(This is my paragraph blog post – my concise thoughts represented in a single paragraph – as inspired by @annaloseva, @springcait, and many others on Twitter.)
I teach a grammar course to a very, very low level group of 8 students. Most can’t read simple words, write the alphabet well, or string together a complete sentence. I had actually never taught a level this low before – my elementary and middle school students in Korea were at a higher level. So, naturally, I was both apprehensive and excited. I went into this class with the idea that I would be as flexible as possible and go with the students’ needs. It turns out, they needed some good ol’ PPP. There are as many ways to teach as there are ways to learn, and PPP takes quite a bashing despite the fact that it is logical and represents how we learn many other non-language skills such as driving, playing soccer, etc. My class is mostly PPP based, with some CLT and dogme thrown in for good measure. The PPP emphasis evolved naturally based on the students’ needs, the speed at which they learned, and what I found to be effective in class. This PPP model is by no means dry, dull, mechanical, ineffectual or any other negative adjective that has been thrown at this “classic”. On the contrary, my students find our activities interesting, motivating, and exciting. I bring in real-world vocabulary, realia, and a lot of enthusiasm – and its paying off. Sure, it has taken us about a month (~20 hours) to master the BE verb in sentences like “A cat is an animal”, “I am hungry”, or “The book is on the table”, but rushing through this stuff and moving on to more difficult ways to have them express themselves would leave them stumbling on rickety scaffolding.