Start with basic "knowledge" questions and work up from there to gauge your students' level of
understanding and to boost their confidence.
Level 1: Knowledge questions: Yes/No - Is this a book? Either/Or - Is this a book, or a pen?
Level 2: Knowledge & Comprehension questions: Who/What/When/Where - Where is the man? Who is eating? What is he eating?
When does he eat breakfast?
Level 3: Comprehension & Application Questions: Why/How - Why does Jose work at night? How do schools in your home
country discipline students?
Level 4: Analysis, Synthesis & Evaluation Questions: 'Essay' type - How do American schools compare to schools
in your home country? What do you think is the most effective way to discipline children? Do you think that this method
would work in all countries? Why or why not? How much independence should teenagers have?
Consider your students' levels – Your students will come into class with an assessed ESL level.
Every ESL level has a variety of target skills in the areas of reading, writing, listening and speaking.
Students must successfully complete the competencies in a given level in order to move to the next level.
See the documents linked at right for more details.
Set goals – During the first week of classes, allow time for goal-setting with your students.
We have three different goal-setting forms, one for each class level:
When you administer these, remind your students that classes meet just once a week. Have them set realistic goals for
the given amount of class time. Students’ responses on the goal-setting forms will give you an idea of what they want to
learn. A copy of the form will be kept in the individual student's files.
Plan ahead - When you know your students’ assessed levels, what skills they need to
complete, and what they want to learn in class, you can develop a lesson plan. This example of a detailed
Group Lesson Plan may be helpful.
Teach in context - Recognize that your adult ESL students are not learning in a vacuum, but rather in
the midst of family needs, community obligations, and the demands of work. They must learn practical English skills
that apply to real-life situations: letters, bus schedules, interviews, money, food and shopping, etc.
Equipped for the Future is a framework for this kind of lesson planning.