Teaching GrammarGrammar is central to the teaching and learning of languages. It is also one of the more difficult aspects of language to teach well.
We all know what words are, for example: met, she, yesterday her friend. These words tell us little but what we can do is combine all these words to make sentences, which can tell us a lot more: She met her friend yesterday. This is not as simple as it may seem ? we can?t simply put words together in a way to make sense. The words have to be put together according to the rules of grammar.
We can?t teach children as the same way as adults because it is important to keep in mind that they are often not able to think in abstract terms, and are still developing mental concepts. This means they may not be able to analyze language through a grammatical perspective. We have to try to avoid using metalanguage (e.g. passive verb, subject, and object) and focus instead on what grammar can do to achieve communication. To teach grammar to adults and children we need to decide the objective of the course- ?How is grammar going to be taught?? and then we can identify the method to follow, the scope of the program and strategic activities to match the objectives of each student
. For example, you can ask children to describe a picture, which will involve using present progressive, e.g. ?The man is walking with his dog.?You can ask your students
to guess what object is in a bag, which will require them to formulate questions. Activities which embed grammar and teach grammar indirectly motivate students
much more than drills or explanations.
There are three methods of teaching grammar: inductive, deductive. In deductive method the teacher uses a grammar text book. He/she tells his/her students
rules or definitions and explains those with the help of examples then he/she gives exercise and asks his/her students
to apply the rules. In inductive method the teacher first presents or takes the example from the students
then comes on theory or concept.
The best way to teach grammar is to begin with a game or an opening activity that introduces the concept of grammar. students
should be questioned so that they can identify the concept of grammar. After this a reading exercise can be given with questions and responses based on the structure that is being taught. Responses should be checked with the class and the students
should explain their responses so that all the students
are on the right track and are clear about the concepts. An exercise should be given which focuses on the current construction of the grammar points. This can be a ?fill in the gaps? activity, cloze test or a verb tense conjugation activity. Finally, the class can be asked to explain the concept again. This is one method that can be adapted in as many ways that a teacher feels comfortable with.
When using tense that are being taught many examples have to be given to the class. An explanation of what the present is and then how something happened yesterday versus what will happen tomorrow is needed. Key words to show tenses are also very important. e.g. for present tense- now, today; for past tenses - last night, yesterday, in 1950; for future and conditional tenses- tomorrow, next week, I wish I could. Clear clarification and instructions have to be given to the students
so that they know how different tenses have to be used. Skits and dialogues in group work are some of the ways to learn tenses as well as story telling in the past and also the future.
To avoid misunderstanding and boredom teachers should use simple and clear language, a variety of activities, good examples, visuals, learning materials, resources, enthusiasm, motivated and a sense of humor then grammar can be fun.