What should go into an English language lesson?

A is for Activate

Simply telling students about the language is not usually 

enough to help them to learn it. In order for students to be 


to develop their use of English, they need to be given the 

chance to produce it. In an Activate stage the students are 

tasks, normally writing and or speaking activities which 

require students to use not only the language they are 

studying that

day, but also other language that they have learnt.

Here are some reasons why it’s important to let students 

have this kind of practice:

• It gives students the chance to rehearse English, as if they 

were doing it in the real world but in the safe

environment of the classroom.

• Some theories of language learning suggest that by giving 

students this kind of practice, it helps them to

‘switch’ language they have been studying, into language 

which they can use instinctively without having to

think about it.

• These kind of activities are often fun for the students. As 

we have mentioned before, providing an

enjoyable classroom experience for students helps the 

learning process.

• This kind of activity, because it does not restrict the 

students to using only a particular area of language, is

an effective way for both students and the teacher to assess 

how well the class is progressing.

• Providing suitable tasks which the students can achieve 

using lots of different language has a positive

motivational effect on students. Motivated students tend to 

learn better.

Engage, Study and Activate - three important 

considerations for any lesson. Every activity, every exercise, 

every part lesson should fit into one of these categories. 

Although ESA is a guide to what should go into a lesson, it 

is not necessarily

a guide as to what order activities should come in a lesson. 

For example, it is possible to have an Activate stage before 

aStudy stage.

 In this order the teacher can monitor the activity to find 

out what it is that the students need to know. In other

words, the Activate stage helps the teacher to decide the 

content of the Study stage.

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