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Free EFL Lesson Plan: How to Teach and Test New Vocabulary – Thai Students Can Learn New Words


Teaching new EFL vocabulary is usually boring, for teachers and students alike. It’s difficult for a teacher to come up with a lesson plan that’s fun, and it’s difficult for students to remember new vocabulary because it’s so boring to learn it. So, I devised a fun, free EFL lesson plan that incorporates a game to help EFL students learn new vocabulary. The lesson plan can be adapted to any level, from beginner to advanced, can be used for any new vocabulary, and all levels will enjoy it

Expected Learning Outcome – Students will be able to learn new vocabulary easily, and will probably retain it for a longer period of time, while at the same time having fun.

Materials and Resources – Whiteboard markers, whiteboard, list of new vocabulary

Teaching Procedures:

Introduction (approx. 15 minutes): Handout the list of vocabulary and go through the list quickly, explaining any difficult words or words that students have probably not heard before. Use some of the words in sentences that you write on the board, so students can easier understand definition, plus see sentence use as well as spelling. If you have any time remaining, ask a couple of students to put some of the vocabulary in a sentence.

Vocabulary Game (30-35 minutes) – Make sure, before class, that you have drawn a giant snakes and ladders board on a separate whiteboard, with at least 50-75 squares. Now put students into teams, pairs, or leave them as individual players, depending on the size of your class. Have students throw a dice to see who gets the highest number. The ones with the highest number start first.

On their turn, the team, pair or student have to answer a vocabulary question before they can throw the dice. If the get the question correct, they get to throw the dice and advance. Make the questions easy for the first couple of rounds, and then more subsequent questions should be more difficult. First person or pair to get to the end (or the farthest, if you run out of time) wins.

How To Ask the Questions (several options) – Ask a vocabulary question from the list you’ve handed out to students, but make sure they have turned the vocabulary list face downwards, so they cannot cheat. Have students either 1) define the word, 2) spell it, 3) use it in a sentence or 4) use it to express their opinion e.g.: What is your opinion about American movies, make sure you use the word ‘intelligent.”

You’ll need to create about 50 questions, but this should not take long as most of them will be “define this word”, “spell this word” or “use this word in a sentence”.

Wrap Up (10 minutes) – Ask students which new words they had the most problems remembering and why. This will also help you in future lessons as you discover which types of vocabulary are easier for them or more difficult.

Expected Outcome: Students will enjoy the game and will most likely not realize they are actually learning new vocabulary. This lesson plan is useful with every level, children to adults, as every EFL student likes playing games. But the wonderful thing about this is, because it’s a game, they won’t actually realize they’re learning something boring.

This free EFL vocabulary lesson plan teaches students new vocabulary but in an atmosphere that’s fun. Studies have shown that learners of a foreign language usually learn faster and retain the information longer if it comes in game form, so it’s often good to use a game with an EFL class of any level if at all possible.

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