If you are starting your TEFL journey as a freelancer and teaching your own students, the main thing you’ll be doing outside of teaching, is lesson planning! There is a wealth of online materials and resources you can use to help with your lesson prepping. It is easy to get lost and feel overwhelmed due to the vast amount of online resources, so I’m hoping to share some helpful sites and information to help you on your journey.
1 - A great starting point if you are beginning your TEFL career is the British Council (www.teachingenglish.org.uk). They provide a wide variety of ready-made lesson plans to save you hours of preparation time! The site is easy to navigate and has different sections for each key skill for example reading and listening lesson plans along with business English plans. Each level is covered from A1 through to C1 and every age range – from kids, teens through to adults. There are a wide range of topics covered too, so depending on your student’s requirements and interests, you are sure to find a lesson plan or 2 here that will fit perfectly.
2 – Lingua House (www.linguahouse.com) is another great starting point if you are new to teaching and lesson planning or just starting out on your TEFL career. They have 2 types of lesson plans – free and subscribed. There is an annual subscription fee for a lot of the lesson plans, however the paid for material is updated a lot more regularly, with lessons plans based on current events added weekly. If you find the free lesson plans useful, it could be worth registering but there are plenty of free resources too, so don’t panic! Similarly to British Council, there are a wide selection of lesson plans, covering all ages and abilities along with a wide variety of topics. They also have a great grammar section with a range of grammar lessons and grammar review lessons too. There is a helpful filter option and search bar on the site as well to help you find what you are looking for.
3 – For slightly different lesson plans and material, National Geographic (https://www.ngllife.com/content/resources ) offer a large selection of reading and listening topics for Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced level students. They also have a wide range of grammar exercises, plus a Business English section, and a selection of word lists that correlate to the lesson plans and exercises. As well as the lessons plans and teaching material, National Geographic also have a YouTube page (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrbSazjHtYVjpJdm0aZMTGQ ) filled with teacher training and teaching resources which are really helpful to use. Another perk of using National Geographic is that they offer free teacher training webinars, so I would definitely recommend signing up to these when they are available.
4 – ISL Collective ( https://en.islcollective.com/login ) is a really good site for general lesson activities. There is a large range of activities from grammar practice, reading activities, and games. This is another free site; you just need to register to be able to download the resources. There is an option to donate a small amount to the running costs of the site but again this is optional so no pressure to pay anything. The site also has a search function to make it easier to find the teaching materials you are after. An advantage to the activities on ISL is that they download to Microsoft Word, so they are easy to edit. So, if you want to group a couple of similar activities together, or you don’t like the layout but like the content, you can change it accordingly to fit your teaching style.
5 – Google & YouTube – There are so many other teaching resources and materials to be found through Google, but I thought I would share the sites I have found most useful in my TEFL journey so far. I have found lots of great listening activities on YouTube – from videos about festivals and celebrations to animal facts and world travel – there is a wealth of content which you can use and create Q&A’s for your students to check their understanding.
As with all online materials, its always important to thoroughly check the content before teaching as there can sometimes be the odd spelling mistake/ typo so always make sure to check before using or sharing the material. The sites I have written about are all great starting points for your lesson plans and teaching materials, and a lot of them you can use with minimal amends, but they are also a great base for you to add to, or cut and paste, to create your own lesson plans!