Teach English in Baoriwusu Zhen - Chifeng Shi

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There are lots of methods and techniques which are used in English language teaching. Teachers use these methods to create an effective learning environment. Students need to be motivated to learn and use English, so teachers should get them to use English in some ways. What is the ESA methodology and what are the important points of using it during the lesson ? Jeremy Harmer put forward on effective method which is called ‘ESA’. This method consists of three phases ‘Engage, Study, Activate’ and it gives a teacher flexibility in classroom. At the ‘Engage’ phase, teachers try to engage students’ attention and get them involved to the lesson. Because unless the students are emotionally engaged with what is going on, their learning will be less effective. Games, pictures, music etc. can be used to get students’ attention and interest. If they feel they are interested what is going on, they find the lesson fun. There is no need to teach anything at this phase. Teachers should use ‘ice-breakers’ to warm up students in the lesson and they need to ensure that all students speak English to say something. Teachers shouldn’t correct the students, they can take notes the repeated errors to correct them at the study phase. Student talking time should be high; thus, this phase should be well-planned to fully engage the students before the study phase. Introduction prompts, partner information share, fizz-buzz, memory game, I spy, anagrams etc. can be used at this phase. During the study phase, the focus is on langugage and how it is constructed. Accuracy is important here. ‘Elicitation’ is one of the essential part of this phase. Teachers can ask thought-provoking questions to involve students in a lesson as much as possible. This is called ‘elicitation’. When we elicitate, we get information from students about what they already know and what they need to learn. Student talking time is increased and teacher talking time is reduced during the elicitation. Realia, flashcards, gap-fill activities, follow-on questions can be used to elicitate. When using them, there are some issues that teacher have to be careful. They should use different kinds of elicitation techniques to avoid being predictable by students during a lesson and choose an appropriate activities for students’ language level. When eliciting, negative feedback shouldn’t be given; it can cause willingness to students. After elicitation, teachers present the langauge point, and if necessary, do some drilling to correct pronunciation. After that, teachers check students’ understanding by giving activities in a logical order. The construction of the language is the main focus at this phase. Gap-fills and matching exercises are common types of activities for the study phase. Mouth diagrams, langauge drills, crosswords, hangman, true/false activities are used also. Before handing out any material, teachers should do an example on the board, and elicit the correct answer from the students. They should give feedback at the end of the exercises and make sure that everyone listen for it. Before correcting the errors or mistakes, teachers should give other students an opportunity to correct them before they do it. At the activate phase, students are encouraged to use of the language they know. Teachers design activities to get students to use language point which they know, actual language use is the purpose of activate phase. Students use language freely and communicatively, so the focus is on ‘fluency’ here. Communicative tasks, such as role-play, are popular activites to get students use English communicatively. Other popular activity types are debate/discussion, story building, surveys, and mill-drills. Teacher should put the language in a realistic context. Feedback helps teachers to know if the teaching point has been understood, what are need for the next lesson, what are the common mistakes etc. All the three phases need to provide a balanced range of activities. They don’t have to happen in the same order, they can be varied with flexibilty in the context. Teachers can use ‘straight-arrow ESA’plan , ‘boomerang ESA’plan , and ‘patchwork ESA’ plan. The important point here is that all lessons start with an ‘engage’ phase and finish with an ‘activate’ phase. In straight-arrow ESA lesson, which is like PPP, teacher takes the ‘engage, study, activate’ order. A boomerang ESA lesson can go through ‘engage, active 1, study, activate 2’ phases. A ‘patchwork ESA’ lesson can be consist of ‘engage, activate 1, activate 2, study 1, activate 3, engage, study, active’ phases. When we think about these three common sequences of ESA, we can say that, straight-arrow ESA plan is useful for teachers to know what the students know and take the language point logically. Boomerang ESA lesson allows teachers to see what are the needs of the students before teaching langauge. Patchwork ESA lesson provides flexibility and balance between the study and activation; however, students should have high level of English to use here. It is appropriate for intermediate level and above. As a result, we can say that, students need to be exposed to English language and they should be encouraged to use the language with a certain amount of input from teacher. Compared to PPP, ESA is more flexible. Teachers can move around different stages. It is particularly appropriate for new teachers. Therefore, ESA is an effective method for an English language teaching.