This essay takes the example of the PPP model (Presentation - Practice - Production) as it has been used for decades in international didactics of English, to criticize a certain conception of "models", and, beyond that, a certain conception of the epistemology of the discipline "didactics of languages and cultures". The essay begins with a long first part in which I present the opposition between "theories" and "models", as well as the different forms, functions and types of models in didactics that must be taken into account in order to apprehend and manage the complexity of the discipline. In the second part, I present the different reductions of this complexity that many specialists of international English didactics make in their use of the PPP model. They conceive of the model as a product based on a theory of acquisition -hence the recurrent debate among them between the proponents of this PPP and those of the TBL (Task Based Learning) model- and not, as the complexity of the discipline would require, as a process of “praxeologization” in the course of which this model is tested, explored and manipulated by means of variations both internally (modifications, additions) and externally (in combination or articulation with other models). When we look at the results of the analyses, the medical diagnosis is easy to make: many specialists in international English didactics are affected by a particularly virulent form of applicationism. And the prescription for their treatment seems just as easy to write: "In-depth reflection sessions on the epistemology of the discipline 'didactics of languages and cultures' until the PPP (or PBL) symptom disappears, and the complexity paradigm appears...
Also available at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/370023687 (April 2023).
French version available: 2023b.