Teaching EFL English in Thailand, I sometimes struggle to try to get my students to write something in English that’s interesting. Most EFL/ESL students don’t like writing in English because it’s difficult
for them. They also don’t know what to write about and often try to make it sound more ‘professional’, which in turn, just makes it sound dull. Even with my EFL Business English students, who have very high-level English skills, a writing class is still a chore.
So, recently, I came up with a fun, free EFL lesson plan for writing in English that really excited and energized my students – have them write a blog. If you too have the same problem with EFL/ESL students and writing, try this fun free lesson plan. You’ll be surprised at how much fun your EFL/ESL students will have doing it.
Expected Learning Outcome – Students will learn how to write a short, interesting article on a subject that interests them, using correct English grammar and punctuation.
Materials and Resources – Whiteboard markers, and the use of the website ‘Blogger.com’. And create a blog on blogger.com or any of the other free blog websites before the class starts.
Step One: First of all, go around the class and ask each student what their interests or hobbies are. They’ll tell you things like “watching TV”, “playing computer games”, “reading books”. My students are adult Corporate EFL students, so they work long hours. When they relax, they like to read books, relax in coffee shops with their friends, collect things, spend time with their family and a whole lot more interesting things.
Step Two: After the excitement level is up a bit (they like talking about their hobbies) then introduce to them the world of ‘blogging’. Explain that people write ‘blogs’ or online diaries, to write
about their lives, their hobbies, their interests, travelling, etc. Then show them a couple of example blogs on the internet. I have two blogs that I have been writing about my life in Thailand for about five years now, so I show them my blogs. I have lots of photographs on my blogs and they look fun and interesting. If you don’t have a blog yourself, choose a blog to show them that looks fun, cheerful and has lots of nice photographs.
Step Three: Then explain that they will be writing their own blog. Tell them about things other people write about on blogs and then show them the blog template you have already set up on Blogger.com or one of the other free blogging websites for their class. I called our blog ‘Thailand Voices’ and subtitled it “Thai staff in an international company talk about their lives”. When you set up the blog, choose one of the very colorful templates, as that seems to make them even more excited when it looks like a fun website.
Step Four: You can also set them up in pairs or teams if they don’t want to write a blog post alone and you have a large class. I do our blog for 70 students, so some write blog posts alone, some are working in pairs or teams. But, all of them have come up with very interesting blog posts and fabulous photos.
Step Five: You should have about 20 to 30 minutes left in the class, so tell them to start writing a short blog post about one of their interests or hobbies, their family, or travelling. Pretty much anything they want to do. Also, explain to them that they can e-mail photographs to you and you will also put up their photographs on the website. Then give them the last few minutes of the class to start writing. Walk around the class, while they’re writing, and check on the subject they’re writing about, give suggestions for improvements, or correct grammar and spelling.
Step Six: At the end of the class, ask them to type up the blog post they’re writing and to e-mail it to you along with photographs. I work in an international company so my students bring laptops to class.
Most of mine had written a blog post and added three or four photographs and e-mailed it to me by the end of class time. Make sure you give them a deadline to complete the blog post though or you will end up with some students who keep telling you “coming soon” but it never arrives!
Step Seven: Once you receive the blog posts, start posting them on the blog. I approve and post all our blog posts as I work for an internationally company that has strict confidentiality rules. I don’t want any of my EFL business students to write about the company we work for, the company’s clients, or anything that might be confidential, so everything is approved by me before it’s posted.
Evaluation/Assessment: 1. participation in class, 2. Student’s ability to write a short blog post with good English grammar and spelling, 3. ability to work in pairs (with small classes) or as a team member if needed.
One thing you will find about this EFL/ESL lesson plan is it can be used for any level of student and any age group. I have done this with children ages 10 to 16 years old (just make sure with children they are not posting real names or too much personal information), and with adults from beginner English to intermediate and advanced level English.
Every class loves doing it and especially loves it when they see their final work on the internet. They also like to monitor it to see if they have any comments.
** A very important thing to do, I think, is to make sure you add a ‘map visitor counter’ to the sidebar on the website. This shows where in the world people are reading the blog from and even my adult students get excited when they see how many people have read the blog and from which countries. The ‘map visitor counters’ are available for free on blogger.com and most of the other websites.