Before you can prepare a lesson you need to know something about the background of the students you will teach.

Here are some questions you might want to find the answers to before you plan your lesson:

Here are some more questions to ask about your ESL students' background:Learning about students' background (especially their ability level) through testing, observation, etc. is often called pre-assessment.

If you will be teaching an ESL class soon, think how you might be able to find the answers to questions such as these before you actually meet the class (and beforeyou plan your lessons).

Whom could you contact? What questions would you ask?

Here are some possible sources of background information that may be useful in pre-assessing your students:
  • The person who asked you to teach the class.
  • Previous teachers of the class.
  • Scores from placement or screening tests given to the students.
  • Members of your students' ethnic or native language group.

Do you see how background information and pre-assessment can be helpful?