Category: Professional Development

Do You Know What ECRIF is?!

ECRIF stands for five phases of students’ learning: Encounter, Clarify, Remember, Internalize, Fluency.

ECRIF is a framework for understanding learning, looking at how people learn rather than prescribing what teachers should or should not do.

ECRIF framework focuses on the learning process that students go through as they work with the target skill or knowledge rather than what the teacher is doing during the lesson.

This framework can provide a tool that help teachers see student activities and content from the perspective of student learning. In this way, ECRIF is connected to how teachers think about what is happening in their classrooms.

Who developed ECRIF and where is it being used?

ECRIF framework was developed by Josh Kurzweil and Mary Scholl between 2004 and 2005 as they wrote the book Understanding Teaching Through Learning

This framework has been used in a variety of workshops given for governmental and non-governmental organizations. Although it was originally developed for English language teachers, it has also been with content teachers teaching other subjects such as history and math as well as vocational instruction such as using computer software and operating construction equipment.

Benefits of recognizing the ECRIF framework.

ECRIF can be used by the teachers to:

  • plan lessons and adapt course book materials = (reflecting for action).
  • assess where students are in their learning process during a lesson = (reflecting in action).
  • reflect on student learning after a lesson = (reflecting on action).
  • determine what kind of corrective feedback would be useful for the learner.

The phases of ECRIF framework.


The encounter phase of learning is the first time a learner encounters new material or information.  It is the presentation of new language.  In the ENCOUNTER phase, the learner’s background knowledge is activated and what they already know is found out.

Methods of ENCOUNTER:

  • Inductive or deductive presentation.
  • Storytelling with or without realia, role play, pictures, recordings, etc.
  • Matching exercises
  • Categorizing, sorting, predicting


Clarify is something that happens inside the learner when the learner can determine, for example, certain meaning or pronunciation of a vocabulary word or use certain grammar construction in certain situation.  Teachers of course assist in clarifying and check or assess learners’ understanding of material.  One way that teachers check comprehension is with comprehension checking questions.

4 kinds of comprehension checking questions.

  1. Non-verbal affirmation – “Point to the supermarket.”
  2. Positive/negative – “Is this a supermarket?”  “Can I buy bread at the supermarket?”
  3. Discrimination – “If I want to buy bread, do I go to the pharmacy or the supermarket?”
  4. Short answer – “What is the name of a local supermarket?”

Some notes about comprehension checking questions (CCQs): 

They are used to check the understanding of anything that learners have encountered or been presented:  vocabulary, grammar, appropriateness, etc.  They are also to check if students understand instructions for an activity, project, or assignment. It is helpful to write them out at first in your lesson plan.


This is the first step in putting new material in memory.  It is usually characterized by repetition, drilling, and referring back to support materials using models or prompts.

Typical activities for remembering:

  • Drilling.
  • Gap filling or cloze test.
  • Information gap.
  • Searches.
  • Scrambled words or sentences.
  • Guessing games.
  • Matching.
  • Reading scripts and dialogues.

Note about remembering: 

The activities for this stage of learning are also called “controlled practice”.  Controlled practice means that the learner has lots of support, and little or no choice in how to successfully complete the activity or exercise.


When a learner internalizes material, it is transferred to long-term memory. Continued practice is needed to help internalize new language or information. Kinds of practice here differs from the remembering stage in that it will be freer and less controlled. In this stage learners make more choices in how they are using the information and relying less on outside support.

Typical activities for internalization:

  • Guessing games.
  • Information gaps.
  • Storytelling/role play.
  • Short answers.

Notes about activities to remember and internalize:   

Learners go through a process of putting target language into short-term memory and then longer-term memory in order to prepare for later communication by practicing the language in various ways moving from “teacher-controlled” to “learner-initiated” activities.


In this stage of learning, learners are using new material and information fluidly, in accordance with their current understanding and internalized grasp of the material.  It is the stage where they freely test internalized knowledge and spontaneously produce the target language creatively in a personal, real-life communication tasks.

Typical fluency activities:

  • Guessing games.
  • Fluency lines, circles.
  • Debates.
  • Role play.
  • Information gap.
  • Discussions.

Note: While corrective feedback is useful at the practice stages of language learning, no corrective feedback is offered during fluency activities, because it interrupts the flow of language production.

Remember: ECRIF is not a linear framework. Learners find themselves practicing fluency before they have internalized target language. They go back to clarify something that is not fully understood, then double back to drill or practice fluency. After learners have internalized the meaning of a structure, they encounter a new meaning or use of the same structure which again leads them to clarify, remember, etc.

Since ECRIF is not linear, the teacher orders the stages of the lesson based upon student learning and chooses to start lessons with fluency practice, or returns to pronunciation drilling based upon the assessment of learner production in the internalization or fluency stage of the lesson.

If you have any more ideas, experiences, questions, or feedback related to the ECRIF framework, please, share them with me. You can email me at

You may also like to subscribe to my blog not only to be notified of my latest posts and publications but also to get my FREE GIFTS: Two of My Featured ELT Guides.

Look down, write your email address, and then click “Subscribe”

Subscribe to our Blog  


Ten Skills a Primary Language Teacher Must Have

primary teacher

A Primary Language Teacher Must have the ability to:

1. understand well the characteristics of young learners whom he works with.

2. link his understanding of young learners with the teaching method and assessment procedures that he uses in the classroom.

3. adapt or create the most suitable learning environment for young learners.

4. use, adapt or create the most suitable resources and materials for young learners.

5. encourage children all the time and give them support and a feeling of achievement.

6. give them a good model for everything that happen in the classroom.

7. create a friendly classroom atmosphere in which children are encouraged to interact and express themselves freely without fear of making errors.

8. act, tell stories, sing, dramatize conversations, correct errors, praise high achievers and encourage lower ones.

9. use, adapt or create meaningful and purposeful language activities in which most children are involved.

10. manage the classroom well following a specific system.

Now it’s your turn, tell me one more ability that you consider a must for primary language teacher.   

Ten Necessary English Language Teaching Strategies

The following are some teaching strategies that EFL teachers should use to help students in the classroom develop their proficiency in English especially when faced with new structure and vocabulary.

1. Encouraging the use of the language:

This should be the key component of each EFL class. Teachers must make sure that the language items are used correctly. To facilitate language usage, teachers must encourage different kinds of language practice. Individual words need to be put in sentences and students should be encouraged to express themselves using the learned language structures, too.

2. Doing behavioral activities:

Students must constantly give the teacher evidence of learning. To provide the teacher with evidence of learning, students must do some observable actions or behaviors that the teacher has requested. Throughout the lesson, the teacher must plan behavioral activities or tasks that give students opportunities to:

Observe, Recognize, Locate, Identify, Classify, Practice, Collect, Distinguish, Categorize, Repeat, Match, Show, Select, Construct, Assemble, Arrange, Put things in order, Etc. Name, Recall, Give Examples, Draw, Organize, Decide, Describe, Tell, Imagine, Restate, Create, Appraise, Dramatize, Contrast, Compare, Question, Map, Discriminate, Etc. List, Underline, Review, Interpret, Compose, Dictate, Point out, Record, Report, Predict, Express, Plan and Evaluate. Relate, Generalize, Demonstrate, Outline, Summarize, Suppose, Estimate, Judge, Explain, Debate, Illustrate, Infer, Revise, Rewrite, Assess, Justify, Critique, Etc.

All of the above are observable actions that teachers should encourage students to do within certain activities so that they can show evidence of their learning.

3. Activating prior knowledge:

Teachers must become very familiar with the background knowledge that students bring to the learning situation, so they can always emphasize what students already know, and build on this prior knowledge. Visuals, realia and all kinds of connections to previous lessons should be become essential components of all lessons.

4. Working in groups:

Teachers should plan the behavioral activities in ways that give students the opportunity to work in groups to achieve specific purposes. Teachers should encourage students to implement these varied activities in heterogeneous groups.

5. Dealing with aspects of culture:

EFL students have their own experiences and cultural backgrounds and they may come from different geographical parts, so teachers should acknowledge that first. Then they should affirm the value of difference among different cultures. Next, teachers should expand the limited cultural knowledge of students by tackling with different aspects of English-speaking people’s culture showing how these aspects affect their behavior and their ways of expression. While teachers are doing so, they should develop students’ awareness of their own culture.

6. Demonstrating and modeling:

It is another most important component in all English language lessons. The key role of the teacher is to demonstrate and model all the behaviors to be learned in the lesson, especially the verbal behaviors expected to be mastered by the students. All teachers must remember that for most English language learners, teachers are the only role models that students will ever come in contact with for the language items. In today’s world, few parents have the time or the energy – or the knowledge – to present the content of the language lessons. Only teachers can provide that.

7. Introducing the meanings:

All words must be understood before students listen or read. Thus, teachers, must help students acquire, practice, develop, learn, and master the new vocabulary before they listen or read. Visuals, realia, dramatization, or any other means can be used to help students master the new vocabulary before listening or reading begins. Graphic organizers are very important in this case, too as they can be used to help students become aware of the new words they are about to learn. Graphic organizers that group words in categories by meaning are the most effective means to introduce new words. Word definitions or looking up the meaning of words in a dictionary are not the most effective means to introduce new words. For younger learners pictures can be used with printed words.

8. Integrating the four language skills across the curriculum:

Students should have opportunities to:

  1. Listen to the new language of the lesson as the teacher uses visuals, realia, and other means to physically convey the meaning of the language.
  2. Speak the new language through active learning activities.
  3. Read the textbook or parts of the textbook or reading selection, and they should do that with understanding.
  4. Write about what they have learned answering the textbook questions in their own words.

When students have been provided fully integrated listening, speaking, reading and writing activities, they would provide clear evidence of learning the target language.

9. Developing higher order thinking skills:

In strategy No. 2, above, I indicated that students must be engaged in suggested behavioral activities that students can perform to give evidence of learning. These activities (listed in No. 2 above) describe simple to complex or higher order thinking skills. Students who can perform these observable behaviors are giving evidence that they are operating and developing from simple to complex or higher order thinking skills.

10. Questioning:

The most effective tool teachers use to implement all of the above strategies is the question. Every time a teacher asks a question the student must actively respond. Through questions, teachers can monitor student use of the language. Questions help assess prior knowledge and provide the most effective tool to obtain evidence of learning. Through questions teachers can provide new information to students while demonstrating and modeling the use of the language. Questions can be asked at the lowest – knowledge – and the highest – evaluation – levels of thinking skills. Questions help teachers provide opportunities for students to listen and speak.  In fact, questioning techniques allow teachers to have control of their classroom while helping students succeed. How? By controlling the level of language difficulty of the questions. A teacher can choose which question to ask a student depending on how much knowledge the student has. By choosing the right question appropriate for each student, teachers can promote learning while at the same time allow students to experience success.

These ten ELT strategies characterize effective EFL lessons and guarantee effective language learning and achieving different language learning objectives.

English Language Teaching & Testing Guide © 2018 Frontier Theme