segunda-feira, 22 de novembro de 2010

The PPP Method: Presentation, Practice and Production

This article is intended to enlighten university students on a teaching method called Presentation, Practice and Production, or simply PPP, as many professionals like to call it, therefore giving a clear idea of the stages and providing examples which might come in handy in the preparation of lessons.

As far as language teaching is concerned, there has been a great deal of research carried out by linguists from all over the world and many theories and methods on how languages are best learnt have been put forward. Some have indeed proved to be very successful ways of learning a second language (L2), becoming very popular in L2 classrooms around the world. Among many methods, the PPP is a successful one and is widely used throughout the world by many English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers. Every PPP lesson has a language aim, which students should fulfill by the end of it.  It is a modern equivalent of the audio-lingualism method, which dates back to the 1940s. Not only can the PPP be applied to teach grammar items, but it can also be used to teach functions, vocabulary and even pronunciation. In a PPP lesson there are three stages: first, the teacher presents the target language; then, students practise the new language items; and finally they use their own ideas to talk about themselves.

The presentation phase usually consists of two steps: an introductory activity such as a warm-up or a lead-in, which is an activity intended to raise students’ interest in the topic; and an introduction of the target language. For example, if the aim of the lesson is to teach the present continuous for arrangements, the lesson could start with a warmer in which the teacher elicits some activities the students enjoy doing at the weekends. Then, the suggested ideas are written on the board and the teacher helps with any pronunciation problems there might be during this step. After that, the teacher could write the students' ideas on the board to present the present continuous. The teacher chooses some of them and talks about his/her own arrangements for the weekend. While the teacher presents the new language items, the students just listen. This way, the present continuous is being presented in a contextualised way, which is very important at the presentation stage of the lesson.

In the practice stage, the focus is on form. The teacher provides opportunities for students to practise the learnt items in a controlled way. This is a chance for the students to use what they have learnt without making mistakes, so it is of the utmost importance that at this moment of the lesson, the students are monitored and all mistakes are corrected. A common controlled activity is a choral drill, in which students repeat the sentences on the board, using the present continuous. Then, the teacher explains the grammatical use of the new language referring the present continuous to its function: making future arrangements. After that, he/she asks the students conceptual questions, that is, questions to check whether they have understood the use of the language. For instance, 'What am I going to do on Saturday morning? How about on Saturday evening?' etc. Students can then carry out another restricted activity such as a written gap-filling in which they fill in the gaps of sentences with the present continuous form of the verbs in brackets. It's necessary though, that students have the chance to practise, through restricted exercises, at the beginning and at the end of the practice stage.

Once students have practiced the present continuous, now it is time for them to use what they have been taught in real-situation like activities. The production stage focuses on fluency and provides students with an opportunity to personalise the language learnt by doing less controlled tasks, that is, by using their own ideas. A good production exercise for the described lesson is: the teacher gives a copy of a blank weekly schedule for students to complete with some arrangements and activities of their own. Then, students work in pairs, asking about what they are doing at specific days and times of the week and which arrangements they have. To make this freer practice more interesting and interactive, the students could try to find out each other's free time in their timetables and make arrangements between themselves. It is extremely important that students use what they have learnt in very communicative tasks.

According to Jeremy Harmer (2009), the PPP is a method that is widely used in teaching simple language at lower levels. Furthermore, many modern coursebooks contain examples of PPP lessons which have retained elements of structural-situation methodology and audio-lingualism. Harmer adds that there is a general consensus that PPP is just one method among many, not taking into consideration other ways of learning. It is very learning-based and takes little account of students’ acquisition abilities. However, I strongly believe that once the lesson is finished and your students have actually achieved its aim, having been able to produce language in an meaningful way, it means that the method applied was successful and effective, and only then will the teacher feel that learning has really taken place.

(Posted by: Leonardo Nascimento Veiga) 

HARMER, Jeremy. How to Teach. 5th ed. Harlow. Longman. 2009
SPRATT, Mary, PULVERNESS, Alan, and WILLIAMS, Melanie. The TKT Course. 1st ed. Cambridge. Cambridge. 2005

9 comentários:

  1. thanks for sharing it! great work, keep it up!

  2. Thanks so much for your information.. it very useful for us. i have a website hopefully, we can share each other. because your suggestion is very needed.although, it still in the process of writing articele.. please come to my website.. thnks guys

  3. Hello, I would like to know who is the author that proposed such a method. Thank you so much for this useful information.

  4. Hi, I would like to know in which theory of learning this method can be categorized? Behaviorism, cognitivism or constructivism? Additionaly, if this method has something to do with communicative language teaching?

  5. Jose gutierres. Late i guess.ppp is behaviourism because it deal for a product in a controled way. The conection with clt is the activity at the end can be in context.

  6. Jose gutierres. Late i guess.ppp is behaviourism because it deal for a product in a controled way. The conection with clt is the activity at the end can be in context.

  7. If you're engaged in learning foreign languages but it is difficult to speak for you, you are likely to be interested in this source where you can find out in what way to practise languages so that you be considered as a native speaker

  8. But if the students couldn't apply the production what you do?
    Another question how toimprove ppp