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Presentation, practice and production (PPP)

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An approach often fits into a lesson structure known as PPP (Presentation, Practice, Production). The teacher presents the target language and then gives students the opportunity to practise it through very controlled activities. The final stage of the lesson gives the students the opportunity to practise the target language in freer activities which bring in other language elements.

This model works well as it can be used for most isolated grammatical items. It also allows the teacher to time each stage of the lesson fairly accurately and to anticipate and be prepared for the problems students may encounter. It is less workable at higher levels when students need to compare and contrast several grammatical items at the same time and when their linguistic abilities are far less uniform.

Presentation

In this stage the teacher presents the new language in a meaningful context. I find that building up stories on the board, using realia or flashcards and miming are fun ways to present the language.

For example, when presenting the 2nd conditional, I often draw a picture of myself with thought bubbles of lots of money, a sports car, a big house and a world map.

  • I ask my students what I'm thinking about and then introduce the target language.
    "If I had a lot of money, I would buy a sports car and a big house."
  • I practise and drill the sentence orally before writing it the board (positive, negative, question and short answer).
  • I then focus on form by asking the students questions. E.g." What do we use after 'if'?" and on meaning by asking the students questions to check that they have understood the concept (E.g. "Do I have lots of money?" No." What am I doing?" Imagining.)
  • When I am satisfied that my students understand the form and the meaning, I move on to the practice stage of the lesson. During this stage of the lesson it is important to correct phonological and grammatical mistakes.
  • Download the students' worksheet HERE.

Practice

There are numerous activities which can be used for this stage including gap fill exercises, substitution drills, sentence transformations, split sentences, picture dictations, class questionnaires, reordering sentences and matching sentences to pictures.

  • It is important that the activities are fairly controlled at this stage as students have only just met the new language. Many student's books and workbooks have exercises and activities which can be used at this stage.
  • When teaching the 2nd conditional, I would use split sentences as a controlled practice activity. I give students lots of sentence halves and in pairs they try and match the beginnings and ends of the sentences.
    Example: "If I won the lottery," …. "I'd travel around the world."
  • I would then do a communicative follow up game like pelmanism or snap using the same sentence halves.

You can download the Students' worksheet HERE.

Production

Again there are numerous activities for this stage and what you choose will depend on the language you are teaching and on the level of your students. However, information gaps, role plays, interviews, simulations, find someone who, spot the differences between two pictures, picture cues, problem solving, personalisation activities and board games are all meaningful activities which give students the opportunity to practise the language more freely.

  • When teaching the 2nd conditional, I would try to personalise the lesson at this stage by giving students a list of question prompts to ask others in the class.
    Example:do / if / win the lottery?
  • Although the questions are controlled the students are given the opportunity to answer more spontaneously using other language items and thus the activity becomes much less predictable.
  • It is important to monitor and make a note of any errors so that you can build in class feedback and error analysis at the end of the lesson.
  • You can download the students' worksheet HERE.