Teaching the Past Simple Tense to ESL Students

The past simple tense can be a tricky concept for new learners to grasp. It can be difficult for students to understand that when we use this tense, the action one is discussing is completed. Regardless, it is essential for students to learn how to use this tense to properly express themselves. In this post I will discuss practices teachers can use to teach the past simple tense in English. Also, I will cover the challenges teachers face when teaching the past simple tense and the resources teachers can use to deliver dynamic, informative lessons.

By the time you reach this lesson your students should be creating simple sentences in English. They are working on their speaking and constantly adding to their vocabulary. However, when teachers begin teaching the past simple tense, it can be a bit overwhelming for students because pronunciation and irregular verbs can be intimidating for new learners. Now you can introduce your students to the basics of the simple past tense with this easy to follow, teacher-led lesson plan.

Download your free Off2Class lesson plan here:

teaching the past simple tense

When teaching the past simple, keep it simple

This engaging lesson plan focuses on the simple past tense verbs that end with -ed. It is a comprehensive, simple and engaging lesson—just stick to the materials provided. You can introduce it to beginner students or use it as a review with intermediate students. Throughout the lesson students will then have the opportunity to use this newly learned knowledge to describe images. They will also complete gap-fill exercises and read full sentences in English. Finally, they will make their own sentences using the past simple tense. As the lesson progresses, be sure to encourage students to speak in full sentences but also applaud them for their great efforts. 

This engaging lesson plan is ready to use in your next online or in-person class. Take the hard work out of teaching and sign up for your free Off2Class teacher account to access the teacher notes and assign homework to your students. Off2Class has a vast ESL Lesson Plan Library that was designed for teachers like you. You’ll never be stumped again when deciding what to teach.

If you found this lesson plan helpful, don’t forget to share it, like it and comment below.  We love hearing from fellow teachers!


  • Walid says:

    April 28, 2023 at 9:07 am

    I am over the top to get these such a magnificent lessons plans. Could you please add more

    • Christine Chan says:

      May 5, 2023 at 3:47 pm

      Hi Walid, we’re so glad to hear you’re enjoying the content. We regularly add new lesson plans, so be sure to look out for more to come!

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