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Different Types of ESA Lessons

Different Types of ESA Lessons | ITTT | TEFL Blog

If every single lesson that we undertook with our students was a straight arrow ESA lesson then it is quite possible that the students would be able to predict what is going to come up next. Whilst this might be good for the lower level students, it could potentially become a little bit boring for our higher level students. Harmer considered this and his response was to generate two other types of ESA lesson that we can use to try and generate a little bit more interest.

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The first of these is known as a boomerang lesson and the second is known as a patchwork lesson.

First let us recap the structure of a Straight arrow ESA lesson. This takes each of the three phases in turn, so a picture of the lesson looks like this: Engage  Study  Activate

At this point it is also worth noting that any style of ESA lesson will start with an Engage activity and end with an Activate activity.

The second type of lesson is known as the boomerang and as the name implies what happens in a boomerang lesson is that we send something out to start with and that comes back to us at a later stage.The structure of a boomerang lesson is shown as: Engage  Activate 1Study  Activate 2

As always we start with an engage phase, that's to get them talking and thinking in English. From the engage we then move directly into an activate activity, before we have studied any of the language. What is likely to happen here is that the students are not going to create the perfect language, either in terms of their vocabulary or in terms of grammar. What this is going to indicate is a gap in the students’ knowledge.

What we can then do knowing what that gap in the knowledge is, is to study that particular gap.

Once we've completed the full study phase, including worksheets to check understanding, we can then reactivate. This means we will ask the students to do a second Activate phase, similar to the first one. In the second activate phase we hope to see that they are now able to use that knowledge from the study phase.

In any patchwork ESA lesson, all we can say is that we're going to start with an engage phase and we're going to end with an activate phase and really anything we like can happen in between.

Here in terms of the E,S and A's it may look like this;
Engage  (Study and Activate activities as needed)  Activate.

As these lessons are quite complicated to plan and teach we reserve them for higher level classes.

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