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Explaining grammar is something most teachers are expected to do and probably grammar fills up the majority of questions directed at teachers by ELLs. 

How do you do it?  Any tips for others, especially new teachers who might not be perfectly equipped with all the right answers for the plethora of grammar points? 

For example - if a student asked you, "What's the difference between "lend" and "borrow"?  -- what would you say/do, as a teacher? (and this is one of dozens of quite common questions. 

-- some other grammar resources here are: 

2.  #1 person answering grammar questions
3.  Grammar related videos, blogsresources and discussions
4.  Phras.in  is a cool way to compare grammar/chunks of language based on the internet corpus
5.  Grammar Ninja is a nice game to play!

This video too - offers a lot of Grammar Food for Thought. 


Tags: grammar, instruction, professional_development, questions, tesol

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I use more Substitution drilling. Use lots of repetition so students will remember the words and patterns and it gets into their subconscious Side By Side is good for this. Andrew Finch PHD uses the idea of Baduk a kind of Korean checkers. When young kids learn this game for the first time they will take ten moves and memorize them. Then after those moves are in the students subconscious they can utilize them without being fully aware of it.
Good point about the subconscious.

Still, there are times when grammar must be taught explicitly or a teacher has to answer a student. What then?

Substitution works but it really doesn't teach explicitly any rule. Just a pattern - but I do agree the students get to arrive at their own conclusions about how to use and that usually is the most effective way to learn.
Well, for students in Taiwan, the grammar might be the biggest problem for them to learn English.

Since there aren't not so much changes in Chinese grammar, for example when one wants to express things

thathappend yestersay, chinese only simply put "yesterday" in the end of the sentence without changing the

form of grammar. As a result, when taiwanese student learn english grammar, they somehow dont know how to

memorize the rule. From my observation, they only use their brain to memorize it so when they encounter

different sentence patterns, they have no idea how to change the grammar form.
To explain pronouns and gender make two circles one with male pronouns Him his himself. The other circle is female her she.
Where the two circles intercept make non-gender pronouns we our us.

To explain grammar points - forget the terminology and rules, first focus on the situation where those concepts happen.

Begin with what students know and add new information

Use concrete instead of abstract examples

Use examples from the students immediate surroundings - school, home, community

To address the question of 'lend' and 'borrow'  - observe what students lend or borrow often - like pens and pencils.

The borrower 'doesn't have' and 'wants' something.  

The lender 'has' and 'gives' something.

Right away those four items make a story to tell the students. You can then ask 'concept check questions to confirm understanding.

After that, any amount of games with realia are possible - those that 'have' are lenders, those that 'don't have' are borrowers'

 

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