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ESA Lesson Planning

ESA Lesson Planning | ITTT | TEFL Blog

As we all know, an ESA class means Engage, Study and Activate phase, which is widely used in most the class, we teachers pay attention to how to attract students, how to motivate students, how to make the point clear and easy to understand, and how to take the opportunity to use it. All of these are we need to make sure that play well in the classroom. therefore, the ESA class is an effective method to use in the class.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Sweet Zh. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

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Engage Stage

In the Engage stage, considered as a “warmer”, the main purpose is to arouse the students’ interest and get them involved in the class, get students thinking and speaking in English. Engage activity need to apply by questions or knowledge students already know, and connect with the language point we are going to talk about. It needs has a range so it is easy to talk about. In this phase, activities, and materials which tend to engage students to include games, music, pictures, stories, videos, real objectives, partner information share, I spy, memory games, word linking, information search, etc.

Also Read: Common Difficulties in Teaching English to Native Mandarin Speakers

Study Stage

As for the study stage, we focus on the language and how it is constructed, for example, its pronunciation, spelling, meaning, usage, grammar, word order, etc. This stage takes up over 50 percent of all the lesson. Study stage can include three parts: first, start with elicitation. Then followed by the presentation of the language point, and drilling exercises to ensure pronunciation. Finally, worksheets are given to students to check and reinforce. Of course, review answers and go over errors are needed. Activities we can use here are a tongue twister, Hangman, gap fill, word search, specific activities used in the class are dependent on the different language levels.Activate Stage

The final stage is activated stage. This is the stage where students are encouraged to use all of the languages they have learned. We focus on language fluency here. Typical activate activities include role play, communication games, story writing, survey, debates and so on. After activities, a teacher gives feedback to praise, encourage by evaluating their success and progress. Teachers do not need to correct all the mistakes either in the lesson or homework.

Also Read: 20 Best Sayings For Teacher Appreciation


Also, the 3 most used ESA Lesson is “Straight Arrow”, Boomerang and Patchwork. The “straight arrow” lesson is to take the lesson in the ESA order. First, the teacher engages the students, then study the language, at last, but the language into production. A “Boomerang” lesson is a combined ESA lesson, which is to Engage, Activate, Study, Activate. This lesson might be used for a higher-level class. The most complex lesson is “patchwork” ESA Lesson. This kind of class starts with an Engage phase, and finish with an Activate, between those two phases there can have as many Engage, Study and Activate phases in any order.

Last but not least, this reminds me of a lesson I have taught about affirmatives and negatives. To tell the truth, it was the worst class I had given. That happened because that’s a rainy day and students are inactive to participate. During the whole class, only I talked about content and few students are willing to answer questions. At the end of the class, the observer told me that I would use activities to motivate students at the beginning of the class, they were interested and clear about what we're talking about.

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I’d appreciate I have learned a lot of skills about teaching in TEFL course. It gives me a logical and clear teaching method. I will put these techniques into practical English classes, and I believe it will be very useful in my future teaching career. Thanks for such a good lesson and big thanks to my tutor, Tania for kindly help when I have problems. Best wishes to all of you.

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