Defining lesson aims is the first step to prepare an effective lesson. When you set a clear aim, it is easier to make decisions about materials, procedures and the stages that should be present in the lesson. Setting aims and assessing whether you were able to achieve them or not is also a useful tool for professional development.
In this video, we give definitions, examples and practical tips to help you define suitable lesson aims to your learners and know how to prepare lesson more effectively.
In the video, we talk about SMART aims. SMART aims are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound. Here are some examples of SMART Lesson Aims:
Linguistic aims focus on the systems of the language: grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and discourse. If you set a linguistic aim, remember to also state the context in which language is going to be used. Here are some examples:
By the end of the lesson, students will be better able to understand and use the present perfect in the context of past experiences
This lesson aims at helping learners to understand and use comparisons to compare and contrast the cities they live in
By the end of this lesson, students will be better able to use vocabulary to express likes and dislikes
This lesson aims at helping students use contrastive sentence stress to give opinions on controversial topics
Skills aims focus on the systems of language: reading, writing, listening and speaking. Here are some examples:
This lesson aims at helping students develop their reading skills for gist and specific information in the context of sports
By the end of this lesson, students will have developed their speaking skills by talking about their last holiday
This lesson aims at helping learners become better able to write the introductory paragraph of an essay on the topic of higher education in Brazil
Communicative aims usually help students develop their communicative competence to be better able to use language in real-life situations:
By the end of this lesson, students will be better able to talk about their daily routine
This lesson aims at helping learners become better able to ask for directions when travelling abroad
This lesson will help learners to talk about their future plans
In this lesson, students will become better able to write a post and give their opinion on social media
Apart from aims for students, teachers can also set personal aims - that is, aims they wish to achieve in order to improve their practice. For example:
I hope to keep my TTT to a minimum
I hope to manage the lesson effectively
I aim to use appropriate CCQs
My personal aim is to manage time efficiently
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Andreia Zakime is an Academic Coordinator at Cultura Inglesa São Paulo, a CELTA tutor and one of the co-founders of What is ELT?