Once you have been through the Presentation Stage with your class with the introduction of the new language then comes the controlled practice during which students are repeating the new form of language over and over again. It is an intensive phase where different activities can be used: matching up exercises, unscrambling sentences, ranking, checking mistakes etc.

Controlled pratice is an important part of the lesson as students understand what they can do well and what needs to be reinforced. That is also a great tool for the teacher to allow efficient monitoring in the acquisition of language.

For that stage it’s important to have your students work collaboratively rather than individually as it will boost their confidence and they will use the language in a real communicative context. Another reason for collaboration in controlled pratice is that students will help each other a bit more. This stage often needs to be broken into small activities to avoid boredom especially when we have students with a short attention span. You can use some games, quizzes, multiple choice answers, slapping the board games, guessing games etc. The more you vary the format of your activities the better.  Don’t use endless gap fills. Try instead to have small different types of activities or very short gap fills. Key to efficient controlled practice also relies on the efficiency of feedback and correction. Answers have to be provided for students to check their work and they shouldn’t last very long. Don’t underestimate the importance of internet and websites as some websites can provide great interactive quizzes and games with immediate feedback and these websites can be used directly in lessons.

Controlled-Practice

The controlled practice also called guided practice will then lead to the free practice where students can decide to use the language differently so that they can say what they want to say. In activities that are controlled, as a teacher you should know the answers,as there will be just one possible answer. For example if you use quizzes or flashcards to drill the language there will be just one solution. Before getting directly to the free practice teachers often use semi-controlled activities to maintain interest. In that case there is more than one solution but the options should be limited. The advantage of semi-controlled practice is that it gives students the opportunity to somewhat personalize the language to their needs

Free practice also called production comes at the end of the lessons in the PPP lessons. Here the students should be completely free to use the language the way they want. They have the chance to completely personalize the language, they can experiment; they can try to include more complex structures by reusing previously learnt language.

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