The Principles of Teaching Grammar to Young Students
Being a teacher, you should know that children learn language differently from adults. Although grammar does play an important role in language learning- especially in the early stage of the process where a new language can seem very contradictory, lacking structure and rules and disorganized where grammar teaching comes into its own. So I think we should find “how to teach grammar for young learners?”
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Hien N. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
The children can imitate very quickly. With me when we teach grammar for young learners, we must make them funny and feel comfortable. There is a more effective and fun way to teach grammar but I think that we can follow three steps as:
1. Teaching and modeling:
As we know the children can imitate very quickly. However, it’s easy for them to forget. Therefore, we should teach only one new structure in one lesson. Moreover, when we teach the new structure, we should give some examples and ask them to practice as many times as possible to make them familiar with it. Teachers are encouraged to use various ways to make their teaching fun and memorable.
Teaching a structure of “How old are you?” the teacher write the structure on the board and read aloud, the students listen then drilling: How old are you? I’m seven.
The teacher should ask some students in the class this question to make sure that they understand how to answer. After that, he/she can call on 1-2 pairs of volunteers to model in front of the class.
Later, the teacher can divide the class into pairs of self-practice. Finally, he or she may show a video of short conversations between native speakers so that students can acquire knowledge of the lesson in real English.
Numerous activities can be used for this stage, including gap-fill exercises, substitution drills, sentence transformations, split sentences, picture dictations, class questionnaires, reordering sentences, and matching sentences to pictures. The activities must be fairly controlled at this stage as students have only just met the new language. Many student books and workbooks have exercises and activities which can be used at this stage. Or we give our students lots of sentences halves and in pairs, they try to match the beginnings and of the sentences.
Games and activities are the most important factors in teaching grammar for young learners. In fact, young children are always interested in playing and they are likely to learn through playing and practicing, which helps the teaching and learning be memorable and effective.
Also, games and fun can help students develop a competitive streak. Grammar games to learning English don’t only motivate, they also boost the idea of competition in the ESL classroom. Besides that activities also encourage cooperative learning between teachers and students and students themselves in the class. One thing to remember when using games in the class is that the teacher must set the rules clearly.
3. Practical application.
In practical application, the teacher must encourage the students to apply what they have learned into real life as much as possible. For example, he/she set up some tasks that enable students to role-play, build stories, interview each other, go outside to meet strangers to talk,… In conclusion, teaching English grammar for young learners is challenging. Nevertheless, if we know how we can do it right and well.
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