Background to language learning
Presentation techniques and introductory activities
PRESENTATION TECHNIQUES AND INTRODUCTORY ACTIVITIES
Introductory activities are the very first actions that a teacher does when s/he stands in front of a group of language learners. The teacher can do warm-up activities to start a lesson, e.g.s/he can ask several questions or comment something about the group or some individuals in the group. One characteristic of the warm-up activities is that this kind of teaching action is not necessarily related to the new items the teacher will teach. Warm-up activities are usually focused on increasing learners´ energy or making them feel good before a new lesson. They can include games, a quiz,a series of questions related to the learners´ own lives (personalisation)1, or any other activity that can function as an icebreaker, i.e. something done or said to relax a classroom situation. Another type of introductory activities is called lead-in2 activities. Lead-in activities, like warm-up activities, can also be used as icebreakers (i.e. to increase learners´ energy or relax theclassroom situation), but they are usually related to the new items the teacher will teach that particular day. For example, if the topic of a new lesson is related to food, the teacher may start the lesson by asking what kind of food the students prefer, if they like spicy or sweet food, or how often they go to restaurants. Beyond the introductory activities, there are two main approaches to teaching anew lesson: a) Presentation, Practice and Production (PPP) lesson b) Task-based Learning (TBL) lesson Presentation, Practice and Production (PPP) lesson The aims of PPP lessons are usually established in grammatical terms. For example, an aim for one lesson could be: The students will learn the auxiliary verbs do and does in sentences which express likes and dislikes about sports in present tense.Personalisation –when a teacher helps a learner to connect new words, topics, texts or grammar to their own life.
Lead-in (noun, verb) –the activity or activities used to prepare learners to work on a text,, topic or main task. A lead-in often includes an introduction to the topic of the text or main task and possibly study of some new key language required for the text or main task.94
This means that after the introductory activities (warm-up/lead-in) the new items to be taught are introduced through specific grammatical explanation of use and/or examples. In the PPP approach, this first stage of a lesson is called presentation. For example, if the lesson is based on the aim above, the teacher may explain that there are two important auxiliary verbs in English: doand does which are used in present tense. The auxiliary does is used for third persons: it, she and he, and the auxiliary do for the rest of the persons: I, you, we and they. The auxiliaries do and does are not used in affirmative sentences, but solely in questions and negative sentences. The teacher can use a chart or the board to illustrate the grammatical explanation. S/he can also bring somemagazine pictures of different sports, stick them on the board, and say some examples of the grammatical patterns, having the students repeat them chorally. The second stage of the PPP approach is called practice. During this stage, the new item(s) of the lesson are practiced either individually or in groups. The purpose of the practice stage is to attain gradual command on these new items. Thisstage is usually done through controlled (restricted) practice3 activities, i.e. in activities where learners are not free to express what they want but what they need to practise on the new grammatical patterns and vocabulary. There are many types of controlled activities. Some examples are: Name of controlled Teachers´ model Learners´ practice activity Inflection `I bought the gift´ `I bought the...