PPP – practice, practice, practice

This blog post is based on a lesson a trainee teacher taught in my B1 class a few weeks ago. Her lesson revolved around a YouTube video, in which a teenager is presenting her favourite TV shows. The goal of the lesson was to enable students to talk about their own favourite TV shows using the language modelled in the video. It unfolded through a PPP (presentation, practice, production) sequence. Such a sequence, however, goes much too quickly from presentation to production, when it is applied to a single lesson. In reality, language structures have to be practiced a lot more thoroughly before they can be produced freely. You have to put a stress on the second of the three Ps in order not to sacrifice learning for progression. Therefore I tried to outline a series of practice and recycling activities that would make sure that the new language items would “stick”.

So, first, here is a simplified version of the first P – the presentation:

Pre-listening task

Write down the titles of popular TV shows on pieces of paper and spread these around the classroom. Leave a few of the pieces blank.

Now, have your students stroll around the room. When they find a title they like, they stop there and start talking with the others about the show. If students don’t find one they like, they can take one of the blank pieces of paper and write the title of a show they like on it.

Listening tasks

Write the following tasks on the board:

1. Listen to the video. Try to understand as much as possible.

2. Which one of the shows mentioned would you like to watch most?

Share the reasons for your choice with your neighbour.

3. Listen again. Collect important chunks of language and organize them along the categories listed below.

4. Compare your results with those of your neighbour.

Of course, it would also be possible to flip the listening part and have the students do it at home.

Now, to the most important part – practicing the language that was presented in the first part of the lesson.

stage one (getting to know the chunks)

– grammaticality judgment tests and metalinguistic tasks such as “Why is X used here and Y there?” or “If you can say X, can you also say Y?”

– Let the students form sentences using the chunks.

stage two (reconstructing the original text)

– Do a cloze test using a partial transcript of the video.

– “Organize the chunks from the list in the order, in which they were mentioned.”

– “Reconstruct the original text with the help of the chunks.”

stage three (create your own text)

– “Write a recommendation for YOUR own favourite show.”

– “Reduce the text to a few key chunks and use them to record a podcast. Upload the podcast to our audioboom channel.

stage four (at home)

– “Study the chunks on Quizlet.”

stage five (a few lessons later)
– “Listen to some of the podcasts and write down the chunks you hear on small index cards.”

– “Use the cards to scaffold a short talk to your neighbour about your favourite film (discarding the ones used).”

stage six (after a few weeks’ time)

– Get back to the lesson with a dictogloss activity.

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