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Unit 18: Identifying

and selecting aims

Porntip Bodeepongse
What are aims?
• Aims are what we want learners
to learn or be able to do at the
end of a lesson. Aims may focus
– A function or a grammatical
– Vocabulary of a particular topic
– Developing a language skills
Questions to ask in order to
identify and select the most
appropriate aims:
1. What do my learners already
2. What do they need to know?

**Now do Task 1.
Task 1
Main aim Subsidiary aims Personal aims
To practise making Grammar: to revise To improve my
polite requests in the modal auxiliary verbs organisation of the
context of making whiteboard; to give
Functional components:
holiday arrangements. clearer examples.
Could/Would you…..?
Example exponent:
Could you give me some Phonology: to focus on
information about intonation.
Vocabulary: to
consolidate lexis for
travel, accommodation

Speaking: to give
controlled oral practice
Why is setting aims important?
• They provide a purpose and
direction for teaching and learning.
• They enable teachers to focus on
what their learners need to
• They help teachers to select
appropriate materials and activities.
• They provide a framework for the
• They help teachers to anticipate
possible problems and build in
• They can serve as a reference point
for teachers to measure learners’
Which is more effective?
1. Learners will be able to use the
present perfect simple to describe
situations in their lives which began
in the past and are still continuing.

3. To teach the present perfect simple

with time adverbials
Writing effective aims
• Learning-centred, focus on what
learners will be able to do
• Say which situation, context, etc. the
language will be used in
• State exactly which sub-skills will be
developed, and the context
• Ensure the aims are measurable, i.e.,
how will teachers know that learners
can understand and perform the target
language described in the aims
Key concepts
• A main aim describes the most
important thing we want to achieve in a
lesson or sequence of lessons, e.g.
– To under stand and practise using new language
– To reinforce or consolidate (= make stronger) the
use of language they already know or to revise
the language they have recently learnt.
• It should include an example of the
target language we’re planning to
Key concepts
• Subsidiary aims show the language or
skills learners must be able to use
well in order to achieve the main aim
of the lesson.
• From Task 1:
– Main aim = to practise making polite
– Subsidiary aims = language and skills
learners need to make these requests
Stating both main and subsidiary
aims is a good way of:
• making sure that our lesson plan
focuses on what we want our learners
to learn or to be able to do.
• enabling us to see how the lesson
should develop, from one stage (or
part) to the next, building up our
learners’ knowledge or skills in the
best possible order.
Personal aims as teachers
• Show what we would like to improve
or focus on in our own teaching.
• More examples:
– To try different correction techniques
– To remember to check instructions
– To write more clearly on the blackboard
– To make more use of the phonetic chart
– To get learners to work with different
– To get quieter learners to answer questions
Steps in planning a lesson
1. Identify and select aims.
2. Design or select the most
appropriate activities.
3. Put the activities in the best order.
4. Choose the most suitable teaching
aids and materials.
5. After the lesson, look back to see
whether we’ve achieved our aims.
Key concepts & language
• The syllabus and/or coursebook will give us
a general direction for planning our
• To decide on specific aims for a lesson, we
should think about learners’ need and stage
they have reached in their learning.
• Identify and select personal aims by
looking back at earlier lessons we have
taught and things that worked well and
things we want to improve.
Aims & Procedures
• Aims describe what the learners will
learn or what they will be able to do
with the language.

• Procedures are what the teacher and

learner will do at each stage of the
lesson, e.g. listening to a recording
and answering questions about it.
Aims should not be too general.
– ‘To teach the past simple.’

‘To introduce and practise the past

simple for talking about personal

– ‘To develop learners’ reading skills’

‘To give learners practice in predicting

content, scanning for specific
information and guessing meaning from
Key concepts & LT
• The amount we plan to cover in a lesson
depends on the length of the lesson and
the learners’ level.
• It is helpful to announce our aims at
the beginning of the lesson, and/or to
repeat them at the end.
• The aims of a lesson should be
described in simple language focusing on
what they will do in the lesson and the
language knowledge they will take away.