The Test Teach Test Approach | Teaching English

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Test Teach Test Approach
The Test Teach Test Approach

In the interest of professional development, I wanted to try out something new. I was at a Kotesol presentation and the person was talking about the test-teach-test approach. I tried it out in my classes and here’s how it went.

It’s certainly an excellent way to help students activate prior knowledge.

TTT-Not my Usual Style

The test-teach-test (TTT) approach is not my usual style of teaching, and most days, I lean more towards PPP (presentation/practice/production) or task based teaching. However, for simple grammar concepts or vocabulary that students have studied before, the test teach test approach could work very well.

Don’t the Students Already Know this Stuff?

Recently, I decided to give it a try with “Be” in the past and other regular/irregular past tense verbs, since my university students in Korea should already have a decent grasp of the basics since they’ve been studying English for around 10 years. The unit in my book that I was covering was 4 Corners 2, Unit 9.

The “Test”

Here is the “test” that I prepared, with some vocab/names of people thrown in from the previous unit: The Past Tense Test. In addition, I pointed out the pages in the book that they could refer to if necessary.

The “Teach”

I gave the students about 10 minutes to work on it and then we checked answers together. I went quickly over the easy ones,but spent more time pointing out the finer details of the trickier stuff (example: negatives/questions actually use the present tense verb).

The “Test,” take 2

Then, for the final “test” phase, I made a Past Tense Board Game, which the students played in small groups (again recycling vocab from Unit 8 in the book). I walked around the class checking for accuracy and provided some feedback if necessary. I listed for any common errors and pointed them out at the end of the activity.

Results of the Test Teach Test Approach

Overall: it went well! ALL the students, even the ones who don’t actively participate in class seemed to enjoy the board game. Most students put in a good effort on the test and were referring to the relevant pages in their books, etc. Success! I’ll definitely be doing it again for easy things that the students probably already know, but just need a bit of review on.

Check out Jeremy Harmer’s The Practice of English Language Teaching if you want to bone up on the various types of teaching methodologies and approaches.

Learn More about the Test Teach Test Approach to Teaching English

Have your Say about the Test Teach Test Approach

Have you ever tried it in your classes? How did it go? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.

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