Somewhere between controlled practice and freer practice is where the magic (=acquisition) actually happens.
Yet so often we either never get to it in our lesson, get to it too late (i.e. the proportions of the lesson are wrong), or what we planned as ‘freer practice’ doesn’t do the job (of naturally eliciting the target language or skill).
In a recent talk (titled ‘Taskifying Your Coursebook’ on YouTube, check it out!), Neil McCutcheon and Neil Anderson talk about how PPP may as well stand for
‘Present, Practice, …Practice, Practice, Practice, PRACTICE…
…until you’re TIRED…
…until you drop DEAD of gap fills’. 😀 😀
Which, according to Neil McCutcheon is a bit like learning to play a musical instrument, for example the guitar, where I…
‘…show you lots of videos of famous guitar players…’,
‘…and I teach you to read music…’,
‘…and I show you scales…’,
‘…but I NEVER ACTUALLY HAND YOU THE GUITAR’. (Or only at the very end of the lesson, for 5 minutes).
Now how frustrating is THAT??
At what point do YOU hand over ‘the guitar’ to your learners in your lessons? Have you ever taken part in a lesson (of anything, not just language) where you never got to ‘touch the guitar’, or too little, too late, and as a result felt frustrated or the learning never ‘clicked’?
Hi. I’m Fatime. I’m an IELTS Teacher Trainer, helping CELTA-qualified English language teachers become better at teaching SKILLS, as opposed to just testing them.
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