The ESA Methodology of Teaching - The Study Phase

 

This video is part of our ESA Methodology series. The ESA methodology consists of three stages. In this series, we look at the individual purposes of each stage and typical activities for each stage. This second video introduces the study phase of ESA. The purpose of this phase is to cover the actual teaching of the lesson and to check the understanding of that material.The second stage or phase of the lesson is known as the study phase and really the purpose of this phase is to cover the actual teaching of the lesson and to check understanding of that material. Typically in an ESA lesson, the study phase will have two parts. The first phase of the study is to cover the actual teaching component in what's known as the board work and what we try to do in the board work phase is to elicit, to gain information, from the students about the teaching point. So this is very different to the normal didactic way of teaching, where someone stands at the front and explains the information. In the ESA methodology, wherever possible, you are trying to draw the information out from the students. In this process, known as elicitation, once that information has been generated on the board, what the teacher can then do, is cover any gaps in knowledge that they're unable to elicit from the students. The teaching point then being complete, we can then move over into the second part of the study phase, which is to check the students" understanding of this information. The second part of the study phase, once we've elicited this teaching point from the students, is to then check their understanding. Now, one question that's often used in classrooms to check understanding is "Do you understand?" Really this is a waste of time because the students will quite often say "yes" whether or not they do and so in order to check understanding, what we have to do is to ask targeted specific questions about the teaching point. So, what these questions have to tell us is, by answering them, the students have an understanding of the material that we've covered in the teaching point. The types of questions that we ask could be for example what are known as gap fill activities. So quite often, they have a sentence where there is a gap and they have to choose, typically a vocabulary word, in order to complete that sentence and make it make sense. Another example of an activity might be something like a matching exercise and there are all sorts of things that they could match, for example they might match a word to a picture or they might match a picture to a description or they could match a word to a description itself. So, again, both of these activities are very targeted in that the students have to be able to understand the material in order to get the answer correct. Another type of activity that can be used here, we could describe as word order and typically you will take a sentence and scramble it up and the students then have to recreate that sentence in the correct order to make it sensible again. This will show understanding of the particular vocabulary or grammar point.


Below you can read feedback from an ITTT graduate regarding one section of their online TEFL certification course. Each of our online courses is broken down into concise units that focus on specific areas of English language teaching. This convenient, highly structured design means that you can quickly get to grips with each section before moving onto the next.

Unit 9 covered the essential features of planning a lesson. In particular, why one would plan a lesson, the classroom/student features that one considers when planning a lesson, what should be included in a lesson as well as several lesson plan samples and examples of Straight Arrow lessons on specific topics. A lesson plan serves to help (in particular a new student teacher) plan out not only a class session but a course or semester plan with goals and stepping stones to goals. It also helps substitute teachers who step in and it helps a teacher track (via a written record of the course) what activities work, what plans work and conversely, don?t work so that the student teacher can approach the next semester with new tools. Lesson plans can range from simply sparse notes to complex plans but the one thing they should never be, are rigid and inflexible. Students engage, disengage and struggle (or even excel) with different material and the lesson plan needs to have room to expand or contract as student needs demand to enable best comprehension of the material. Lesson plans need to include ?learner objectives? which serve as the road map not just on the small day to day learning goals but as a pathway to comprehension of larger language use. Each teacher is an individual and has their own strengths, weaknesses and goals for themselves and growing as a teacher is a part of the process in planning lessons. For example, if a student teacher is struggling with standing at the board and fielding student contributions to discussion then a student teacher might make a period within each class plan where he/she challenges themselves to do 10 extra minutes or establishes behaviors that might reduce that anxiety. What language points will the teacher cover, what tools will be necessary (technology, workseets, flashcards etcetera). Also key is to know your classroom & students and to be able to anticipate student problems. Remembering that students and teachers are individuals with their own personalities, strengths and weaknesses and being aware, knowledgable and prepared for what could happen in the classroom is absolutely key to guiding the access to the language. Lesson plans should also include procedure (how and what to do) and the phase of the lesson (activate, engage, study being the ?when?) each activity is placed within. Consider timing, how students work (or don?t work) together and plan it. Knowing your students class level is critical and while it seems something that is obvious, each age group has students that sit at different places on the range of ability within the material. Know how large or small your classroom is. Always date and time your lesson plans so that you can know when you presented a lesson for when you review the material. And always, put your name and the observers names on your lesson plan so that when it is reviewed all participants can contribute to the process of teacher development. In addition, this unit presented sample lesson plans (in table form) that showed how to lay out timing, goals and notes. Of particular interest to me was the way the notes were written. The brevity did not leave out details. I have a tendency to be verbose and as such, sometimes I even get lost in my own explanations. The notes were concise and to the point and comprehensive. The sample activities in the task sheets were especially inspiring/helpful for me to visualize how a class would work.

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