Pyramid Approach in Foreign
Dr. Ibrahim Koncak
International Ataturk Alatoo
• How can an ideal teaching be achieved or can
it be achieved?
Three Factors to Success in teaching &
• Educational Environment (School, Classrooms,
We all want the ideal!
• Teachers want ideal students, ideal
• Students want ideal teachers and ideal
• Administrators want ideal teachers, students,
and ideal environment.
But it always lacks in some form or other.
What is Pyramid Approach (PA)?
• It is an attempt to find an ideal teaching
• A hypothetical pyramid like diagram on which
students are placed hypothetically based on
their learning habits, language levels and
• It aims to develop heterogeneous class with
gradual progress to homogenous one in terms
of motivation, knowledge and learning habits.
How does it work?
• Target Language is the main goal, all others are
instruments to reach that goal, that is using the
language and using it in class.
• It uses Socratic Method, question-answer
• Questions goes to those who are likely able to
answer them. The easiest question goes to the
weakest; the most difficult one goes to the ablest.
( Do not ask questions if you anticipate there will
be no answer!)
How does it work?
• PA aims to develop a classroom environment
with students more or less the same interest,
motivation, knowledge and ability.
• It requires whole approach and work with all
• The goal of the teacher is to develop above
mentioned skills from the bottom of the
pyramid to the top.
Example Listening Activity
• Situation: On the recording a lady and gentleman customers are talking at
the hotel Lobby.
• Question 1: Who were talking? ( Ask this question the weakest student in
class. If he cannot answer prompt; man or woman? )
• Question 2: Where are they talking? ( Ask this to next weakest student. If
no answer provide options At hotel or Cinema )
• Question 3: What are they talking about?
• Question 4: What did she ask from him?
• Question 12: Why did she implied that she knows his wife? ( This implied
question is asked to the student at the top of the pyramid )
• Question 13: What are their occupations? ( This question is asked to the
student at the bottom of the pyramid to complete the cycle and check the
if the activity was followed by all in class )
• Identify students’ learning skills, previous
achievements, educational background, their
level in target language
• Place them on pyramid
• Prepare activities and class plans accordingly
• Line up questions according to the levels of
• If necessary conduct individual sessions
Difficulties to apply
• It takes time to identify students’ abilities,
especially if you are teaching first time to
• Time taking and requires focus on detail.
• It may be hard for beginners (fresh teachers)
• It is a new teaching approach and should be
developed with experimental work.
• For more information;
Koncak I (2016), Pyramid Approach in English
Teaching. Alatoo-Academic Studies, No:4,