PPP - Presentation Practice Production

Hi, I have been trying to collect information about various methodologies of classroom teaching, and PPP (Presentation, practice and production) has been one of them. However I have found no information about the origins of PPP, e.g. who invented the method, or whether if it is a traditional approach that somebody or some organisation later labelled as "PPP". Would anyone please be able to tell me? Thanks!

girishseshamani's picture

I would request you not to lose your sense of direction by looking for different methods. The English Language is all about innovation. As far as the English Language is concerned it is practically impossible to narrow down on an effective methodology since the dynamics by way of student profile varies significantly. Each batch is a new challenge for the trainer.As trainers we should have the courage to innovate and implement our methodology during the training process. The process of rediscovering ourselves as trainers never ends.

Heath's picture

I think PPP was developed as a 'soft' approach to Communicative Language Teaching (CLT).As far as I'm aware, CLT came about in the late 70s as a reaction against things like: heavy focus on grammar; language being learned as knowledge rather than skill; behaviourist approaches to learning, etc.  What the first CLT people said was that language was best learned through doing.  The idea was the focus should be on meaning and use, not on form, and that people needed to actually read, listen, speak and write for communicative purposes rather than just practise grammatical structures through gap-fills and substitution.The problem was, it was too new an idea at the time, and many (if not most) teachers, students, and publishers weren't happy with the change (whether it was a good change or not).So then people came up with the idea of combining CLT and traditional approaches - a soft communicative approach.  The idea was that we should study grammatical structures as always, then do all the gap-fills and substitution as always, but to finish off with more communicative and realistic practice.  That lead to Presentation (studying the grammar), Practice (doing the gap-fills and substitution drills), and Production (actually reading and speaking with the focus on meaning, use and communication).Sometimes the three P's aren't obvious at first, but the following type of lesson is fairly common and is a form of PPP:

  • Lead In (introduce the topic)
  • Reading 1 (reading for gist)
  • Reading 2 (scanning for specific information)
  • Language Focus (completing discovery tasks that draw attention to a certain grammatical point)
  • Practice 1 (controlled practice, such as writing 6 sentences using that grammar)
  • Practice 2 (freer practice, such as doing a role-play in pairs)

In this, the Lead In and Reading stages are there to build up a communicative context, but the aim is to use that context to focus on the language (Presentation) and then to go through those two stages of using the language, the controlled stage (Practice) and the freer stage (Production).The main disadvantages to PPP seem to me to be:

  • It creates the impression that grammar is the main key to language learning.
  • If Ss aren't ready to learn, or don't want or need to learn, that particular grammar point, the whole lesson can be a bit of a waste.
  • Ss never really get a chance to practice realistic communication.  (Because any 'production' will be so influenced by the heavy grammar focus and controlled practice, that Ss will try to produce that grammar point rather than try to communicate - they will focus on the form and structure more than on meaning and use.)

That's what I seem to have picked up, anyway.  Not sure that I've seen any definitive text on it either.  I wonder if the more recent version of Richards and Rodgers comments on it - I've got an older version.

Ruth Vega's picture
Ruth Vega

So you suggest to practise eclecticism, if so, I agree with you because a teacher must be creative on learning methodology and apply as many ways as possible in order to develop students' critical thinking.

Heath's picture

That's an interesting question.  I'm not sure about 'eclecticism'.  I guess it's okay if the teacher chooses very carefully based on students' needs and lesson aims.  It can lead to really unstructured, aimless, semi-organised courses/lessons, though. I wonder if there's already a forum discussing eclecticism... I'm going to have a look now.

afen's picture

would you like to give more information about this PPP, e.g theory from author of book..
I need it to complete my script..

Heath's picture

Try the book "At the Chalkface: Practical techniques for language teaching" by Matthews, Spratt & Dangerfield (Edward Arnold).

Also, many books and articles discussing Task Based Learning (aka. TBL / TBLT) contrast it with PPP, so might be useful.

Haniehak's picture

Hello everyone

There is a confusion in an approach of a lesson was wondering if you could kindly help out. This is the procedure of the lesson:
Sts read a text about history and answer some questions (gist and detailed) regarding the content. The answers of the questions are content-related and the last question is for the content as well as highlighting the language which is conditional type 3, I don't go into the details about feedback etc... then students will look at three circles on the floor designed to impart the concept of real, unreal (improbable) and unreal (impossible), 3 circles into each other which is like our life and the things that have happened in our lives... (that can be our dreams, what have happened in our past and we can't change it and our real life)... students understand the concept of real and unreal, improbable and impossible in those circles and then will be given the taken out sentences from the text (all three if clauses) and will be asked to decide what group they belong to (which I think can be the teach part-TTT/guided discovery- or presentation part-PPP-???), then teacher checks each sentences, CCQs and if they have made any mistakes, the teacher asks them to put the sentence into a different circle by asking CCQs to make sure they understand. And finally they will do a controlled practice, later less controlled and finally authentic freer...
Is it a guided discovery, TTT or PPP?