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Teaching Methodologies

There are many ways of teaching approaches used by EFL teachers to their students; each approach claiming the most communicative one. Each and every approach will have its own method which is suitable for a specific classroom; a group of adult students will never be exposed to ABCs again, and vice versa. As for the teachers, they will most probably be exposed to 2 basic approaches of teaching, which are the PPP (Presentation-Practice-Production) and TBL (Task Based Learning). This post will elaborate more on those 2 methods.
A beginner in teaching will most probably be exposed to PPP approach. This is the most basic approach that a teacher must master before learning any other alternatives. This approach may be applied to all levels except for children classes of age 3 to 5. In the PPP approach, a teacher will set a specific scene in which the students will understand the background and the need for a language. After the teacher generates the language by elicitation and giving model sentences, the class may proceed to the practice and production stages. In practice, the formula of the conversation is basically controlled as students have just been exposed to the language and need some time to understand and use them in many situations other than just the scene set by the teacher. While in production, the students are freer to practice the language they have just acquired and to use whatever language they have covered in the past. This is most suitable for students with no previous background, knowledge and experience to the language.
A TBL approach, however, will always assume that students have been exposed to the language before whether inside or outside the classroom. The teacher will probably start from the “air”, or namely start a discussion concerning a topic without paying much attention to the grammar that the students are using. As the name probably suggests, the emphasis of the classroom is always to do some tasks freely and report back to the teacher. After that the teacher will slowly guide the students to the grammar they are learning sub-consciously. Again, the students may have learned the language previously so the language focus stage is fairly swift and snappy.
Due to the different nature of the approaches, it is quite unfair to compare them together. One said that PPP method is dry because the approach with the setting is like drilling the students in a boring way. However other students will find them useful, too, because they now understand the situation and the needs when they attend the class. As for the TBL, beginner students will find it difficult to follow because they have not still been accustomed to using English naturally in everyday conversations. However advanced students will find it interesting and challenging.
At the end it all depends on the condition of each classroom; whether they are ready or not to receive a new method of learning. Based on my personal experience, the PPP approach will be useful for basic level students and TBL will attract more adult students with richer knowledge and experience than a beginner.
Finally, they are merely our tools to teach English because a smart and enthusiastic student will find the best way to learn out of the worst situation. However by following an orderly lesson, a student will gain the benefit faster because all aspects of language will be covered in a good class. Therefore it is smart to assess the needs of each class in advanced before moving along to which method that will work the best for them.

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