Tuesday 1 June 2010

Teaching Grammar to ESL and EFL Students

Updated 17 February 2012

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There are many ways to teach your students grammar. All these tips came from a workshop by Julio Valladares at the University of Piura, Peru.
  • Make sure that when explaining grammar students are aware of the form (such as "to be", past participle, etc), function (reason for using it) and have examples to look at.
  • Try using songs with the grammar point you want to cover.
  • Check out books by Raymond Murphy or Michael Swan.
  • There are lots of lesson plans and worksheets in the lesson planning link
  • Use timelines. They visually shows students when things are happening.
  • Have students read a text and find the grammar point that you want to work on.
  • Drawings can be fun. If you can't draw try bringing pictures to class.
  • Use relia. These are real items, such as a backpack, can of soup, stuffed, animal, etc. If you can connect it to grammar, try it.
  • Play games. There are ways to make learning fun.
  • Cut a sentence up and have the students order it. This is good for practising word order.
  • Personalise everything and make it real to the students. It has to relate to their lives.
  • Come right out and explain the form and function of the grammar point.
  • Give students examples, then tell them to practice, and finally gives them a grammar explanation.
  • Have student look at a reading and say whether the sentences are grammatically correct or incorrect.
  • Charts can be used for just about anything, such as form, function, singular, or plural.
  • Say or write sentences and have students create rules based on the example sentences.
  • Compare students' L1 and English.
  • Compile a list of common mistakes and go over them in class.
  • Use a variety of exercises. Fill in the blank/gap, open cloze, fix the mistake, multiple choice, word bank, matching, etc.
General Test Taking Tips
  • Read the instructions first. It only takes a minute or two and can save you a lot of time if you look at the instructions.
  • Forget cramming. You should study a little every day rather than trying to learn everything the night before.
  • Eat breakfast. It's the most important meal of the day and is necessary to help you think.
  • Bring your materials. Have your pencils, erasers, watch, and ID ready the night before.
  • Go early. Make sure you leave your house ahead of time so that you get to the class a few minutes before the test begins.
  • Pace yourself. If you've finished early, go back and check your answers.
  • Check your answers. Make sure you haven't made any simple mistakes. And if you have, change them.
  • Don't panic. It's just a test. The worst you can do is fail.
  • Don't leave any blanks.

Specific Test Taking Tips for Grammar
  • Make sure the verb agrees with the subject of the sentence.
  • Watch the tense. If the sentence is in past, the verb should be in past too.
  • Don't make simple mistakes. Remember the 3rd person singular "s"!
  • Know parts of speech.
  • Take notes. When you get the test, write the forms and function at the top so you have something to refer back to.


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