The presentation stage of an ESL lesson plan

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As a trainee or novice ESL teacher, the use of the so-called ‘three P’s’ (PPP) teaching methodology will be very useful for preparing your lesson plans, and as you know: a good lesson plan is the first step towards a good ESL lesson.

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 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 presentation stage here are four important points that you, the trainee or novice ESL teacher, should consider when developing the presentation stage of your lesson plans:

1. What motivational devices can be used to encourage interest in the subject? Motivation is especially important when grammar lessons are being taught: one possible way of motivating the students is by teaching it in the context of an interesting text.

2. Is it best to present the subject orally or in written form? You will invariably find that the use of both forms is the best approach. Listening work should be done using the three-stage method: pre-listening (preparation, and relevant vocabulary), while-listening (the students do the listening), and post-listening (feedback and follow-up activities).

3. What teaching aids should you use to improve the presentation? This will depend on the teaching objective of the lesson: videos, CDs, and mp3 are recommended for speaking and listening work; texts illustrating the different registers would be appropriate for writing work; texts could also be used to illustrate the actual use of grammar structures, and realia – objects from real life.

4. What should you do if the majority of your students don’t understand? This is the worst scenario. You have spent ages preparing, but the majority of your students just don’t seem to ‘get it’. If you find yourself in this situation: move onto the practice stage and walk around the class helping the students individually. Don’t spend ages in front of the blackboard in a determined effort to get them to understand; this could result in a complete waste of time – and an embarrassment for you. Although you won’t have to write out detailed presentation planning notes, you should write a few notes (based on the points above) to help you when actually teaching the class.

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