Инфоурок / Иностранные языки / Другие методич. материалы / Статья "Teaching grammar effectively."
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Статья "Teaching grammar effectively."

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hello_html_m7a3292eb.gifTeaching grammar effectively.

Most people have strong feelings about grammar. Many fear it, some love, but few are neutral. Those who fear it might be concerned that they don’t know all the grammar rules that they think they should know. Many have never studied grammar seriously before and are afraid of being ignorant in front of their peers. Others might have memories of homework assignments returned with an overwhelming number of red marks highlighting their grammatical mistakes.

Others study grammar enthusiastically because they need to understand it to be successful foreign language learners. Knowing grammar rules makes some students secure. Others think of grammar simply as the ordeal they have to go through in order to communicate effectively in another language.

In fact, studying grammar can be enjoyable. While it’s not our job to entertain our students, it’s important to engage them. If students are bored while they’re studying grammar, they’ll have difficult time learning. On the other hand, when they’re engaged, learning is easier.

In this workshop we’ll look at how Ss learn grammar and examine how student acquire grammatical structures as we discuss learning styles and strategies. Finally, we’ll look how to create engaging activities and how to give them feedback when they make mistakes.


Ss learn grammar implicitly and explicitly. (slide1) Young learners usually learn grammar implicitly in other words they learn by experience without being given rules while secondary students learn explicitly. Young learners can succeed in learning grammatical patterns and formulas only if they are exposed to language more than 2 hours a week. They need to be exposed to second language at least 2 hours a day to learn grammar implicitly. Students both young and secondary don’t have the same amount of time to learn a second language as they did when they were learning their native language. So, learning a second language without some explicit learning can be very difficult. They may be able to learn the form and the meaning of grammar pattern implicitly but they may need to learn the use explicitly.

e.g. Can you figure out the difference between using the present participle and the past participle in these sentences?

Roger is boring.

Roger is bored. ( 1. –Roger is the source of the boredom. 2.- Roger is experiencing the boredom).

So students who have the chance to engage in both implicit and explicit learning will be the ones who are the best served.

Explicit learning.

Deductive and inductive approaches.




Teacher’s presentation

Role play in a created context

Standard routine (positive form-negative form-general questions – special questions)

Presentation depends on real life rating (e.g. would like)

Use of charts, tables, symbols etc.) Repetition drills.

Drills (substitution, transformation, true sentences).

Every step is clearly explained.

Ss are guided to discover the grammar pattern. (Guided discovery)

Use of full forms

Use of contractions

Restricted output

Controlled practice Freer practice

Slide 3

Keep in mind that some rules might be too difficult to induce from examples. Plus, not all learners are analytic in their learning style. In these cases, a quick explanation of the rule might be better, or at least, more efficient.

Slide 4 Design drills to practice to be going to (3 groups)




Slide 5, 6


Chapter 2.

Engaging activities.

2.1 Activities used in grammar presentation (slide7)

  • Visuals/ Realia

  • Reading/Listening

  • Story telling

  • Drawing

  • Playing

  • Singing

  • A dialogue

  • Timelines

2.2 Activities used in restricted practice (output) and freer practice (slide8)

  • Role-play

  • Games

  • Information gaps

  • Task-essential structures

  • Mingle activities

  • Class survey

  • Story telling

  • Pair/group discussions

  • Talkathon

  • Guided dialogues

  • Extended writing

  • Discussion

Group work. Task: Introduce the Present Perfect Tense

Group 1. Presentation (input).

Group 2. Practice (drills, written)

Group 3. Production (output). Controlled (accuracy) and freer practice (fluency).

Chapter 3.

Errors and feedback.

What is an error?

When a student says, “He play football”, everyone would agree that the student made an error. But when the student knows the third person singular of the verbs in present simple tense and says “He play football” is it an error?

Error occurs when a student truly doesn’t know the grammar structure or hasn’t yet mastered it. A mistake, on the other hand, is a one – time slip.

Slide 9 Error: a problem with the form, meaning, or use of something the student said.

Slide 10 Mistake: A one – time slip. The student may know the correct form, but not use it correctly at the time due to fatigue or some other distraction.

When Ss make errors, it makes sense that they’d probably benefit from some feedback. But giving Ss feedback on their mistakes might not be as useful as you might think. Of course, what constitutes an error or mistake isn’t always easy to do. (e.g.)

Slide 11 Types of errors.

Backsliding – is when Ss appear to unlearn smth. they have already learned.

Fossilized errors – errors that persist.

Relexification - learners use their L1 syntax with words from the L2

Overgeneralization errors – occur when learners use a grammatical form where it isn’t necessary. (*He cans go)

Using the term giving feedback is more appropriate than correcting errors. There are two distinct types of feedback – direct and indirect. If you are giving a student direct feedback, you’re pointing out an error in an obvious way. If you are giving an indirect feedback, you’re putting the responsibility on the student to figure out what’s wrong, and you’re also giving the student the opportunity to self-correct.

Slide 12 Indirect feedback

  • Isolate the trouble spot by repeating what the student said up until and after the error.

  • Give an alternative

  • Give rules and explanations

  • Peer –checking

  • Recast

  • notes

Diagnose the following errors. Are they ones of form, meaning or use? Think of ways giving an indirect feedback to your Ss so they learn from their errors.

  1. Felix go to school every day.

  2. The house of my friends is on the corner.

  3. I am boring when the teacher lectures.

Slide 13. Some tips for giving a Feedback.

  • Avoid checking answers one by one

  • Focus on problem areas only

  • Make it as student-centered as possible (peer-checking, self-checking, students help other students by explaining answers).

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