What Is ESA & How To Apply It In Class
The teaching methodology Engage-Study-Activate, or ESA for short, is one of the most effective and popular methodologies teachers use when teaching students another language.
Before the advent of the ESA methodology, many teachers used the PPP model of Presentation, Practice, and Production as the favored model of teaching. Although effective, it is inadequate when it comes to teaching more difficult language problems or communicative skills. Around 1998, a man named Jeremy Harmer wrote a book called "How To Teach English". In his book, he suggested an alternative to PPP called ESA. This book is the result of Harmer's research on the teaching methodologies of the past three hundred years, picking what works and discarding what does not.
Now, what are the benefits of using ESA?
Well, using ESA allows teachers a great deal of flexibility when it comes to managing their class in an organized and productive way. ESA is very valuable when it comes to teaching, as it keeps the students motivated, interested, and eager to learn more. All teachers, especially new ones, will tremendously benefit if they learn to apply ESA in their lessons.
As the name implies, ESA is made up of three parts: the first is called the Engage Phase, the second is called the Study Phase, and the third is called the Activate Phase.
The Engage Phase
It is where teachers should all begin their lessons. It is where teachers will try to arouse the students' interest and get them involved in the material. Its purpose is to get the students thinking and talking in English. Teachers can use a variety of ways like a game, a short video, an audio recording, or even a funny story to engage the students. The goal is to get the students' interest, curiosity, and attention so that they will find the lesson more stimulating and fun, resulting in a more conducive learning environment. This phase is vital as it gives students a chance to be included in activities. It also helps relax the students and gets them ready to learn. At this phase, teachers do not teach their students anything or correct any mistakes they make. The goal is to engage them. An example of the Engage Phase would be getting the students to talk about their hobbies.
The Study Phase
Students will participate in activities that will focus on the language and how it is structured. These activities can range from pronunciation practice to examination of how a verb tense works. Elicitation features heavily in this phase. The study phase is where the actual teaching begins. Teachers teach students new words or topics and show them the correct way of using them. It is also where any errors can be corrected and discussed tactfully. After going through the material, exercises (usually worksheets) are given to the students to check their understanding and reinforce the material. Some of the more enjoyable ways for students to learn are through activities like crossword puzzles and matching games. An example of activity during the Study Phase (using the example given from the above Engage Phase) would be learning nouns associated with the hobby. For example, the equipment used when playing basketball as a hobby.
The Activate Phase
This phase is where the students are encouraged to use the language as much as they can. The focus is more on fluency than accuracy, with no restrictions on language usage. The activate phase may include discussions that are for the whole class, small groups, or even pairs, role-play, story building, and debates. It is where students put what they have learned into practice. Through the activate phase, teachers will know how well the students have understood the material discussed in class. Remember, always engage the students first and activate them last. An example of activity during the Activate Phase (continuing from the Study Phase) would be a debate between two students whose hobby is more fun and enjoyable.
Now then, what are the positives and negatives of using the ESA methodology? The positives are communication and effectiveness for all levels of students. Study activities and activate activities require students to talk with each other. ESA is also suitable for all students, no matter their language level. It is equally effective on beginner students as it is for advanced learners. As for the negatives, activate activities, as mentioned, require students to talk to each other. It may result in the class becoming too noisy. In some countries, this can be a problem.
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In conclusion, it is greatly encouraged for teachers to study and learn the ESA methodology. Through ESA, teachers can design lessons that are pleasant and enjoyable, allowing students to learn in a fun and productive manner. ESA can be designed to fit the teacher's needs and requirements, making it a useful tool in a teacher's arsenal. In short, to all teachers out there, it is time to get off your buttocks and start learning ESA.
(All information of the article above comes from the course's Unit 3 and 7 and their videos, as well as an article ESA: A Teaching Methodology For Many Years Teachers Of English, Have from the ITTT website.)
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