Curriculum and Lesson Planning – Stage 2

The Framework is an open-source online tool, a 360°  View of Communicative Competence at Work. Designed by the Ontario Government the framework is a resource for foreign trained professionals to provide strategies, approaches, and areas for language development that support intercultural workplace communication.  The tool does not come with a teacher’s guide or classroom activities, but it can serve as a starting point for classroom conversations and independent study. The tool also includes a video and downloadable pdf.

  Free access:​

An “Implementation Guide for Instructors” is included with this curriculum.

At this time, the resources are not available for sale; however, Norquest College is sharing the curriculum framework, the Instructor Resource Guide for Unit 2: Shopping, and a sample conversation for the unit.

Order a Resource by E-mail: 

or download at:

Briding Two Worlds is a resource to address issues of trauma in learners. It was written for elementary and secondary educators but is insightful and informative for teachers of adult learners as well.  Bridging Two Worlds offers curriculum development and instructional ideas that address educational gaps as well as cultural and experiential differences that may interfere with learner progress. Particularly interesting: Signs of distress and ways to respond (pages 218- 220).

The book contains 3 sections. The first deals with issues that relate to school-based learning and teaching to provide educators with an awareness of how trauma and interrupted schooling may affect human development and learning. The second section focuses on educator competency and includes 30 sample lessons  for teacher training. The final section is devoted to student learning outcomes for life/work development for elementary and secondary grade levels, but teachers may find several lessons adaptable for adult settings.

Free access:


The Premier League is the world’s most watched football (soccer) league. The league has teamed up with the British Council to help teach English through football, “the beautiful game”. This website contains podcasts, forums for “footie”  discussions, and  explanations of football vocabulary. There’s an extensive glossary of expressions, technical terms and clichés – an excellent  ‘football dictionary’ for learners. In addition, there are games, videos, podcasts, teacher notes, and information on clubs and players.

Free access:



This site is located in Canada and is for all ESL teachers, K to Adult. There are word scrambles and search generators. There are thousands of worksheets available (there are filters). Many are connected to PowerPoint downloads or YouTube/Ted Talk videos or popular movies/songs. There are ESL articles for instructors that focus on professional development. The site is relatively easy to navigate. Search has a drop-down listing of choices aligned with your search words. No registration is required. You can sign up for a newsletter.

Search “employment” or use specific search words such as “job search” or “business English.” It may take time to explore available worksheets, activities or how-to examples.

Free access:

This 6-module curriculum, produced by Literacy Link Eastern Ontario, provides the Essential Skills training required to work as a call centre operator.

Free access:

Exemplars for Speaking and Listening (all levels) including CLB 5-12.

Free access:

To find Stage 2 modules: scroll down the page  for  Essential skills plans. You will need to “Add to Cart” to download. The PDF will be emailed to you.

Free access:

This document contains a template or blueprint for designing a CLB 7 exit test for reading and writing.  It provides guidance for drawing up a test, performance indicators and suggested activities.  Some of the content is Alberta-based, but will be helpful to instructors as a starting point for test design.  The source of the document is the ATESL Resource Library and Alberta Initiatives Gallery.

Free access.

This site offers CLB-aligned activities and information about legal issues, including many related to employment rights. It includes a broad range of downloadable booklets about a variety of legal topics written in clear language. One series has been especially developed for ESL teachers and learners.

Access at:
English as a Second Language (ESL) Activity Kits

Twenty-six activity kits with classroom materials for teachers and learners in Adult ESL and Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) classes, based on topics from CLEO’s tenants’ and workers’ rights series.

Designed to teach newcomers about their legal rights and to be used along with the relevant CLEO publications, the materials are intended for learners and levels ranging from Canadian Language Benchmarks 1 to 6+.

Free access to the Kits:

Free access to CLEO resources:

This is a 240-page e-book that provides lessons in reading, document use and math. The lessons are built on real-life examples and follow four individuals in different workplaces in Ontario. The organization and layout is appealing to a reader. The four individuals work in four different jobs. Instructors and students can decide which worker to learn about. There are self-assessments as well as critical thinking questions embedded in the modules.

Free access:

This website is designed for beginning and intermediate learners (not CLB aligned), with a wide variety of activities for language practice, including podcasts, grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. The podcasts  link to different sites, including Archie comics.

This is an American site offering a wide variety of activities. There are weekly lessons,  grammar tutorials vocabulary and listening activities, as well as games.

ESL Library is a commercial website based in Winnipeg, offering high-quality lesson plans for Canadian, American and international educators. The lessons are divided into beginner, intermediate and advanced learners, with a large variety of activities, including flashcards, discussion starters on political, social and environmental issues, mini-debates, holidays, grammar, writing, podcasts and a reading series (which includes detective serials). Themes include English at work, the environment, healthcare, everyday English and idioms. New lessons are added monthly. Sample lessons are available but are watermarked.

Subscription is required. Lessons are downloadable PDFs (copyrighted).

Available in 3-month, 6-month and 12-month memberships, from $25 to $55.

Groups of teachers can share memberships; for example 1–5 teachers can share the 1-year $55 membership.

Subscription required:

ESL Library is a commercial site containing  well developed lesson plans and resources for EAL teachers. Materials have been developed to meet the needs of LINC/ESL teachers. The Citizenship module contains a teacher guidelines and learner activities.  Your organization may obtain a subscription for unlimited instructor use, or subscriptions may be shared among 5 members.

Access by subscription:


This British-based website is intended for student self-study but it also lends itself to classroom and lab use. The site is clear and easy to navigate. Courses with multiple units and lessons are offered for several levels ranging from beginner, elementary, pre-intermediate, intermediate and advanced/IELTS.   There are also games and activities targeted for the workplace, college preparation, UK and US culture. See also the “Learn English with songs”, with music videos and a gap-fill.

Free access:


This webpage on the website contains information for newcomers on a variety of health issues including: finding a doctor, OHIP and health card information, reproductive health and mental health, and what do to in a medical emergency.

Free access:

This is a curriculum for CLB 4-6  to prepare newcomer learners to find jobs or retrain to work in the food services industry.  The lessons focus on developing  speaking and listening skills for for busy   environments, such as working in a kitchen, cafeteria, or restaurant.

The Learner Workbook includes:

  • 4 Modules, 16 Units
  • Audio and video resources
  • Comprehension exercises
  • A variety of speaking and listening activities and games
  • Learner self-assessment materials
  • Reflection and goal setting activities

The Instructor Guide contains industry information, guidelines for workplace culture discussions, instructional notes, suggestions for activity adaptations and assessment rubrics. Permission to use granted by ATESL Resource Database and Alberta Initiatives Gallery.

Free access.

Wikis are a simple way to bring interactive technology into the classroom. This website provides easy instructions for creating your own classroom wiki, and includes samples. No specialized computer skills are required.

Free access.


For CLB levels 5–6, designed to be used by an instructor.

This 366-page textbook is available as a downloadable PDF or as an e-text for use in the classroom (or with a tutor). The chapters integrate the four main language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing), with some essential skills and intercultural skills.

Features of the text:

  • Key scenes are acted out by 9 individuals of varying ages, different genders and race/ethnicities, with different accents: should appeal to a wide range of learners
  • Audio and video activities
  • Interactive text: underlined vocabulary and idioms linked with definitions, interactive activities can be submitted for marking with immediate feedback
  • Themed grammar activities
  • Tasks and rubrics align with CLB document for instructor’s use or self-assessment
  • Extension activities provide practice in community settings
  • Navigation bar allows learners to download/print individual activities, link to social media, easily access the table of contents and answer keys, change settings and translate (linking to Google Translate)
  • Chapter vocabulary lists and glossary provided
  • Instructor guide available

Content is comprehensive. Chapters are clearly laid out for instructors and learners. Online availability means learners can access the text in their free time for review and reinforcement, or as homework. Recommended CLB 5–6.

Free access:

The link provides a printable PDF version.
$$$ Kindle e-reader available through

This online textbook is geared towards CLB 5–6 learners. It is designed to be used by an instructor or tutor. An instructor guide is provided.

The focus is on the Canadian workplace: workplace culture, development of listening, speaking, reading and writing skills, plus Essential Skills and intercultural competence.

The text introduces two characters, a Strategy Coach and a Workplace Mentor. The Strategy Coach provides strategies to develop language skills. The Workplace Mentor introduces learners to general workplace culture in Canada.

  • Video tasks and focus questions help learners develop “noticing skills” and prompt discussions about similarities and differences between the learner’s home culture and Canadian culture.
  • Reading sections provide reading passages, pre- and post-reading activities. There is also a reading progress check for self-assessment.
  • Each listening section has two listening texts with pre- and post-listening activities, and a listening progress check for practice and self-assessment.
  • A writing section with pre-writing tasks, writing practice and a progress check. A rubric is included that generally aligns with CLBs.
  • A speaking section contains pronunciation, speaking practice and a progress check. A rubric is included.
  • Wrap-up includes discussion, reflection and extension tasks. The extension activities have vocabulary log activities, community tasks and research opportunities.


  1. Workplace Environment
  2. Personal Management
  3. Workplace Communications
  4. Clients and Customers
  5. Career Management

Text features:

  • Navigation bar allows learners to download/print individual activities, link to social media, easily access the table of contents and answer keys, change settings and translate (linking to Google Translate)
  • Vocabulary tables and glossary provided

Content is comprehensive. Chapters are clearly laid out for instructors and learners. Online availability means learners can access the text in their free time for review and reinforcement or do as homework.

Free access:

Suitable for Stage I & II learners.

The links on this site include a wide selection of activities for low-level learners in CLB 1–5. Activities are categorized into 11 themes: people, work, everyday activities, home, our community, our world, food, health, getting around, communication and the basics.

Free access:

This website is written by a British academic and author of books on teaching English using film.  The website contains a large library of short films, cartoons and TV ads. The lessons can be browsed according to theme and language level. Topics cover issues such as bullying,  love, the gold mining industry, and compassion, to name just a few.  Lesson plans are interesting, clear and well presented. The levels are aligned with CFER (Common European Framework of Reference);  A1=’beginner’ ; A2=CLB4, B1= CLB 5,  B2 = CLB 6-7, C1=CLB 8-9.

Free access:

English for Academic Purposes (EAP) instructors and learners will find valuable resources to build academic skills, covering the 4 main skills, and also including fluency, grammar and pronunciation practice. The reading section has several offerings, such as understanding academic texts and reading strategies for academic settings. The vocabulary section includes an academic phrase bank.

OLAs were developed for the tourism sector through the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks. They align a benchmark with an Essential Skills Profile and National Occupational Standard.

OLAs include:

  • Bartender
  • Event coordinator
  • Food service counter attendant
  • Food beverage server
  • Counsellor

Free access:

Developed by Kingston Literacy and Skills, this manual includes 12 interactive training videos that demonstrate the skills and language required in the small business workplace.

Free access:

Bow Valley College and Conestoga College have developed tools for creating PBLA rubrics.

Many teachers have found Conestoga’s LINC Assessment Generating Tool helpful. The tool includes a complete list of competency statements, indicators and profiles of ability, all in one place. Also included  – a guide to question levels by CLB, features of communication, and sample assessment tasks for instructional reference. You must have a Tutela account to access this resource. 

Bow Valley College has developed clear, easy-to-use assessments and templates for Portfolio-Based language Assessment (PBLA). Their toolbox contains:

Tool 1: Assessment Templates
Tool 2: Instructor Administered Templates
Tool 3: Learner Reflections
Tool 4: Self-Assessments

Free access:

Public Legal Education (PLE) Learning Exchange of Ontario has produced a series of 4 podcasts with accompanying CLB lesson plans and assessments. The podcasts vary in length from 15 to 20 minutes and cover common problems for newcomers, such tenant and workplace issues. In each episode, the host interviews a legal expert who provides advice. The podcasts are suitable for CLB 6 and higher.

Free access:


Developed by Norquest College in Alberta, this set of resources is designed to teach English pragmatics or “soft skills”  to internationally educated professionals (IEPs).   English in the Workplace instructors will find resources to enhance professional language proficiencies, the unwritten rules of workplace communication,  in the Canadian context.  The lesson plans are CLB 5+, and include handouts, audio files and transcripts. The lessons cover topics such as: apologies, feedback and complaints, compliments and requests.

This bank of “real world” assessments was developed by the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board’s ESL program for use by ESL and LINC instructors.  A user friendly website houses  more  than 300 ready-to-use assessment tasks. Search by CLB level   (Literacy Foundation to CLB 7), skill (Listening, Speaking, Reading or Writing) and theme.  The site is password protected; passwords are available through program administrators.

Password required:  available through  ESL and LINC Administrators and   can be retrieved from tutela. For additional  information email

Free access (with password):

The Can Do Statements are easy-to-read posters, intended for instructors to post in classrooms and for learners to access individually. The statements are based on the CLB (Canadian Language Benchmarks) and provide a description for what learners can do at each benchmark from 1–12, in listening, speaking, reading and writing skills.  The statements present key information from the CLB document in accessible language, informing students about what they have accomplished and what skills they must still develop.

You need to “Add to Cart” in order to download,  which means registering to order.

Free access:

This 235-page book describes CLB as follows: “The Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) standard is a descriptive scale of language ability in English as a Second Language (ESL) written as 12 benchmarks or reference points along a continuum from basic to advanced. The CLB standard reflects the progression of the knowledge and skills that underlie basic, intermediate and advanced ability among adult ESL learners.

The Canadian Language Benchmarks are:

  • a set of descriptive statements about successive levels on the continuum of language ability,
  • a description of communicative competencies and performance tasks through which learners demonstrate application of language knowledge (i.e., competence) and skill (i.e., ability),
  • a national standard for planning curricula for language instruction in a variety of contexts,
  • a framework of reference for learning, teaching, programming and assessing adult ESL in Canada.”

The book takes learners through stages 1 to 3 in listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Free access:

The CLB Support Kit contains background information for ESL practitioners, with detailed discussions on incorporating grammar, pronunciation and pragmatics into CLB-based programs. There are sections that address using the CLBs in multilevel classes, with special needs learners, and in teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and workplace ESL.

It includes sample program planning tools such as needs assessment, sample rubrics, tracking forms, self-assessment and feedback forms.

References are listed at the end of each section, as well as additional resources developed by the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks, including SAM for CLB 1-4, and the CLB 5-10 Exit Assessment Tasks for community, employment and academic programs.

You need to “Add to Cart” in order to download, which means registering to order.

Free access:


The English Language Learning (ELL) Training Network was developed by CEIIA, Bow Valley College’s Centre for Excellence in Immigrant and Intercultural Advancement. Designed for ELL practitioners, the Network provides information, resources and tools for instructors, a resource finder, PD workshops and webinars, network for professional learning, blog posts and social media links.

Free access:

Professional development made easy!  This website contains short, digestible summaries of current research on language learning and teaching.  These articles normally appear in academic journals and are often hidden behind paywalls, making them inaccessible to most classroom teachers.  The website also provides a list of Open Access journals and welcomes contributions from educators.

Free access:

SPEAKING: The Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks has provided several exemplars for speaking (from the CLB Support Kit). The webpage contains a series of short videos that demonstrate students speaking at CLB 1 – 12.

Free access:

LISTENING: The link above also contains 29 exemplars for listening, however the links do not provide any benchmarks. The chart below will assist with aligning the exemplars to their associated CLBs.

Free access:


From the Copian library, this document provides easy access to exemplars for writing. There are four samples for each benchmark, from CLB 1 – 12.  This is downloadable document is section 3 part 4 of the CLB Support Kit.

Free access:

This is an accessible resource for beginning teachers. Developed in 2006 by the California Adult Literacy Professional Development Project, some resources are dated and it has an American standards focus however, the guide provides good information on lesson planning and managing a multi-level classroom.


Updated in 2019, this website has five sections explaining the theory behind PBLA and guidelines for implementation. PBLA Foundations provides a rationale, historical and theoretical contexts for PBLA. PBLA Portfolios explains key elements, components and expectations, plus teaching tips. PBLA Reporting discusses professional judgements, progress reports. PBLA Accountability includes administrator tips. The final section contains Resources, including multilevel modules and a list of training courses.

Free access:

Quartz is an interactive online tool that offers a guided process for designing ESL courses based on learner needs and the Canadian Language Benchmarks. Quartz provides a set of tools and resources for course, unit, lesson plan and assessment creation. (Note: Instructors cannot upload existing units or lesson plans.)

Samples of Unit Names are found by clicking the blue Samples Tab on the right, providing three choices: Community, Work and Study and CLB Levels 1–8.

After selecting a Unit Name, choose a Unit Theme: three tabs are provided: Community, Work and Study. Sample themes can be viewed for each tab and CLB level.

Work has two themes: customer service (no themes offered for CLB1–4) and employment.

Note: Only those with a schoolboard email can access this site.

Restricted access:

TESL Ontario’s webinars are available to everyone through TESL Ontario’s You Tube Channel.  Free access:

TESL members may also view webinars through Tutela (registration required). Current and archived webinars are available for viewing.  Webinars count as TESL professional development.

Webinars can be accessed at:

Select TESL Ontario in “Groups” to access webinars past and present.

There are currently 100 webinars (some repeats) available for access on this site. The topics are varied and cover many aspects, including literacy, classroom management and PBLA.

Online, free for members. And membership is free. When completed, many posts are kept in the archives. Some webinars are located within a membership group and one needs to be a member to join or view. Most webinars can be used for TESL Ontario professional development requirements.

Free to join. Free access nationally. Must register then search Tutela Webinars.

Register at:

This curriculum has been developed by the Prince Edward Learning Centre and Literacy Link Eastern Ontario. It is ideal for learners planning to work in retail, such as in a grocery or clothing store. The 7-module course covers the Essential Skills, including language, needed in retail occupations.

Free access:

This is an instructor guide/ workbook for 18 occupations. Some information is dated but stories and vocabulary may be relevant.

Free access:

This online resource (based on Hong Kong) offers activities, worksheets, games and teaching advice for all levels. Many of the resources are free but there is also a $39 membership subscription to access to all materials. Some engaging (free) games include: Balderdash, Personal Information Dominoes, and Silent Dictation.

TESL Ontario’s You Tube channel allows users to catch up on webinars, watch videos and learn about new ideas for classroom activities. You can also share videos that have been helpful in your classroom.

Free access:

There is a section on Tutela under Resources that focuses on teaching resources. The resources can be explored by theme or level. While the full collection has not been reviewed, they may provide a starting point for developing curriculum.

Free to join. Free access nationally. Must register then search Tutela  under Resources.

Register at:

Developed by Cambridge University Press, this textbook series is correlated to CEF (Common European Framework) rather than CLBs, however it is adaptable to PBLA settings. The Venture series comes highly recommended; it contains six-levels and is standards based, designed for adult and young-adult English learners. The series integrates language skills, with six clearly developed lessons for each unit.  It is suitable for continuous intake programs. (A free sample lesson can be ordered.)  The series includes a teacher’s guide, student workbook and audio CD.

The Alberta Workforce Essential Skills Society (AWES) has a number of workforce/workplace specific resources. This handbook can act as a stand-alone training program in an ESL employment class.

The general site contains a variety of additional documents supporting organizational development, workplace safety, leadership and so on.

Free access to the general site:

Free access to the handbook:

The Alberta Workforce Essential Skills Society (AWES) has a number of workforce/workplace specific resources. This workbook can act as a stand-alone training program in an ESL employment class.

Free access to the workbook:

Developed by Bow Valley College in Alberta, this resource is designed for levels CLB 4-6,  to help learners find and retain employment in the food services sector.  The focus is on speaking and listening skills in the food industry however, reading and writing are covered as well.  The curriculum is divided into four modules: Interviewing and Onboarding; Knowing Your Environment; Staying Safe; and Taking Initiative.

The course provides a teaching guide and a workbook for learners.

Free access: