Using Your ESL Curriculum

teacher-Olga-2wESL Adult Curriculum are available by the thousands. If you have already chosen a curriculum, in all probability it is satisfactory, but how the teacher uses it is the big question.

Often the students attend English classes after a hard day’s work, so there must be some social benefits for them, stemming from a good class spirit, and most importantly, they must enjoy their time spent in the classroom. One thing is certain: learning English is hard work, and if hard work is all you can offer them, eventually they will give up. So, whatever curriculum you are using make it your own! Modify the delivery of the content so that there is lots of variety in the lesson, and so that the students can laugh and enjoy themselves.

The following is a very rough outline of a format for a lesson.


When I first started teaching I asked each student to make a name tag on papers I distributed. I went around and greeted each one personally. I needed it to learn their names, but it is a super way to teach the various greetings we use every day: “How are you?,” “How’s it going?,” “How goes it?”.

Soon I found little things about the students that I could incorporate into their greeting, like: “How’s the cold? Is it better?” Then there was one that always brought a laugh when I asked a teen aged boy: “How do you like sitting next to your sister?” One night, after a few months, I decided that I would skip the greeting, and start right in with the lesson. Immediately, one of the girls put up her hand and said “George, you forgot to say hello to us!” They valued this personal contact at the beginning of the classes.

The Hard Stuff:

The vocabulary, and the concepts of the lesson are the most difficult for the students to grasp. Do this part of the lesson first, while the students are still fresh. What the students want is the bare facts, and then a chance to use the information presented. If you talk for more than five minutes, you will see the students losing interest, and fidgeting. Give them the information, and a few examples, then let them work on a written exercise, to try it out for themselves.


>Written exercises:

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge



Once the students have the concept, and you have provided examples, they should be ready for a written exercise. It is often good to stop them after they have done the first five questions and ask your students to read what they have written. If it is a particularly hard concept, pick out one of your good students and say: “Maria, what did you write for question number one?” Write the answers on the board if there is any hesitation.



 A good curriculum should include oral questions for each lesson. There should be 10 to 15 questions

that the teacher can ask the students to answer orally in turn. These should be based upon the concept just taught, so that the students can practice using their new skill. While one is answering, the others are listening, so that it becomes familiar to them.

Small Group Activity:

If there are more written questions included with the lesson, consider making this into a small group activity. The students always enjoy working in small groups with their friends, and they can help each other with their mistakes.

Whole Class Activity:

Finish the class on a high note! There are hundreds of fun activities that will give the students lots of practice, while they have fun together. Remember, learning is best when the students are relaxed and having a good time!

Free Activity:

Picture Activity Book


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Modified: August 29th, 2017
Published: October 15th, 2014

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