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How to Implement The ESA Approach in Your Classroom

How to Implement The ESA Approach in Your Classroom | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Teaching a real class, first, we need to mention the rapport between teachers and students. What makes a good teacher and a good learner are tend to be “student-centered” class than “teacher-centered”, which means teachers’ talking time is less than students’. Being a good teacher will always remind and encourage learners about their learning motivations and interests.

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

Lesson Planning

Before teaching a class, we need to plan a class and what you expect students to achieve by the end of the class. In a lesson plan, we need a learning objective what do you want students to achieve by the end of the class. We can also write our aims in it, like what areas do you want to improve. What’s more, we could mention the target language or language point in the lesson plan. The last part of preparation is anticipated problems, we need to think some problems might happen in the class and sort out the solutions.

We need to apply EFL methodology when learning a language that includes grammar-translation, audio- bilingualism, task-based learning, communicative and community language learning, and lexical approach, etc. There’re three important elements of “ESA”- Engage, study and activate, which is the most effective and logical method for teachers to apply in a real classroom. Here’re some practical tools, such as elicitation, realia, Pictionary, flashcards, ask for questions, gap filling, lists, concept checking questions, mime, follow-on questions.

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ESA Method Patterns

Examples of ESA lessons, the basic one is Straight Arrow “Engage-study-activate”; then Boomerang is “Engage-activate-study-activate”; also Patchwork is “Engage-activate-study-engage-study-activate” which is more complex. For example, in “Engage”, we use to brainstorm and quick questions of the vocabulary. At the “Study” stage, we elicit the target language and drill, also can do the gap-filling related to the language point. In the “Activate” part, we apply the trigger activities. We apply ESA study phases include a time limit and interaction pattern for each activity, such as solo work(students individual work), pairs(two students work together), trios(three students group together), groups(divide the whole class into 2-3 groups) and whole-class discussion. Besides, as a teacher, we need to balance the activities and skills and write down the anticipated time to give a smooth lesson. We can also consider the class level and numbers of the students in the class.

Choice of Activities in the ESA Lesson

When it comes to the activity part, there’re two parts, one is trigger activities which are running dictation, finding someone who, charades, information gap, etc., another part is settler activities which are quizzes, jumbled lines, rank and defend, interview, etc. Trigger activities are good for raising energy, engaging students and activating learning when students are disengaged; settler activities are good for calming down after a hectic activity, quiet work which requires thinking time and focusing attention on details.

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Body Language

What’s more, good eye contact, gesture, voice and using students’ names are essentials to bonding with students in the class and it helps us to avoid some embarrassment. Grouping students, classroom arrangement, board-writing, the balance of TTT and STT, giving instructions, building relationships with students and maintaining rules and behavior are important as well. We can use simple language, consistent words, visual clues and ICQs (instruction checking questions) to give students a better idea when we give the instructions.

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To conclude, If it’s a good class, it not only requires different interaction patterns, such as pair-work, group-work, but varied teaching techniques, such as plenty of controlled and guided practice, careful class planning, certain purposeful activities, and good classroom dynamics. When the teacher wants to motivate students, creates chances of students interaction or stimulates the classroom environment, she or he needs to use games. Last but not least, we’ll give students feedback and error correction at the end of the class.

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