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TEFL Videos - Theories, Methods & Techniques of Teaching - ESA Methodology
Our final methodology is accredited to Jeremy Harmer and it's known by the letters ESA. Around 1998, Jeremy Harmer produced a book called "How to teach English" and basically what Harmer did, is a background to this book is to do what we have done today and to work through all of the different methodologies that have come about over the last 300 years. He highlighted for each of those methodologies what was good about it, what was positive and what didn't appear to work and then put all of the positive things into a melting pot and came out with this methodology, which he called ESA. It's a three-stage methodology, where each of the letters represents a particular phase of the lesson. The first one being called the engage phase, the second the study phase and the final one the activate phase. So let's have a look at this particular methodology and try to bring back some of the ideas that we've already looked at this morning. The engage phase of this ESA lesson has one particular purpose and the purpose of that particular phase is just to get the students talking and thinking in English. We can go back to the idea of the effective filter and we've said that, when students are relaxed and ready, then that will improve their chances of learning and the idea of getting the students talking and thinking in English, is the first part of the lesson just to relax them and to get them involved. Once we've completed that particular task, which is usually done by the use of communicative games, then we move into the actual teaching part of the lesson, which is called the study phase. The study phase has two particular parts to it. The first part is known as the board work and that, if you like, is where the actual teaching takes place. Once we've completed that phase of the lesson, we need to check that the students actually understand what they have just been taught. So, what we do is then ask them to complete a series of activities that are very targeted towards this teaching component to make sure that they actually understand it. Now, one of the things that the other methodologies said to us is that in order to be able to use the language in a communicative way, you need to move beyond the actual knowledge and put it into a realistic context and that's exactly what the activate phase does. The activate phase of the lesson sets up some form of scenario or situation where the students can use the language knowledge that they've just learned and put it into a realistic context. So what are the positive factors in the use of the ESA methodology? The first is that it requires communication. The activate activity and indeed the study activities require the students to actually talk to each other. The second positive thing about it is that it works and for all particular levels. So, all the way from our beginners up to our upper intermediate students, this particular methodology can be used. Some of the negative things about it might be that it can become predictable. If you follow that same structure of ESA every single lesson with your students, then they will get to know what is coming next but within this particular methodology Harmer came up with a way around that and that will be looking at that later on. The other potential negative for some particular countries is that the activate activity requires students to talk to each other and if all your students are talking to each other, then your classroom can become noisy and potentially in certain countries this could be a problem.