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TKT Module 1: Background to language teaching
Presentation techniques and introductory activities


Introducing the topic and aims and presenting the targets are critical phases of any lesson but they aren't the same.  Of course.


Key concepts in this guide

By the end of this guide, you should be able to understand and use these key concepts:

  • lesson structures: PPP and TTT
  • framing and transitions
  • introductory activities and focus
  • presentation and target setting
    • teacher-led
    • materials-led
    • learner-led

Look out for these words like this in the text.
There will be tests at the end of the guide for you to check that you understand the ideas.


Lesson structures

Before we can focus easily on presentation techniques, we need look briefly at the structures of lessons to see where they can come.
There are many possible ways to structure a lesson in English language systems or skills.  Here we look at two.
As our examples, we are going to take a reading skills lesson concerned with skimming and scanning skills and a grammar (systems) lesson focused on using the present perfect tense to talk about experiences which have changed your life.
We are assuming that the learners know little or nothing about either.

nut and bolt

The nuts and bolts of lessons

There are 5 essential elements of most lessons.  We are only concerned with two of them here but this will help you set things in context.  The next two guides in Module 1 of this TKT course will focus on the other stages.
This is not a list with number 1 at the beginning and number 5 at the end because where the stages come will depend on the structure of the lesson and its targets.
For example, if the lesson targets are completely new to the learners, we may make presentation an early stage.  If, however, the lesson is revision, then checking and assessment of what has been learned may come first and practice may come before more presentation.

elements of a lesson

Whatever the stage of the lesson, the target stays central (or it should).


Two possible structures

These are just two of the many possible ways of structuring lessons.

There are others.

Approach 1: presentation, practice, production (PPP

Approach 2: test, teach, test (TTT)

This is probably the most popular form of lesson structure and it is the one on which most course-book writers seem to base their material.
Can you fill in (on paper or in your head) where the 5 must-have stages come?
Click on the image to check.
In this approach, you first find out what the learners can and can't do by setting them a task.  Then, having identified the issues, you teach the target language or skill and then test again with a different task.
Again, what goes in the blank boxes?  Click on the graphic to check.
ppp2 ttttask answer


Framing and transitions

In both the examples above, the introduction, rather obviously, comes at the beginning of the lesson.  That's what the verb introduce means.
However, most lessons have more than one topic, especially if they are long lessons, so teachers need to frame stages of the lesson to signal that one part has finished and then re-focus the class by using a new introduction routine.
The name for this is often transition from phase to phase.

Here are some examples of framing statements which allow the transitions from stage to stage to happen and keep learners on track as well as giving them a sense of structure and progression.
Ending a lesson phase Summing up and evaluating Re-focusing and moving on
Loud hand clap / Bell ring / Other noise That was excellent.
You pronunciation needs work but you have the form right.
Now we need to move on to ... 
Right!  Stop now. How do you think you did?
Let's try something a little different now.
OK, everyone.  Put your pens down and listen, please. What have you learned from that?
Tell me two things you learned, Josephine.
Now we need to look at some more examples.
Great.  That's enough now. You all had some really good ideas.
I particularly like Mary's way of looking at the problem.  Tell us Mary.
OK.  Now we have the main ideas in the text clear, let's look at some of the language.


Introduction techniques

think Task 1: The beginning of a lesson is not usually a transition, of course, but it is the opportunity to focus the learners.
Here are some examples.  When you have decided which ones would interest you, click here.
  1. Today we are going to look again at the present perfect progressive.
  2. Please read this article.
  3. I'm so glad I became a teacher because I have had the chance to work with so many lovely people.  Are you happy with your career?  Think of one reason you are glad you chose it and tell the person next to you.
  4. Here's a short e-mail from my mother that I got last week.  Please read it alone and then, when you are ready, talk to your partner and decide what her problem is.  How do you think I replied?
  5. In today's lesson, we are going to talk about an ideal city.
  6. Look at these pictures on the projector, please.  Talk to your partner and decide where they were taken.
  7. Do you like background music in bars and restaurants?  Tell me what you think.

A lesson can fail from the outset if the introduction is poor.


Presentation techniques

The presentation will include an analysis of the language or skill and is also the time to set targets so the learners know where they are going and what their goals are.  In an ideal world, the presentation will follow very naturally from the introduction activity.
This is a key stage where you explain and exemplify the language or skills point.

Presentation can happen in three main ways:

Teacher-led presentations are common, especially with language systems lessons and especially if the target is new to the learners.
For our example of teaching the present perfect, you might start with a personal anecdote about how 3 things that you have done have changed your life (learned a language, had a baby, become a teacher etc.).  A few concept checking questions would follow that.
Then you'd present the form and its pronunciation and concept check the meaning again to make sure everyone has it right.
For the example of the skills focus, you could use examples of two real texts, one that you would skim to find what you want (a newspaper is an example) and one you would scan for data (a timetable, for instance).
Then you'd explain / elicit how you go about doing these two things.
Once people have a reason to read, watch or listen, we can let the materials do the presenting providing we are sure that the learners will be able to notice the language.
For example, a short video about two people discussing life experiences could be used to introduce the present perfect for this function if, once global understanding is achieved, the learners have a transcript of the conversation in which they can notice the language forms.
In a Test–Teach–Test lesson format, it is often the language and communication issues which arise from the first testing procedure which form the presentation of the lesson targets.  Learners can identify for themselves where they are having trouble and what language / skills resources they need to do a better job.

self test

Self-test questions

Before you go on, make sure you can answer these questions.  If you can't, go back to the sections which give you trouble.

If you are happy with your progress, go on.


Tests and practice for TKT

Test 1 A short matching task
Test 2 A gap-fill test

Return to the Module 1 index: back
or go on to the next guide which is to practice activities and tasks for language and language skills development.