Published 22nd September 2015
Teaching grammar can be one of the more tedious elements of being an English teacher. But there are ways around it; it doesn’t have to be a laborious and frustrating experience. Here are some ways to liven up that grammar lesson and make it more interesting for everyone. Students and teachers alike!
The first thing you need to do is understand the grammar topic properly yourself before you start to teach it. This may sounds obvious but it’s harder than you think. Don’t just look over the rules for gerunds or the past perfect continuous; study your examples and exercises for exceptions to make sure that you won’t be caught off guard by an inquisitive student. Knowing the grammar well also gives you the confidence you need, enabling you to deliver the lessons eloquently and effectively.
Keep it short, clear and simple
Even if you are teachers more advanced students, keep your explanation and examples short and comprehensible. Using basic vocabulary and basic verbs which the students are already familiar with will ensure they’re not unnecessarily confused. ‘I was theorizing about Plato when a convoluted thought came to me,’ A sentence like this is redundant when teaching grammar, when a sentence such as ‘I was watching TV when the phone rang’ would suffice perfectly.
Limit the explanation time
This is actually a critical point for English teaching as a whole, but it is especially true in reference to teaching grammar. Though it may be tempting to offer lengthily explanations, it’s actually more effective to give the students more time to practice and develop the construct in their own mind whilst speaking or writing. This isn’t to say you should rush, but after a clear explanation has been made, don’t worry about the confused faces, initiate an activity and let them get the hands on practice you need to learn a language.
Practice again and again
This may seem like an obvious point, but it’s crucial that your expectations as a teacher are not set too high. The first time you introduce a new grammar point, the students may not grasp it, and this is fine. Most grammar points are reintroduced at later levels and the first time they do it is more of an introduction session rather than an opportunity to master the skill. For important grammar points you can also use them in other lessons. If you are doing a writing lesson, focus it on the grammar point that you learned the previous session to reaffirm and solidify their knowledge.