The Benefits of the ESA Methodology
Over the course of this certification program, I learned an abundance of information and methodologies, but none as important as the ESA outline; the ESA methodology is, undoubtedly, the best thing I’ve learned from my TEFL course. The ESA procedure provides a myriad of benefits, engaging learners in a series of dynamic activities aimed to create a seamless and effective educational environment. Due to the adept and fluid nature of the ESA methodology, it is easily the most important tool taught to me throughout this program and something I foresee utilizing often in the near future.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Richard H. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
The first phase in any ESA lesson plan is the “engage” stage, designed to get the students talking and thinking in English. This is of paramount importance due to the learners spending most of their day learning and talking in their native language. Additionally, this allows for an increased amount of student talk-time and a reciprocal decrease in teacher talk-time, enabling learners to gain language speaking experience. This stage is designed purely for engaging and warming up the learners and, therefore, should not be focused on correcting pronunciation or mistakes. There are numerous examples of an engaging stage, including utilizing pictures, real objects, and drawings, as well as playing games, such as “fizz buzz”, anagrams, “I spy”, or Pictionary. Follow-on questions, listing, partner information share, and miming are also ways to involve students in this stage.
After a useful engage activity comes the “study” phase, constructed to elicit teaching points and information, such as spelling or pronunciation, in order to build upon a learner’s educational foundation. This phase usually consists of board work, as well as drilling, to help further support understanding and learning. There is a multitude of possible activities in the study phase, including gap-fill and matching exercises, word searchers, tongue twisters, word orders, and even Hangman. These activities all elicit information from the learner, whether it’s proper spelling, grammar, or pronunciation. These activities may showcase knowledge gaps for individuals or the class, which should be properly dealt with and covered in the second half of this phase. In addition, a teacher should be sure to employ targeted, specific questions aimed to check to understand the relevant teaching point. This is crucial to the learning process and should not be skipped over with a simpler version, such as “did you understand that?”.
The last phase in the ESA methodology is the “activate” stage. The purpose of the activate stage is to put the teaching material and points into realistic context and scenarios, allowing an increased personalization with English as a language. The goal during this phase is really to practice fluency overall and, therefore, accuracy correction should be limited or avoided. This last stage brings the material full circle and is just as important as the other two. Activities suggested for this phase include role-playing, surveys (specifically mill-drills), debates, and story writing. These activities give learners a chance to interact with classmates in English while engaging in real-world scenarios.
Also Read: Pros and Cons of Online TEFL Courses
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Overall, the beauty of the ESA methodology is the simplicity as well as the ensured effectiveness if done correctly (or as taught in this course!). While the methodology is quite simplistic in its natural, straight-arrow form, it is also quite flexible in other forms, in either a boomerang or patchwork pattern, to create ‘unpredictable’ lesson plans for the students in order to provide novel and original experience; this is quite important as students tend to get bored when things are predictable. By employing the ESA methodology, an instructor can be sure to enact numerous learning principles in a proven, effective manner; for this reason, the ESA methodology is the best thing I learned during my TEFL program.
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