How do I design a course of study for my ESL/EFL students?


How do I design a course of study for my ESL/EFL students?

As ESL/EFL teachers, we are often expected to design a course of language learning and instruction for our ESL/EFL students.  We will do this by creating, delivering, and analyzing needs and diagnostic assessments.  We may also need to choose appropriate textbooks for your students and creating a course contract and syllabus.  

5 Review Activities to Help Your Students Prepare for an Exam

You must decide how and what to teach, and depending on where and how you find yourself teaching, you may be called upon to make decisions about the course design or curriculum for your classes, which may be intimidating. Not surprisingly, language programs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, depending on the countries’ or schools’ attitudes on the most effective method to learn a language, so the degree of decision-making may vary. 


When collecting data on students, teachers or schools will rely on needs analysis surveys and diagnostic assessments.  When using a survey with students, it is important to remember that not all learners have a clear perception of their own needs and abilities. Therefore, teachers may need to use multiple tools for assessing their students’ needs. Diagnostic assessments are tools used to determine gaps in a student’s language ability and weaknesses in particular skill areas. Once the data is collected, the results are used to tailor course goals and objectives, and if necessary, choose course textbooks.  When making decisions about the language goals of your class, you should think both long-term and day-to-day.  What do the students need and how will they learn properly?  When choosing a textbook for your classes, consider the level, content, relevancy, practicality, the approach to language instruction and level of interest or attractiveness. 

What is Collaborative Learning?

Class contracts and syllabus are effective techniques to negotiate and communicate with your students on the rules for the classroom and the environment that you’d like to create. They give a sense of ownership in the classroom, set clear expectations and help reinforce good behavior. You should also review and remind them of your policies throughout the term. Enact your class policies and procedures early on, and apply them from an approach of positive reinforcement, focusing on rewarding good behavior rather than punishing bad behavior.

Classroom Management

There are multiple ways to effectively build and manage a course of study, including those already mentioned. However, what works for one instructor or class may not be a perfect fit for another. Your job will be to reflect and work toward finding what works best for you and your learners.  For more tips on curriculum development and course design, take our 4-week TEFL training in Costa Rica!  Contact us today!

Garrett's (May 2019) Instagram Takeover


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