A while back I read a blog post written specifically about what is wrong with PPP methodology. And, sadly, the author stated:
PPP means that teachers will first present a grammar point
While I would agree that PPP has some limitations, I would never agree that PPP must be about teaching grammar. And the writer would not think that if he had been in my training classroom!
Now I quite understand that MOST TEFL training programs around the world take that approach, but a thinking teacher never would. And method should be about thinking your way through a lesson, not just following a cardboard cutout over and over and over.
Why in the world would you make grammar the point of specific lessons? I sure can’t think of any reasons beyond the banal, Because they need to know grammar.
Well . . . yes, students do need to know and understand grammar but this constant focus on grammar is one (of many) reasons why students come to hate studying English. Why not teach students how to communicate about something they are interested in? And then, inside that lesson, teach them how to do that communication in a grammatically correct way?
Functions are simply language that we use to exchange information. Language that has a purpose or a function.
Asking and answering questions about your favorite sport
Dealing with complaints at work
Asking someone for a date
Asking and giving directions around town
Asking for assistance at work
Giving your opinion in a meeting
Making a sales call
Talking about your product
Describing your favorite toy (food, hobby, music, actor, and more more more)
Talking about your favorite video games
and on and on.
What is important and or most relevant to your students? Talk about that and teach them the language for that. Do you really think your students talk about present perfect when they are away from school? Not!
Notice the functions always start with Something-ING. Asking and answering. Offering, helping, assisting, complaining, talking about, directing and on and on. Or you almost can’t go wrong with the simple: Asking and answering questions about ______ . Just ask your students what they want to talk about and fill in the blank. Wouldn’t your students be more interested in your class if THEY got to pick what they are going to talk about? Of course they would!
If you teach them how to talk about things they WANT to talk about – things they are INTERESTED in talking about, you will have a much more motivated student. One who just might enjoy their class rather than hate it.
Now I did say – Don’t Teach Grammar – but what I meant was don’t make it the point of the lesson. Just teach your students the proper grammatical structures they need to talk about the topic at hand. That’s all. They will get it. Certainly faster than just memorizing irrelevant grammar points.
Tip #1: Teach Functions! Not Grammar.