Teach English in YexiZhen - Anqing Shi

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ESA methodAs a motivated person and an aspiring teacher I enjoy learning of new and innovative ways of presenting material in the classroom. I have researched several ways of learning such as Audio-lingualism, PPP (Presentation, Practice, Production), CLT (Communicative Language Teaching). One thing I have discovered is that each new method of teaching basically takes what was beneficial from the older models and develops methodology that fits the current trends and needs of the present time. The ESA model is definitely an example of this. The philosophy and structure behind ESA is that ?students need exposure, motivation, and opportunities for language use, and acknowledge that different students may respond more or less well to different stimuli, it also suggests that most teaching sequences need to have certain characteristics or elements, whether they take place over a few minutes, half an hour, a lesson or a sequence of lessons.?* In other words the ESA model does its best to keep the lesson plans varied and interesting for the students while at the same time maintaining a loose set of principles. To provide a brief overview of the phases that make up the ESA methodology I will begin with the first letter of ESA which represents Engage. This phase is typically the first phase of the lesson format and in essence attempts to ?engage? the students into the lesson plan that will be presented. There is several means of engagement that include: games, music, stimulating photos, discussions, interesting stories, or any other activity that evokes not only the minds but also the hearts of the students which proves to be a ?vital ingredient for successful learning.?* Ultimately the involvement of students in this way should increase the learning experience greatly. The second phase of ESA is the Study phase. In this phase the focus of the lesson transitions as smoothly as possible from the engage phase to the Study phase which is the construction of any element of grammar. This can involve anything from repetitions of words for pronunciation or the presentation of the best grammatical response via brief dialogue/discussion. Any new grammar point that is necessary to be brought forth is presented within this phase. Board work can be utilized here as well. Students can work individually or in pairs/groups within this phase so as to evoke the students via ?discovery activities,? *an opportunity to think and work through the lesson themselves. The teacher?s instructive position will move to observant, not the overpowering instructor. The third phase of the ESA methodology is the Activate phase. This to me is the most exciting part of the lesson because the benefit of the first two phases will be put into action. The activate phase is designed to use english freely and to communicate with it as much as possible. The objective also is to have students ?use all and any language which may be appropriate for a given situation or topic.?* Role plays work real well in this phase along with ?surveys, producing materials, communication games, debate/discussion, story building.? (p.15 Unit 3 ITTT Course study). There are times when the teacher will want to refer back to a particular construction within the study phase, thus the ?activation can be a prelude to study, rather than necessarily the other way around.?* In whatever sequence used by a teacher each phase should be utilized. There is more than one way to present the ESA sequence. I will list the sequences and will include specifics on them in another article. The standard ?straight arrow? ESA format is to present Engage, then the Study and finally the Activate stage. Another ESA sequence is the ?boomerang? approach and it will take the Engage phase then transition into the activate phase to the study phase then another activate phase. The other sequence taught is the ?patchwork? format and it is as varied as one can imagine. To conclude the Certification course I am currently enrolled in has presented ESA throughout the course and I have had a good amount of assignments that require the use of the ESA lesson plans. I take this instruction as invaluable and I believe the ESA model will be very beneficial for years to come. *Citation unless otherwise noted (p.51-53 How to Teach english; Harmer)