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Lesson Targets in TEFL

Target - painted by Jasper JohnsA Lesson Target is the focus of an individual lesson. It is, if you like, the single main point that you are trying to teach in that particular lesson.

Often it can be summed up in a single sentence thus:

At the end of the lesson the students will know how to…

…order a pizza.

…ask the time.

…apologize for being late.

These targets are all language functions‏‎. Sometimes more traditional teachers will have grammatical functions as the target for the lesson:

At the end of the lesson the students will know how to…

…use the present perfect simple.

…use the third conditional.

Preparing a Lesson Target

When you prepare a lesson, you should begin by knowing exactly what your lesson target is. Once you have this all the activities and exercises in the lesson should point towards it.

But how do you find out what lesson target you should go for? The answer is by knowing your students and knowing what they need to know (e.g. by performing a needs analysis‏‎).

As an example, you may be teaching a group of teenagers who have arrived in the US for a three week course in English. They need some English to make sure they can survive in the US so lesson targets here might include:

  • asking directions
  • ordering a meal
  • reading a bus timetable

On the other hand, you may be teaching a class who are taking an oral examination in English. Here your lesson targets might include:

  • talking about a photograph
  • talking about their family
  • explaining their job

So lesson targets are very specific to each class.

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