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
Teach Language Functions
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
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.