The practice stage of an ESL lesson plan - part 2

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The ESL teacher’s ultimate goal is to help the students become proficient in English, and unless you want your goal to remain a mere wish – you will have to plan. This is where the use of the so-called ‘three P’s’ (PPP) teaching methodology can be useful for preparing ESL lesson plans.

The PPP methodology consists of three stages: the presentation stage, the practice stage, and the production stage. A simplistic description of the methodology is as follows: in the presentation stage, the ESL teacher introduces and teaches the subject that the students will be required to master. In the practice stage, the students engage in exercises and activities based on the subject taught in the first stage: this will usually be done with the guidance of the teacher. In the production stage, the students engage in exercises or activities based on the taught subject without the guidance of the ESL teacher. Since this article is concerned only with the production stage, here are four important points that you, the trainee or novice ESL teacher, should consider when developing the production stage of your lesson plans: 1. What activities are suitable for the production stage? As with the practice stage, the following activities may be used: cloze tests, substitution drills, listening exercises,  sentence transformations, split sentence matching, role play, interviews, presentations, games, speeches, and so forth. In fact, any relevant activity can be used to evaluate the students’ understanding of the lesson objective. 2. How should the activities be chosen? The activities, which also include written work, should be identical to the activities undertaken in the practice stage: this way the student will not be ‘shocked’ suddenly by the appearance of an unfamiliar testing scenario whilst at the same time having to master the new subject. For example: if the activity in the practice stage was a role play, it should also be a role play in the production stage. 3. What should you expect from the students? In the production stage, you should expect the students to have effectively assimilated the teaching objective. How well the students assimilate the new material will usually depend on the difficultly of the material being taught. 4. How much guidance should you give the students?  At this stage, the ESL teacher should not give any guidance to the students: this applies equally to written, oral and aural activities. In the case of oral activities, a few words of encouragement are in order – but this does not include providing them with forgotten words or expressions. In passing, it should be noted that although the PPP methodology is relatively modern – it is quite a popular methodology for lesson plans.

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