess the Answer to the Teachers Question

A Critical Assessment for Adult ESL Learners

What is a needs assessment? A needs assessment is a group or individual assessment you can give adult ESL learners at the beginning of the semester to determine what their interests are. The purpose of the assessment is to determine the interests of your students. These interests will then identify what the topics of study will be for the semester. Adults are driven by interest just as all other students. So, if you can determine what these are, then the learning will be more effective and meaningful. The usual topics of study for adult ESL learners are community, shopping, work, transportation, time, health, school, and friends and family. As you can see, these topics are part of our everyday lives and therefore crucial for ESL students to learn and talk about. With semesters being relatively short, it is impossible for all the topics to be covered. Therefore, your class should select three or four topics to cover within the semester. It is important to explain to your students that not all topics will be covered.  This is especially important for them to know if they have a book because they will see that they didn’t get through all of it. How can you assess your students?

· Students can vote on their top four topics of interest.

· A survey can be given where students choose their top interests.

· Students can interview each other and practice asking each other questions about what their interests are at the same time.

· Students can take an individual simple assessment where they circle their top four topics.

Since adults need to learn English rather quickly to communicate with others on a day to day basis, these topics are crucial to helping them get around in the U.S. and be able to communicate with others and participate in their community. Most adult learners are very anxious to learn English and when they are interested in their learning and able to choose their own topics, they are vested in the learning.

Depending on the level of your students, the assessment should be modified. For beginning students, the topics need to be explained in detail as the students may not know what the topics consist of or mean. This can be challenging but not impossible. With the use of visuals and videos, students will be able to determine which topics they would enjoy learning more about. The lessons following the assessment should also be modified depending on the students’ language level. Vocabulary in all topics are highly necessary to teach students. Through the use of visuals, dialogue, and role-playing, all students will find the content engaging.


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