Jim Scrivener on Traditional PPP in the EFL Classroom

by Jürgen Kurtz, Karlsruhe University of Education, Germany

In a talk delivered at the 44th IATEFL Conference in Harrogate earlier this year, Jim Scivener argued that the term ‘situational presentation’ (used by him to refer to the first of three steps in traditional lesson design, known as PPP – presentation, practice and production) seems to have lost  much of its meaning and/or relevance in the age of task-based or task-supported, technology enhanced and self-directed instruction: “I’m puzzled that this term, situational presentation, and in fact that the concept behind it, seems to be relatively unknown now.  There is a whole generation of teachers that don’t know what this is and don’t know how to do it. Or may be they know it or they know it by a different name or they know it with some other differences …”.

I very much like how he goes on illustrating what situational presentation (or dialogical contextualization) is about. Watch this:

However, based on my personal experience as an EFL teacher educator over here in Gernany, I  cannot confirm that situational presentation is something my students/student-teachers in the weekly teaching practice sessions don’t know (or think of as a discredited technique). It is rather a firmly established part of their developing teaching repertoire and, furthermore, a concept that is deeply rooted in their personal set of presumptions and beliefs of how English should be taught in schools.  As such, it is a valuable starting point for discussion.



3 responses to “Jim Scrivener on Traditional PPP in the EFL Classroom

  1. I think the problem I have most with this technique is the lack of contextualization, and the tendency to fall into a teaching rut. I don’t discredit it completely, but do think that the inclusion of technology, for example, affords teachers and English language learners more opportunities to learn the target language in more authentic situations (at all levels). The more authentic the situation, the more motivated the learner. It’s all about mixing it up.

  2. Dear Benjamin,
    thank you very much for your comment. I remember to have read, somewhere, I don’t know where it was, sorry, that authenticity is the driving force of learning. You say that “the more authentic the situation, the more motivated the learner.” (and that it is all about “mixing it up”).

    I agree with ‘mixing it up’ (methodologically), and that authenticity is important in terms of motivation, but authenticity (not in terms of context, but in terms of target language input) can as well overburden learners. How do you go about balancing this out? PPP?

  3. I would balance it out by implementing either the SIOP Model (http://www.misd.net/bilingual/ELL.pdf) or CLIL (http://www.slideshare.net/angelammoyano/clil-content-and-language-integrated-learning). Sheltering instruction through formative assessment can lead to performance tasks (G.R.A.S.P.S. framework-http://www.ct4me.net/curriculum.htm) that intertwine understandings and language as both means and ends.

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