How To Manage Timing In A CELTA Course Lesson Plan?


Hello guys, this is Steve here from and I’m back again answering more of your questions about the CELTA course.

This time, I had a question from Selda who asked me the following, she said,

“I’m doing great lesson plans but the problem is, I can’t manage everything on time, I can’t cover the steps in my lesson plan because of time.”

My Answers

So in response to that, I thought I’d give some of the things I learnt on my course to help with time management issues.

Now first of all, let me say, I know exactly how you feel. My main criticism from my tutors on my CELTA course, was not following my timings. Now more often than not, this was because my timings were very optimistic and that is something I still find hard today, but here are some tips to help you possibly get over it and hopefully improve your teaching as a result and also the feedback you get from your tutors on the CELTA course.

Add More Time Than You Think

So the first thing I would say is to add more time than you think. It’s easy to be overly optimistic and think it won’t take long at all, but once you go through all the different interactions, you explaining it, concept checking can take a long time, asking for feedback, group work, all these different activities along the way, they really do add to the time. So I would add on about 20% more time than you think.

The first guess of your time is probably going to be a little bit under what you need and there are other things like students might go on small tangents, which are okay but remember, if they do go off topic, just tell them that you will come back to something they’re talking about in another lesson, or they can ask you at the end.

They rarely do [ask after the lesson], so don’t worry too much about that. The fact is that these interactions can be valuable, so it’s nice if you have a bit more time to have that inbuilt flexibility into your lesson plans. Which sounds strange because I know the CELTA is quite rigid but just a little bit of flexibility is great to have.

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Have Extension Activities

The other thing you can do is to have extension activities and label them as such on your lesson plan, so these could go on the end of a lesson plan, just something fun to wrap up, maybe a quick game.

You can add these in to help your lessons and to boost your confidence that you know you’ve got something in the bag if you’re going to run out.

Have Activities Which You Can Skip

The other thing that you can do also, is have activities, which can be skipped, and they are not essential to the learning. So they might just be an extra stage or an extra activity, and you can put that in your plan as well, say, “This can be skipped if time is short.”

Because obviously, there’s things that do come up everybody’s aware of that, teaching is like that and building in this flexibility is going to help you with your confidence and feel prepared for just about anything.


So I hope that’s helpful. Don’t worry too much about how to manage timing in a CELTA course lesson plan, it’s a rough guide at the moment but just try to add a little bit more time than you think is necessary and it should be fine.

So any other questions just come back to me, you can tweet me, @stephenbeale or or ask in the comments on any of my blog posts on

I’ll talk to you soon and good luck with your CELTA course preparation!

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Stephen Beale

After taking the CELTA back in 2007, I have since gained over 11 years' experience of teaching English in various countries. I have also worked in EAP for several years and like sharing what I've learnt along the way here.

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