ways to finish a lesson – so that the students take something away with them

There are lots of ways to start off a lesson beautifully, maningfully, logically, etc. For example, to talk about how your students spent their week (here are 2  worksheets to help), or to ask about their plans, or to discuss the weather/ news, or to remember vocabulary from the previous lesson in some creative way, or to revise some grammar, like here or here, or….well, the list is almost inexhaustible, as I am sure you know). But how do we finish a lesson?

“the homework is on page 5, thanks, see you on Wednesday”?

Well, it’s possible and it happens all the time. But this is not the best way to finish off a good lesson, it seems to me. As we tend remember the last thing we saw/ heard/ did, the last moments of the lesson should be worth remembering..

  • My favourite (and the most logical) thing to do before you let your students go is to revisit your notes and to establish a kind of connections betwen different parts of a lesson. What I mean: during a lesson I would usually make notes on a sheet of paper/ whiteboad, jotting down new words/phrases, incorrect sentences I’d like to come back to, examples of good language…And it would be natural to come back to all these (sometimes chaotic, I must admit) things and to ask students to remember what we were talking about at that moment or how something in the list is connected to our lesson.

It works well because:

  • students see and remember how much was covered during a class
  • students establish memory connections between different parts of the lesson and once again voice these connections
  • students get an opportunity to revise new vocabulary or grammar once again
  • Another nice (a bit NLP-style) way is to ask your student(s) what they consider was the most
  • interesting
  • useful
  • surprising
  • boring
  • … (any other adjective you think appropriate)

thing during the lesson.

This works well because

  • students get to prioritise and evaluate what they’ve done during a lesson – what was the most useful word they’ve come to know,  how well they’ve learned to present, etc.
  • and they can compare their experiences and impressions with all the rest in class.

I am sure that if you don’t do this when the lesson is over, your students will remember much less when they leave. In other words, it’s always great when students have something to take away with them from each lesson.

  • What you can also do is to come back to your lesson plan (if you have one drafted on the whiteboard, that is), and to ask your students to check if you’ve done everything you’ve planned.

Works well because, once again, it gives your students (and you too) that invaluable sense of completion and a kind of pride, too – for how much you’ve achieved!


About Svetlana Urisman

I am an ADOS and an English teacher (and materials writer) in a language school in Moscow. I have been an ADOS and a teacher trainer for a couple of years and a teacher for about 10 years. I am keen to share some ideas and materials I've developed in order to take them further and not to lose them. You are welcome to use any materials represented in this blog, and I will be happy to get your feedback afterwards if you take them to your classroom! ;-)
This entry was posted in intermediate, lesson plans, lesson starters, materials writing, teaching higher levels, teaching lower levels, useful links and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to ways to finish a lesson – so that the students take something away with them

  1. Pingback: Ways to finish a lesson – so that the students take something away with them | Tim's Free English Lesson Plans

  2. This is great, def going to use it. Thanks!

  3. Pingback: ways to finish a lesson – so that the students take something away with them | learningenglishonlinewithus

  4. mayorjunneil says:

    Reblogged this on learningenglishonlinewithus and commented:
    A helpful tip! Try it…

  5. Martin Sketchley says:

    Thank you for sharing your ideas and experiences of ending a lesson. It is always a good idea to consider study skills and constantly evaluate what the learners wish to do the next lesson as well. So in a sense I ask learners what they enjoyed most in the lesson, least enjoyed and also what they would like to review in the following lesson. It gives learners the opportunity to become more autonomous and control their own learning – why do we have to prescribe what learners should do or accomplish?

    • Martin, thanks for stopping by! I agree, we shouldn’t think for our students – much better to let them decide and prioritise themselves! it’s a good idea to ask what they liked most and least, and what they would like to review…

  6. shurok says:

    thank you for sharing your ideas you gave me a helpful steps to use in my classroom thanks a lot

  7. annfore says:

    Just to let you know that we’ve shortlisted this blog post for this month’s TeachingEnglish blog award and I’ll be making a post about it on today’s TeachingEnglish facebook page http://www.facebook.com/TeachingEnglish.BritishCouncil, if you’d like to check there for likes and comments.


  8. I like how your activities add a sense of closure to the lesson. Very often the learners might not know or not realise why and how what we’ve done in class has led them to achieve certain language goals, which they might also fail to notice. Reflection on the learning process is really important.

  9. mamingental says:

    This is an amazing blog. Only one thing about asking my students about whether the lesson was boring, interesting, etc. do you think asking them is useful when they are kids?
    Thank you so much.

    • Thanks for stopping by!
      hm, good question. I would still say yes – children would also share their feelings after the lesson, and probably do it more honestly that adults sometimes do…but I am not 100% sure, as my experience in teaching children is very little..I guess we need to ask some children-teaching-experts..)

      • mamingental says:

        I have taught children and I think teaching them from my heart and their inertacting with me was a clear massage of their interest. Still I slightly agree with.
        Thank you

  10. Pingback: Recap of Resources and Interesting Blog Posts – 26 December 2013 | Stop Complaining – Enjoy Teaching!

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