As a linguist I personally have developed a genuine passion for grammar but let’s face it, most of us as teachers despise grammar just the way our students do. Even if we know grammatical rules it doesn’t mean that we possess the skills to transmit this knowledge so that our students apply them in a real context.

Teaching by the book is outdated for our non-stop Internet addicted students. Students want to learn how to express themselves in English and they want it fast. If an app to easily learn grammar existed they would probably have downloaded it. What our role is as teachers is to adapt the grammatical concepts to our students’ needs and motivation. Here are some steps to follow to ensure you will avoid boredom in your classroom while teaching grammar.

  • Grammar in context

If you don’t want to bore your students to death avoid at all cost teaching a lesson on grammar. You need to plan your lesson carefully to embed your grammar point. First of all, prepare your students to the grammar point by writing the grammatical objectives on the board, then have a starter ready to review some previous knowledge of your students that will be meaningful for your grammatical point.

No matter how we feel about some grammatical points we need to be role models for our students.

Let’s say you want to introduce the use of the imperative form you should choose a topic that your students are already confident with for example “At the doctor”. Assuming that they already know the vocabulary related to sickness you should then be able to introduce them to advice giving. You could have for example some matching up between the type of sickness and advice. Instead of eliciting the grammar straight away have them to pair-think-share about the grammatical structures by finding similarities between the different types of advice. Students can formulate their ideas independently and you are just guiding them towards the grammatical point.

Your objectives are reached: You have a real communication context and you have embedded grammar within your lesson plan while basing this on your students’ prior knowledge.

8 grammar

Different approaches are possible. After having read an article, a website, a letter, any real document have your students to answer some questions to ensure understanding. After that, depending on your grammar point, have them to look for certain structures. For example if you are working on adjectives you can use a pen friend letter where the author describes his/her relationships with his/her family. After having reviewed the vocabulary in groups some may have to look for positive describing words (adjectives) and other ones for negative ones.

  • Love it and spread it

No matter how we feel about some grammatical points we need to be role models for our students. You will find out that students often mirror our reactions and to our certain extent our feelings. If you are not confident about teaching some grammatical points or if you just don’t like teaching them, you still can use this as a powerful tool. You may play the devil’s advocate pretending how much you like this specific grammar point and how much you know about it. Have a set fun activities ready to use like a bingo with tenses, a ball game to practice prepositional verbs, a taboo with forbidden words but pretend that your students are maybe not ready enough to enjoy playing these activities. Your students should feel intrigued and may want to know more about them. With games, you will create a playful and vivid classroom atmosphere with students ready to follow you wherever you want to take them.

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