Teaching the Past Perfect Simple – A Lesson Plan for Teachers

The past perfect simple is a complex verb tense that usually intimidates new English learners. We often don’t see this tense until we reach intermediate levels of any given ESL course. However, it’s used frequently in everyday life. In this post, we’ll talk about the past perfect simple, when it’s used and when teachers should start teaching it. As well, we’ll show you a simple, easy-to-follow lesson plan that teachers can use to introduce the past perfect simple. Teaching this complex tense has never been easier! 

Download your FREE, ready-to-teach lesson plan here: 

What is the Past Perfect Tense?

In English, we use the past perfect tense to describe the relationship between two actions that happened in the past. Using had + past participle, we can make the order of the two events clear. For example, we can say “I had studied English before I moved to Australia”. This sentence is clear and concise. As well, we see the past perfect contained in the “If” clause in the 3rd conditional. Ultimately, we use the past perfect in complex sentences, which may be why new English learners are so intimidated by it. However, with practice, your students will be confident expressing their ideas using the past perfect.

Teaching the Past Perfect Simple

Teaching the Past Perfect – Our Lesson Plan at a Glance

This lesson plan is an introductory lesson plan to the past perfect tense. In it, teachers will find clear explanations and plenty of opportunities for students to practice. Teachers can expect gap fill, sentence matching, and sentence starter exercises. The lesson begins with simple explanations of the tense and gets progressively more challenging, allowing students to really test their understanding.

Before teaching the past perfect tense, make sure your students are very comfortable with past participles. Past participles can be a real challenge for ESL students, so consider reviewing them with your students before beginning this lesson. Learning the past perfect doesn’t have to be scary, as long as students have the correct tools in their kit.

Teaching the Past Perfect Simple

Homework, Teacher Notes, and Other Fun Stuff

If you want to assign homework to your students, or if you need the super-handy teacher notes for this lesson, be sure to sign up for your FREE Off2Class teacher account. The teacher notes take all of the guesswork out of your lesson, and the homework allows your students to put their new knowledge into practice.

If you found this lesson plan helpful, you’ll find the other lesson plans in the Off2Class ESL Lesson Library helpful too! Off2Class has been creating and offering lesson plans since 2015. Off2Class has done all of the hard work – now you can spend less time planning and more time teaching!

If you found this lesson plan helpful, be sure to comment below! Share it with your teacher friends –  they will thank you for it!


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