Presentation represents the introduction to a lesson, and necessarily requires the creation of a realistic (or realisticish) ’situation’ requiring the target language to be learned. This can be achieved through using realia such as pictures, dialogs, imagination or actual ‘classroom situations’. The teacher checks to see that the students understand the nature of the situation, then builds the “concept” underlying the language to be learned using small chunks of language that the students already know. Having understood the concept, students are then given the language ‘model’ and engage in choral drills to learn statement, answer and question forms for the target language. This is the most teacher-orientated stage of the process, where error correction is important.
Practice usually begins with what is termed ‘mechanical practice’ – open and closed pairwork. Students gradually move into more ‘communicative practice’ involving procedures such as information gap activities, dialogue creation and controlled roleplays. Practice is seen as the frequency device to create familiarity and confidence with the new language, and a measuring stick for accuracy. The teacher still directs and corrects at this stage, but the classroom is beginning to become more learner-centered.
Production is seen as the culmination of the language learning process, whereby the learners have started to become independent users of the language rather than students of the language. The teacher’s role here is to somehow facilitate a realistic situation or activity where the students instinctively feel the need to actively apply the language they have been practicing. The teacher does not correct or become involved unless students directly appeal to him/her to do so.