Teaching is Decision-Making

Teaching is Decision-Making

Teaching is a series of decisions we make to help students learn. Some decisions are made by the syllabus or school, but the majority are made by us, the teachers.

We make a huge number of decisions every day, with some researchers reporting that teachers make 0.7 decisions per minute during interactive teaching (Borko et al, 1990). N

o wonder we’re tired at the end of the day!

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What is 'Presentation, Practice, Production' (PPP)?

What is 'Presentation, Practice, Production' (PPP)?

Presentation - Practice - Production (PPP) is a lesson structure, a way to order activities in your lessons.

Whilst pretty old, and heavily criticised over the years, PPP is the probably the most commonly used lesson structure in TEFL today. It’s also still taught on initial teacher training courses like the CELTA and CertTESOL.

Most course books that you’re likely to use will structure their chapters in ways similar or the same as PPP, meaning that you’ll get a lot of exposure to this method.

As the name suggests, there are three stages to this lesson structure, which we’ll look at now.

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Teaching is an Act of Persuasion

Teaching is an Act of Persuasion

In ‘Why Students Don’t Like School’, cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham says that just as an author has to persuade the reader not to wander off and do something more interesting, so a teacher has to persuade students to continue the learning journey.

When I read this, I was reminded of a few of my lessons where it took all my powers of persuasion to get my students to stay with me, as we heroically battled through a particularly boring coursebook chapter.

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Lesson Plan Aims

Lesson Plan Aims

Without lesson aims you might as well give up and go home, because you suck.

Yet for an embarrassingly long time, I didn’t write any aims for my lesson plans. Sure, I learned all about them on my TEFL course. Yeah, they made sense. But I was busy, and had been told to follow the course book (“two pages of the class book every lesson in class, and one page from the student’s book for homework!”). Surely my aims had just been set for me, for every class?

Oops.

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Lesson Methodology

Lesson Methodology

There is no one ‘best’ lesson methodology for teaching English.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any methodology at all. If you leap out from behind the photocopier, grab a teacher and demand they explain their activity selection and sequencing, they usually can’t (but they do sometimes question your sanity for hiding behind photocopiers).

They claim to use an ‘eclectic’ or a ‘post-methods approach’. What rubbish (mostly).

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Using Supplementary Materials Effectively

Using Supplementary Materials Effectively

Most of us suck at using supplementary materials effectively. From the teacher that staggers into class with a mountain of handouts, to the teacher that wanders in with nothing at all, I’ve seen (and done!) it all.

What I mostly see now is teachers using materials reactively, rather than proactively. What do I mean?

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