Trends in English Language Education (Upper-Intermediate ESL Lesson Plan)

Download the Trends in English Education (ESL) Lesson Plan here: Trends-in-ESL-UppIntermediate-01062015.doc

Trends in English Language Education (ESL): Upper-Intermediate

Trends in studying English worldwide

Trends in English Language Education (ESL) Lesson Plan: Warm-Up

  1. When did you begin studying English? Was it the right time?
  2. As an English student, what teaching and study methods help you learn most effectively?
  3. Brainstorm: How has the way English is studied and taught changed in the past 20 years? Think of some ideas with your classmates.

Reading: Trends in English Language Education (ESL)

English language education continues to gain importance worldwide. In countries such as Saudi Arabia and Vietnam, students are beginning to study English in primary school. English testing has also become an even bigger business. Many universities in English-speaking countries require international students take IELTS, which passed TOEFL as the most popular test for higher education in 2007. In Japan, companies still seek workers with high TOEIC scores. In Europe, exams such as FCE, CAE, and CPE from Cambridge are popular.

Technology has changed the way people are studying. Although the textbook still plays an important role in classrooms, students nowadays are also learning through online videos, websites, mobile apps and games. Best of all, much of this content is available for free. Students who are willing to pay are using Skype to take lessons from online tutors.

People with more money continue to study abroad, which is not a new trend. They believe that immersion is the most effective way to improve their English.

Teaching philosophies are also changing. More teachers see language now as something that is constantly evolving. New words are being created, old words are receiving new meanings, and spelling and even grammatical patterns are becoming outdated. These teachers are focusing on how language is actually used in the real world, not how it appeared in a textbook twenty years ago. In connection with this, the goal of English class has shifted towards to fluency in communication and competency in completing tasks. This focus on communication has begun to overshadow the idea of trying to imitate a native speaker or reproduce set grammatical forms.

Lastly, more students are improving their English through the study of another subject. Followers of this trend, called Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), believe the English can be a means to learn other content, such as business or science. [307 words]


Trends in English Language Education (ESL) Lesson Plan: Comprehension Questions

  1. When do children start studying English in Vietnam?
  2. True or False: IELTS is the most popular test in higher education.
  3. How has technology changed the study of English? What technology has not changed?
  4. How is the way English is taught changing?
  5. What is CLIL? Is studying about trends in English education an example of CLIL?
  6. Your opinion: What do you think of the trends mentioned in the article?

Trends in English Language Education (ESL) Lesson Plan: Vocabulary Matching

Match the words with their meaning as used in the article.

1.     seek (v)

2.     play a role (idiom)

3.     immersion (n)

4.     philosophy (n)

5.     evolve (v)

6.     competency (n)

7.     overshadow (v)

8.     imitate (v)

9.     means (n)

a.     the ability to do something successfully or efficiently

b.     a tool or way to achieve a goal

c.     a theory or attitude that guides your behavior

d.     be a significant part of something

e.     develop gradually, especially from simple to more complex forms

f.      appear more important or prominent than something else

g.     act like something/somebody else; to copy someone’s behaviour

h.     learning a foreign language in an environment where it is used everywhere

i.       look for

Vocabulary Homework

Circle the words that were new for you. Add them to your vocabulary notebook and make sentences for homework.

Trends in English Language Education (ESL) Lesson Plan: Debate (Group or Pair Work)

Topic: School children should be required to study English when they enter first grade of primary school.

Student A: You agree with the above statement. Spend a minute thinking of reasons to support your argument. When are ready, you can start the debate. After you have finished, listen to your partner’s ideas. Make notes. When your partner has finished, respond to his/her ideas.

Student B: You disagree with the above statement. Spend a minute thinking of reasons to support your argument. The other student will start the debate. While s/he is speaking, listen and make notes. When they are finished, present your ideas.

ESL Lesson Plan: Role-Play — Prescriptivism vs. Descriptivism (Pair Work)

First, pick your role. Student A will be an English teacher and Student B is an ESL student. Next, read the below paragraph. After reading it, please read your role below. Do not read the other student’s role.

“My wife and me used to live in the countryside. We had a relaxing life, but we had to move to a city to quickly find jobs. It’s sad that there are less people which live in the countryside nowadays. Moving back is something we are looking forward to.”

Student A: You are a strict English teacher. You have read Student B’s paragraph. It contains many errors. Firstly, it should be “My wife and I” (subject pronoun). Secondly, you shouldn’t put an adverb (quickly) inside an infinitive (to find). Also, the quantifier for countable nouns is few, not less. There are two other errors as well. Tell Student B about these mistakes, and that unfortunately, s/he will get a low mark for this writing.

Student B: You wrote the above paragraph. You think it’s pretty good. You showed it to your friend, Alan, who is a native English speaker. He said there were no mistakes.

ESL Lesson Plan: Role-Play #2 (Pair-work)

Student A: You are a student who needs an English tutor. On a telephone pole you see a sign for “Great English Tutor — (416) 888-8888.” You have decided to phone the number. First, think of some questions you want to ask the tutor. Then, when you are ready, make the phone call. In the end, decide if you want to have classes with him/her.

Student B: You are an English teacher. You need students, so you have been putting up posters around your city. You hope that someone will call you soon. You need money. (Soon, your phone will ring).

Vocabulary Bonus

These new words were added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary (2015). Can you guess their meanings?

  • meme (n)
  • bestie (n)
  • photobomb (v/n)
  • Emoji (n)

Meme = a funny image/text/video that becomes popular and is passed from person to person online / Bestie = a person’s best friend. / Photobomb = to spoil a photograph by unexpectedly entering the picture when the photograph is taken. / Emoji: an emoticon; an icon that shows an emotion

Trends in English Language Education (ESL) Lesson Plan: Discussion Questions

  1. What English learning resources, such as websites, can you recommend?
  2. Must an English teacher’s native tongue be English?
  3. How do you feel about having class through software such as Skype?
  4. Is the goal of studying English to speak like a native English speaker?

Trends in English Language Education (ESL) Lesson Plan copyright Matthew Barton of

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One comment on “Trends in English Language Education (Upper-Intermediate ESL Lesson Plan)

  1. marie (Posted on 7-31-2016 at 11:11) Reply

    that was actually very good to practice such words in english

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