Jun 28, 2010 Grammar 2963 Views
Many lesson types may be integrated including more than one segment and held together by a unifying topic. These may include skills (reading, writing listening, speaking) and systems (grammar, vocabulary, phonology). School syllabuses and course books typically reflect this notion. In the past, research suggested that a large proportion of the grammar taught in a grammar lesson was not in fact learnt. It was further suggested that students' grammar seemed to improve during a skills lesson. Many teachers decided to abandon the grammar lesson in favour of an integrated skills approach. However, more recently there has been an acknowledgement that focusing on language systems (grammar, vocabulary, phonology) will indeed benefit the learner even if the learning of certain discrete items may not occur.
Here is a Checklist for analyzing a piece of language for teaching purposes.
• Firstly, does the structure have a name? (e.g. present simple, comparatives. embedded questions, etc.)
MEANING / CONCEPT: What brief (but accurate) answer could you give to a
student who says, 'When can I say'...........'?' Again, it is a good idea to attempt to predict any problems with meaning that the learner may be faced with. This may be much easier in a monolingual class where you compare it with the mother tongue. In some cases you may be able to present meaning with the use of pictures.
FORM: How is it formed (put together)? Keep this as simple and as clear as possible.
Use boxes tables and simple grammatical terms suitable for your students' level. If you foresee any problems for the learners at this stage, then it is a good idea to list them and to try and find solutions at the planning stage.
PRONUNCIATION: If you say a sentence using this form at a neutral speed, are there any words that students may have difficulty hearing? Are they perhaps squashed up (weakened), linked with other words, are sounds lost? Are there any sounds or clusters of sounds your students might have problems with? Which words are stressed?
Are there any special features of intonation that will need teaching?
FUNCTION: One particular form may have different functions in different contexts.
(e.g. 'That's John's car.' could function as a request - to go and open the door to a visitor - or a warning - to avoid crashing into it- or the language doesn't change, but the context and therefore the function does.
APPROPRIACY: Would you say the register of the sentence is formal / informal / neutral? Is it language normally found in the written or spoken mode?
After you have gone through the above process of analyzing a piece of language you then need to think of the most effective way of presenting the language, bearing in mind that if you have anticipated particular problems (of form, meaning, pronunciation, appropriacy) then you will need to plan in ways of helping your students with these aspects.
Teaching Tenses: Time Lines
Time lines are a useful way to graphically represent the different verb tenses to your students. We go about showing the flow of time on a line with time flowing from the left (Past), through the present and into the future. It is on this line that we depict actions that took place and which will take place either side of the present (Now). Time markers (word or phrase) distinguish the future from the past and make the time reference very clear. It should however be kept in mind that time lines may appear confusing to certain students. A useful activity may be to encourage students to create their own time lines when dealing with new tenses.
Problems teaching Grammar
Many new teachers are daunted by the prospect of having to teach grammar to a class as they feel that their knowledge in this area is extremely limited. Many students who have studied some English are often aware of the various tenses and related terminology.
If a student asks you about a grammar point that you are unsure of, tell them that you will get further clarification and shed some light on the language item during your next meeting. This will give you an opportunity to do some relevant research - but make sure that you do get back to your student! It may be comforting to know that you do not have to know all the English Grammar in order to teach it.
You will learn as you attempt to teach it so always ensure that you plan your lessons adequately. The teacher's books which often accompany course books are often extremely useful in assisting the teacher explain and understand certain grammar points.