ITTT tefl internationale

All you need to know about teaching English abroad!


Sarah Jennings

Teaching Ideas

Simple Ideas for Teaching Grammar

Simple Ideas for Teaching Grammar

By Kyle Cullinan

Table of Contents

Outdated Approach

In the past, grammar was taught based on the memorisation of rules. This may work for other languages, but it is not the most effective and creative way to teach or learn English grammar. Trying to "translate" grammar from your mother tongue into English does not always work because another language has a different way of expressing or another way of thinking that is not always the same equivalent to English. The best way to learn another language is to live in that language and this means to live and work or study in the country where they speak the language. However, sometimes this is not possible and therefore, students are left to learn from books in most cases.

1. Writing in English:

Encouraging students to learn grammar through writing allows them to delve into the language through reading and writing, naturally picking up grammar rules along the way. This is where stories can be extremely useful and effective and can be used with all different ages and levels. If there is a particular problem understanding a certain grammar rule, then this would be the time to do a more structured grammar lesson.

2. Interactive Learning

Using games and other interactive activities, such as songs, to teach grammar points engages students actively, making learning enjoyable and enhancing retention of the material. Incorporating these dynamic methods not only reinforces grammar concepts effectively but also fosters a lively classroom atmosphere conducive to effective learning. Additionally, interactive learning encourages students to apply grammar rules in practical contexts, promoting deeper understanding and fluency in English.

3. Observing Rules in Real Life

Another way students can pick up on the grammar is by allowing them to notice the grammar rule before a full explanation is given. This is done by giving the students examples without telling them the grammar point. They listen and discover their own understanding of the meaning. By having them listen to the grammar point in context, it allows the students to figure it out by themselves first instead of being taught a grammar point out of context and therefore making no link.

4. Structured Approach

When you do need to teach grammar more traditionally, I believe there should be a structure for this method. Teach first the parts of speech, such as what is a noun, adjective, verb, etc...The next step is to teach sentences. This is particularly important because you cannot say anything sensible if you can't speak or write a complete sentence. I always tell my students that verbs are very important to learn because, without verbs, you cannot have a complete sentence. The verb is the action word in a sentence. I also like to incorporate teaching phrases and clauses with my older students to familiarise them with English as it is spoken by native speakers.

5. Age Considerations in Grammar Teaching

Teaching grammar effectively hinges on understanding the age group you are instructing. For 5-year-olds, engaging methods like songs and games are essential, as these capture their attention and make learning enjoyable. Conversely, with working adults, a structured approach to grammar may be more suitable despite its potential for being perceived as less exciting, as it aligns with their learning preferences and facilitates comprehension of rules. Teenagers benefit from a balanced approach that includes structured grammar lessons intertwined with engaging activities such as exploring relevant stories that pique their interest. Adjusting the teaching style based on age ensures that grammar instruction remains engaging and effective across different learner demographics.


Teaching grammar has evolved from outdated memorization to more interactive and meaningful methods. While traditional approaches may still have their place, integrating grammar into writing, observing real-life usage, and using interactive activities like games and songs proves to be more engaging and effective. Structured lessons that begin with basic parts of speech and progress to sentences, phrases, and clauses provide a solid foundation for understanding grammar. Tailoring the teaching approach based on age and learning preferences—whether through playful methods for young children, structured approaches for adults, or captivating techniques for teenagers—ensures that grammar instruction remains both effective and enjoyable, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of the English language.*The opinions expressed by the author are solely their own and do not necessarily represent the views of ITTT or the training programs offered. The information shared is intended for informational purposes only. Readers are encouraged to exercise their own judgement and discretion.

Are you ready to teach English abroad or online?

APPLY NOW & GET CERTIFIED TO TEACH ENGLISH ABROAD!Email [email protected] or use the 'contact us' page to discuss our courses and teaching English internationally!