Sometimes it’s nice to put down the coursebook and plan a class from scratch – focusing on the specific needs and interests of your students. As well as creating a more personalized learning experience, changing up the routine will help keep your learners alert and motivated.
However, it can be difficult to know where to start. What vocabulary should I include? What grammar should I focus on? How do I know the content is the right level?
The Global Scale of English (GSE) Teacher Toolkit can help you answer these questions. It’s a free, online database that offers level-appropriate learning objectives, grammar and vocabulary for adults, young learners and those studying English for academic or professional purposes.
What’s more, it gives you all the tools you need to plan engaging lessons for your learners and also makes choosing target language and learning objectives quick and easy.
Once you’re familiar with how to navigate the GSE Teacher Toolkit, you’ll find lesson planning much easier. So here’s a step-by-step guide.
Step 1: Choose the age and level of your learners
Imagine you want to plan a lesson for a group of older teens. In the drop-down menu on the left, select Adult Learners. We do this because ‘Young Learners’ on the GSE Teacher Toolkit covers an age range up to age 14 (as you can see in the menu above).
Next, choose the level of your learners using the sliding scale in the center. For this lesson, we’ll focus on B1+ learning objectives.
There is also an option to focus on a particular Language Skill (reading, writing, listening or speaking) or a Communicative Category, such as working with different text types or looking at functional language (expressing opinion, comparing, describing). For this lesson, we’ll choose a language objective which focuses on speaking.
Once you have selected your filters, click Show results.
Step 2: Pick a learning objective
To decide which learning objective you want to focus on, it’s important to think about the communicative aim of your lesson.
Currently, most students in the northern hemisphere are enjoying their summer holidays, so the topic of planning a trip is a great starting point.
Imagine, by the end of the lesson, you want students to plan a short trip in pairs and that you’ll give them different options about where to go and what to do there. In order to complete this task, they’ll need to reach a decision in their pairs about the different options.
If we look through the B1+ learning objectives, we can find the one shown in figure two, with related grammar points that will support students in completing their learning objective.
Step 3: Decide what target language the students need
In the learning objective in figure two, the students will compare and contrast alternatives. We know the communicative aim is to plan a short trip and decide on the destination and activities to do there – now we need to find some suitable vocabulary for our students to complete the task.
To find examples of language students will be introduced to at this level, click on the Vocabulary tab on the right and select the most suitable topic. You can make the search more specific by selecting a sub-category. In Figure three below, we’ve selected the subcategory of Holiday places and activities.
This provides you with a list of target language for that level and topic from which to start planning your lesson. If you’re unsure what previous knowledge students should have, you can expand the sliding level scale to see the language in this area for lower levels.
The vocabulary list provides you with a definition, the grammatical category, and an example sentence relevant to the topic. It also shows whether certain vocabulary is more commonly used in British or American English which is a factor to consider when thinking about the environment you teach in and the needs of your learners. You can even listen to the word being pronounced in British and American English.
If you’re thinking of including other vocabulary, but are unsure if it’s suitable for the level of the learners, you can also search directly to check.
Step 4: Complete a lesson plan
Now you have decided on your lesson objectives and target language, you can start to plan the structure of the lesson and the activities to include.
Here’s a sample lesson plan we’ve created based on our chosen learning objective and target language.Download here
For more inspiration read how others are benefitting from the GSE Teacher toolkit.