ESL Curriculum For Beginners: Should I Create My Own?


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I’m sitting here at my desk and wondering should a teacher create an ESL Curriculum for beginner students?

 

The most nerve-racking sound I hear is your bank account going down to nothing. Plus, the time needed to create a solid ESL curriculum. In my experience of creating a beginner ESL curriculum of over 170 lessons. It will cost you $7,500 – $11,500 to create it per level. So if you create 5 levels it will cost $37,500 – $57,500.

 
For most teachers, it doesn’t make sense to create their own ESL curriculum. Unless they are going to sell it to other teachers. It takes a lot of time and energy. They could spend that time with their families, on other activities, or teaching more.
 
You will need to determine:
 
1# What are your goals?
 
Do you want to teach? or Do you want to create a curriculum?
 
In my experience, it is hard to do both. If you are teaching private students then you will need to do some type of marketing to get those students. That takes time to build up. You want to put the process on autopilot and that does not happen overnight.

How many hours will it take?

 
It will take you time to get the photos, structure the format of each slide, test it with real students, and then tweak it. For me, this process takes 2-3 hours per lesson. You can outsource the lessons to get the basic structure down but that will increase your cost. You will need to do the final version of your curriculum.
 
You can get photos that a free for commercial use with no attribution required. For this, I use Pixabay or Pxhere.
 
You will need to come up with a structure for each type of lesson. This takes time and will add to your cost when creating the first level of your ESL curriculum. Once you do this, the time needed to create each lesson will go down.
 
Planning out each unit is important to creating an ESL curriculum. You will need word lists, sight words, grammar, word families, etc.
 
You might use a combination of them both. It is a lot of planning work for each unit and level.
 
I created a lesson on “How old are you?”. It is for 30 slides. I have about 30 different photos of the lesson. If each slide takes 5 minutes to create then you are looking at more than 2 hours. That doesn’t take into account teaching it to a real student. Plus making your final edits to the curriculum.

Why will it cost so much?

 
It is my hourly rate. For example, if you make $20 per hour and it takes 3 hours to complete a final version of each lesson. It will you $10,200 to create that level.
 
If you outsource the work it will still cost between $12-$20 per lesson. You will still need to give your own personal touches to it. You could do it for around $7,500 if your hourly rate is at or below $15 per hour. For me, it cost me more to outsource it because I still spend the same about of time on it.
 

Will students benefit?

 
Based on my experience, you can create an ESL curriculum that has a positive impact on your students. You can see the progress that they are making. You should be teaching your private ESL students with a curriculum.
 
Do not use PDF books to teach. I have done that in the past with an ESL company that I worked for. They can’t keep the students.
 
A structured ESL curriculum for teaching ESL students online is a must. The offline ESL books are not a good substitute for an online ESL curriculum. The ESL books are not engaging for ESL students.
 
Having a core curriculum can provide a framework or structure to your program. It provides a standardization of what will be taught for each level. But you need to add other supplementary resources to make a customize experience for your students. This is an article to backup the findings. “Making Decisions About ESL Curriculum”. 

Examples of ESL curriculum:

 
Here are some ESL curriculums that you can use to teach your students. They are basic curriculums you will need to add much more time preparing and adding to those lessons.
 
 
The powerpoint slides are pictures of fruit with the names of the fruit. They do have some ESL games and some worksheets. It goes into detail about what fruit he or she likes. You still would need to add in warmer slides, reading sections, a song, and talking slides.
 
It does have the basic vocabulary but you would need to build upon it so that your students get results. It is a good starting point. It is not enough content to make a full curriculum out of it for your students. It would still take a lot of work.
 
It would still take about 2 hours to create each lesson.
 
It has 105 lessons. This curriculum would give you 35 weeks of lessons if you taught that student 3 times a week.
 
Cost: Free
 
 
The ESL curriculum has videos, flashcards, and worksheets. It seems like you could create a very good curriculum with it. I would piece it together in a powerpoint lesson. It would still take you some time but it would be fun for students.
 
It looks like you should have some content for homework too.
 
It should take under 1 hour to create each lesson.
 
It has 2 levels so far.
 
Cost: Pay per book
 
 
It would be more modular-based like Off2Class.com. Off2class would be a better starting point. It is more geared toward teenagers and adults. They do have some beginner lessons but not for the absolute beginner. It starts out around level 4 and geared to 11-15-year-old students.
 
You could tweak the lessons and content for younger students.
 
It should take you under 1 hour to create each lesson.
 
Off2class has over 600 lessons.
 
Cost: $8 – $107 per month
 
 
This is my curriculum. It is an ESL curriculum for absolute beginners. It has over 170 lessons for level 1. It is more of an integrated curriculum. You would still need to create your own homework and a few props. It is a solid curriculum to keep your student base and see improvements in your students.
 
This ESL curriculum would give you 56 weeks of lessons if you taught that student 3 times a week.
 
Cost: Pay per month per teacher
 
 
It is a good curriculum with around 90 lessons total for all levels. This would save you a lot of time in the beginning but at some point, you will need to create more lessons.
If you teach a student three times a week then you would finish everything in 30 weeks.
 
This would get you up and running to start teaching your own students.
 
Cost: $60-$190 per year
One of these might be a good starting point for your ESL curriculum for a beginning student. You could use these while you are building your curriculum. You might decide to use one of them are your full-time ESL curriculum.
 
This gives you are a starting point to think about which direction you want to go in.
 
It comes down to what is your passion and goals? My passion is teaching ESL online to students. I felt like I needed a solid curriculum to do that. I couldn’t find a good ESL curriculum for beginners. That is why I created my own curriculum to teach kids.
 
It is a grind to teach and create your curriculum at the same time. You will need to decide if that is the direction you want to go in. It might take you 3-5 years to create 4-5 levels for your students.
 
It is hard work but in the end the reward of creating a customized ESL curriculum for your students. Something that you can use for years to come.

Helping online ESL teachers is my passion.

Daniel Anthony DiDio     Happy Teaching ?

 

Daniel DiDio

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