Curriculum Development: Use of the Present Simple

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Students may find it difficult to use the vocabulary they already know with the new grammar. It can be solved with a quick review of the previous vocabulary at the start of the lesson.

Students may misunderstand the defining characteristic of the present simple – description of actions that happen on a regular basis. It is likely that learners will confuse such actions with those they are doing immediately, which are accomplished by using present continuous. The teacher should explain that present simple is not used for immediate actions.

Students may get confused about using the “s” ending for the indication of the present simple. A common mistake is adding this ending to the plural form or the first and second person. The solution is using the deductive approach, which entails starting with the general rule and then studying specifics (Andi & Arafah, 2017. 5th paragraph. 1st sentence under Learning Priorities). In practice, it means starting with the first and the second person forms, then moving on to the third person plural and finishing with the third person singular.


  • Board
  • Words of previous vocabulary (written on the board)
  • Laptop
  • Projector

Warm-Up (5 mins)

The teacher starts by asking the students to name as many verbs and nouns related to the basic routines as possible. By repeating the already learned vocabulary, the students will be able to use it more quickly. In case any words are left out, the teacher writes them on the board for the class to see.

Introduction (5 mins)

The teacher shows the students images depicting people’s daily actions. They include brushing teeth, washing the dishes, eating, shopping, walking, and other activities done on a regular basis. The teacher explains that the English language has a separate tense designed to describe such activities. It is also important to add that present simple is the critical topic for learning the language and overall communication.

Presentation (15 min)

The first slide contains the grammar of forming present simple with first person. The teacher explains the basic sentence structure: first subject, then predicate (I eat, I walk, I sleep). The second slide accentuates words, which indicate present simple (each day, usually, regularly, and others). Below them are examples of such sentences in the first person, such as “I never cry” and “we read every day”.

The third slide introduces the second person. In a similar manner, there is a general composition (subject, predicate) and examples (you laugh, you go, you run). The next slide depicts the words indicating present simple and examples of their usage with the second person – “you always forget”, “you never stop”, “you do it each year”, and others.

The fifth slide acquaints students with the third person. It is better to start with the plural form because it is the same as the first and second person (they work, John and Ellie study). The next slide introduces the third form singular. Students see several words in their infinite form (like, listen, speak) and their third-person singular form (he likes, she listens, he or she speaks).

The following slide depicts different endings. The teacher explains that the choice of an ending is dependent on the final letter. If it is a consonant, then, in most cases, “s” is added (read – reads). If it already has “s” (toss), then an ending should be “es” (tosses). In a similar manner, if the verb ends on “o”, “ch”, “sh”, “x”, “z”, or “zz”, third-person singular is formed with “es”. If the word ends on “y” after a consonant (study), the “y” changes to “ie” (studies). The teacher should also mention the most common exceptions: to be – is, to have – has.

Practice 1 (10 min)

The practice is based on cooperative learning. Not only does this strategy stimulate learning endeavors, but it also “promotes student self-confidence in promoting social skills and promoting positive relationships” (Anwer et al., 2018. 2nd paragraph. 6th sentence under Introduction). The first practice is meant to teach students to use the present simple in speech. In pairs, students will tell each other actions they regularly or never do. They are expected to use sentences like “I sleep each night”, “I never eat vegetables”, “We always shop on Sunday”. Afterward, the students are required to point out some things about each other. Examples include “you always smile”, “you never laugh”.

Practice 2 (15 min)

Then, students point to other pairs and relay some information about them. Examples include “they rarely speak”, “they like tea”, “they are tired”. At this point, the teacher asks the students to describe the actions of one person, while using the information on the sixth slide for reference. The goal is to habituate the learners to add “s” to verbs in the third person singular.

Practice 3 (15 min)

The third practice is writing. The teacher opens the final slide, detailing different endings in the third person singular. Three students approach the board and translate the sentences the teacher pronounces by writing them. The first two use either first, second, or third person plural. The third and the fourth sentences have third person singular. As all twelve students write, the teacher points out the mistakes to the entire class.

Production (15 min)

In order for the students to master present simple without knowing what form to use beforehand, the teacher will require them to work in pairs. One student asks another to describe one regular action of someone else, then write it down, after which they switch roles. It is up to the students to decide whom they will ask to describe, but everyone has to use third-person singular at least once. The teacher listens, looks at the written sentences, and corrects where appropriate. The idea is that students recognize the words and use them regardless of the context (Alizadeh, 2016. 6th paragraph. 2nd sentence under 3. Vocabulary Learning and Teaching).

Review (3 min)

The teacher recaps how present simple is used with each person and form. Then, the teacher randomly pronounces phrases, which students have to simultaneously vocally interpret. Each time someone makes a mistake, the teacher writes the mistake on the board.

Homework (2 min)

First, the teacher gives the students a list of sentences with missing predicates and the suggested words. The learners have to properly write the verb in the correct form.

Second, the students have to translate a list of sentences with present simple and different person and form.

Finally, the students will be required to correct their own mistakes, which were written by the teacher on the board during the review.


Alizadeh, I. (2016). Vocabulary teaching techniques: A review of common practices. International Journal of Research in English Education, 1(1), 22-30.

Andi, K., & Arafah, B. (2017). Using needs analysis to develop English teaching materials in initial speaking skills for Indonesian college students of English. The Turkish Online Journal of Design, Art and Communication (TOJDAC), 419-436.

Anwer, M., Tatlah, I. A., & Butt, I. H. (2018). Effect of cooperative learning on students’ achievement in English tenses. Pakistan Journal of Education. 35(2) 37-52.

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ChalkyPapers. "Curriculum Development: Use of the Present Simple." July 22, 2022.