Published 11th January 2019
Planning EFL lessons take time. As teachers we like to spend time making sure we create interesting and effective lessons which deal appropriately with the content of the lesson but which also flow nicely and make logical sense. Lesson planning is key to helping our learners learn. Without good lessons (which require lesson planning) our learners will walk out of the classroom more confused than before. So we need to make sure we start our lessons off right.
Ten different ways to start an EFL lesson
- Tell a joke: Nothing makes people feel more comfortable than a bit of a laugh. Start your class by telling a joke completely unrelated to the topic of the lesson. Your students will appreciate the light-heartedness and this will set the tone for the rest of the lesson. Just make sure your joke is (a) age-appropriate (b) inoffensive and (c) funny!
- Use a quote: Write a famous or meaningful quote on the board. Invite your students to read the quote and express their opinions on it. This is a great way to introduce a topic and brainstorm ideas and thoughts on it before the lesson starts. It will also give them ideas for what to talk about during the lesson.
- Use a visual: Instead of using a quote, use a picture or video clip.
- Pose a question: Write a topic-related question on the board and elicit responses from your students. The more controversial or debatable the question, the better.
- Tell an anecdote: Students love hearing about your personal life. Tell a funny story about something that happened to you – a funny thing that happened on the way to school, a good movie you watched the night before, what you ate for dinner. Your students will be interested to hear what you have to say and will engage easily with your story. It’s even better if it can relate to the lesson.
- Revision games: Revision is an important part of learning. Spend a few minutes at the beginning of the lesson playing a quick game which revises language from a previous lesson. This will consolidate your learner’s learning and energise them for the lesson ahead.
- Sing a song: For Young Learners, singing a song is a good idea to start the lesson. This signals to the learners that the lesson is about to start and gets them in gear for speaking in English.
- Get them out of their seats: Start the lesson by letting your learners be active before they have to sit in their seats. Do some funny dance moves, stretches or even yoga to wake up your students and get the energy flowing.
- Brainstorming: Write a word on the board and get your students to brainstorm related words and phrases. You can let them do this in teams and see which team can come up with the most words in 1 minute.
- Don’t say anything: Let your students walk in and sit down without you saying a word. Don’t ignore your students but just sit and wait for one of them to break the silence.
These are all different ways of doing the same thing: starting your lesson off well. Mix it up and use different methods each lesson so your students don’t know what to expect when they walk in the classroom.