An ELT Glossary : PPP

PPP (Presentation-Practice-Production) is an approach to teaching structure, function, phonology  and lexis that has been used since the late 1970s. It is useful for teaching language items which are completely new to the learners. The approach involves the teacher first setting up a situation which will allow her/him to feed in the target language, then focusing on two or three model sentences including it and asking concept check questions to ensure that the learners understand the form and use (the presentation stage). 

The learners then do controlled practice of the target language - such as repetition and substitution drills, gapfill activities etc, where they have to use the target language in continuation, but without needing to think about what they want to say at the same time. All the language is "given" and they can just concentrate on manipulating the form and producing it accurately . Semi-controlled activities follow, where the target language must still be used in continuation but where the rest of the language in each utterance is chosen by the learners. For example, a Find someone who activity.  This increases the level of communicative challenge slightly. Finally, in the production stage (also called free practice) the learners are asked to discuss something, do a roleplay etc where there is scope for use of the target language but where other language will prevail and where what the learner says is entirely up to him or her.

Example : Target language = teaching suggestions exponents eg Why don't we.. Shall we... What about... Let's... and acceptance/rejection exponents

a) Presentation : The T draws two stick figures on the board, both looking worried. She explains the situation : Carol and Peter need £10,000 for a new roof on their house. They are trying to think of ways to get the money. She feeds in the conversation between them which includes model sentences like : Why don't we sell the car? /What about asking your parents to lend us some of the money? etc plus rejection (No - I need it for work) and acceptance (That's a good idea) exponents. Understanding of form and use is checked.

b) Controlled practice : Choral repetition of the model sentences; a gapfill of the model dialogue with elements of the target language missing : Why ..... we sell the car? /What about ....... your parents to lend us some of the money?

c) Semi-controlled practice : PW - Ls have a pile of flashcards showing objects (a book, a cat, a bicycle) etc and take turns in turning over a flashcard and suggesting the object as a birthday present for a friend, which their partner must reject until they come to the final card in the pile (A : Why don't we buy her some chocolates? B: No, she's on a diet. What about buying her a bicycle A: No, it's too expensive. Let's buy her a kitten? B: No, she hates cats etc)

d) Production : The learners are given three or four situations in which a problem is described. Imagining that they have that problem, they discuss together the possible solutions and decide what they want to do.

Further reading

Woodward, T. Planning Lessons and Courses, Cambridge