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TKT Core Module 2: Lesson planning and use of resources for language teaching
Consulting reference resources to help in lesson preparation


You are consulting one form of reference right now: a website designed for training teachers.  There are, however, some other resources.


Key concepts in this guide

By the end of this guide, you should be able to understand and use these key concepts:

  • the range of resources
    • grammars: prescriptive vs. descriptive, intended audience
    • skills books
    • charts etc.
    • websites
    • corpora
    • reference books
    • journals
    • dictionaries
    • coursebooks
    • supplementary books
    • people
  • purposes of reference materials matched to types

Look out for these words like this in the text.
There will be tests at the end of the guide for you to check that you understand the ideas.

In this guide, we will mostly consider planning for a single lesson but all the points apply also to a series of lessons.

resource books

The range of resources

thinkwrite Task 1: As a first exercise, can think of three sources of help and information that you can consult when preparing lessons?
Click here for some ideas when you have a list.

With such a range of possible sources of information, ignorance is a choice.

reading blindfolded

Purposes of reference materials

Just knowing about reference materials is not enough.  We need also to know why we want to use them and what we hope to get out of them.


Task 2: Here are some common reasons for consulting reference resources.
What sorts of references and resources would you use for these reasons?
Think before you click on the eye open.

Reason Reference
I need to understand a difficult grammar point
eye open
  • This website!
  • A proper grammar for teachers or a reference grammar
  • A colleague or manager who is an expert
  • Do not trust websites written by people who don't know very much about grammar.  Unfortunately, there are lots of them.  Click here for a guide.
I need to explain a difficult grammar point to my class
eye open
  • The teacher's book if the area is in your coursebook
  • A grammar for learners
  • My own understanding
  • A colleague: How do you explain this?
I have not taught this subskill before
eye open
  • A reference book which focuses on the main skill (reading, writing, speaking or listening)
  • A supplementary book or resource which covers the subskill (especially if it has a good teacher's book)
  • A colleague who teaches the subskill regularly
  • This site
I need to explain some lexis in the lesson accurately and quickly
eye open
  • A dictionary designed for native speakers so I get clear information
  • A dictionary designed for learners at this level which will have a simple explanation and definition as well as a real example that I can use in class
I need to be sure I can pronounce all the language in my lesson accurately and give a good model
eye open
  • Check a learner's dictionary for the phonemic transcription
  • Use a CD or website that is linked to the dictionary so I can hear the word
  • Consult a specialised pronouncing dictionary on CD such the Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary
  • Go to Google and enter the word you want to hear plus 'define'.  Then click on the speaker icon.
I need to understand a text and explain it to my students which has a cultural reference I don't follow
eye open
  • The web
  • An encyclopaedia
  • A native-speaker colleague
There's a good unit on an interesting topic but I'm not sure how to approach it
eye open
  • The teacher's book!
  • A colleague who has used the same book
  • Your Academic Manager
I need to improve my grammar and language knowledge
eye open
  • This site
  • A grammar written for teachers not students
  • Do a training course
I am teaching a class that is new to me with first languages I don't know anything about
eye open
  • This site
  • A colleague who has taught learners like this
  • A specialist text on language typology and comparison
  • Search the web
I need some follow-up activities for this teaching unit
eye open
  • The teacher's book
  • A colleague who has used the same unit and may have written something
  • Search the web
  • Search this site
How does this word collocate?
eye open
  • An online concordance programme such as the British National Corpus
  • A good learner's dictionary
  • Search for the word online putting it in inverted commas to get examples of its use

self test

Self-test questions

Before you go on, make sure you can answer these questions.  If you can't, go back to the sections which give you trouble.

If you are happy with your progress, go on.


Tests and practice for TKT

Much of this guide has been a test of some sort so there's only one practice test to do.

Test 1 A matching task

... return to the Module 2 index: blue arrow
or go on to the next guide which is to coursebook materials.