The teaching cycle is adaptable to all kinds of learning of skills, not just language teaching. It consists, at base of splitting the task up into sections and then, for each section, applying a system which can be summarised as follows.

  • presentation
  • practice
  • feedback (to show the learner has mastered the step).

As applied to language teaching this leads to the following steps in, for example the teaching of a tense:

  • Lead in, (This gets the student on the right wave-length, revising the elements you will use in your introduction.
  • Introduction (The first use of the new structure, the aim being for it to be understood.
  • Practice. (Applying the structure with it's basic variants in affirmative and negative contexts.)
  • Student answers questions, (Gets used to repling to typical intererogatives, "yes/no" type short answers, "or" questions, "key" questions (what, where, when, which...)
  • Student makes a summary (usually involving affirmative and negative sentences),
  • Student question practice. (Here the student asks all the different kinds of questions he has heard.

In a group, practice and student questions will be done together as the teacher should be getting students to question each other which maximises student participation.

This routine ensures that all the different aspects are covered in a way which the student will find varied and interesting. Most useful teaching activities will be seen to fit into a similar sequence. The above example is typical of the introduction of a new tense but the handling of Role Plays, Presentations, video, text-based lessons all follow the basic pattern.


BK04 Mark Yates 2000
reviewed May 2020