Teaching Grammar - the tips and guidelines

Teaching Grammar

Teaching grammar lessons can be tricky because grammar doesn't always follow standard rules, is different to the student's native language and requires that a teacher fully understands it to teach it. Consider some of these suggestions and tips to make it an easy and interesting lesson to teach.

What is Grammar?

Grammar is the way we put words together to make correct sentences and convey meaning in any language.

Grammar doesn't only deal with sentences but also with smaller units from phrases down to individual words. This is easy to understand when considering the correct use of "he ran a race" versus the incorrect use of "he runned a race". Grammar can also include the changing of spelling and pronunciation in different situations.

Grammatical structures deal with specific instances in a language, such as tenses. These structures provide in-depth information and time value to a language.

Grammar and Meaning

Grammar affects meaning, so incorrect grammar can lead to confusion. Despite this, a lot of teachers argue that accuracy of form is more important than grammatical accuracy because it is difficult to teach. Unfortunately, a phrase that has been misunderstood can have a potentially disastrous or humorous effect on a situation, so students need to learn grammar to put words together meaningfully. In the end, knowledge of a language is virtually useless if students can't convey meaning.

Presenting and Explaining Grammar

Generally, if a student's native language has a rigid grammatical structure, they will expect a teacher to explain the English equivalents of their language. To do this, a teacher needs to understand, himself, what is involved in the structures being taught; must give clear examples and explanations; and must find a balance between accuracy and simplicity in examples. A teacher who knows how to present a structure's form and meaning in a simple, accurate and helpful way is guaranteed to get the message across.

Tips and Guidelines in Teaching English Grammar

A well-prepared lesson plan is essential for teaching grammar. It should include oral and written examples as well as form, meaning and context use. Other tips for teaching grammar include:

  • Students must have plenty of examples of the structure and understand when and how to use it
  • Explanations must cover the majority of instances because students are sure to encounter exceptions along the way
  • Too much detail confuses students so explanations must be simple and clear
  • Generalization is helpful even if it's not always completely accurate
  • Rhyming rules like "i before e, except after c" can be a fun and easy way to remember a rule, even if they aren't absolutely true
  • Students need to experiment by rearranging sentences and playing with them to get a feel for the language
  • Students must be given the essential rules and guidelines and shouldn't have to guess
  • language games can be fun and give students the opportunity to use a grammatical structure practically

Grammar may be difficult and boring to teach. However, if a teacher understands the grammatical concepts, is capable of explaining grammar and its structures clearly and simply, follows up with appropriate games, exercises and role-playing activities, he will be creating a context for fun and interesting grammar lessons.

Teaching Grammar to kids can be a daunting task altogether because the understanding level of the kids is not as matured as adult individuals. In that case it is recommended that you should devise ways of teaching which can be easily understood by the children. The learning of grammar should be a fun exercise for the kids. There can be innumerable ways to teach children grammar with the help of songs, poems, stories and a lot more. You just need to find out which way is most appealing to your kids.

Grammar includes a lot of important things like time, frequency, regular and irregular verbs. Unless you have proper knowledge about all these it is not easy to write grammatically correct sentences. But if you are an English teacher for children you can do it with ease. You can actually read out a number of texts about vacations, hobby or daily activities. You just need to pay attention that the texts contain ample mention of time, frequency, regular and irregular verbs.

In fact learning of grammar can be an interesting exercise for children if they are taught in a pleasant manner. The concept of tenses can be introduced to them in an interesting way. On the other hand if you try to make the children understand the concept of time and frequency just with the help of plain sentences it might be pretty boring to them. Hence it is always a better idea to explain these concepts with the help of stories. You can also ask the students to sing the English songs. As they go on repeating the songs certain things actually get imprinted in the minds of the children.

You can use other innovative ways also to make the students aware about correct grammar. You can actually watch an English film with them. In the beginning you can choose a small film which is easily understandable. This way the children will find more interest in the learning exercise. Rather watching a film can be both entertaining and educational. In fact you soon realize that even teaching English grammar to the children can be an interesting experience altogether.

Scrambling of words as well as sentences and be an effective exercise to help the students learn more about the language. As they are given to solve scrambles they are forced to think critically. As the children think critically they are bound to develop their creative ability.

As you are teaching grammar to the children you can also introduce them to simple writing skills like you can ask them to write about food and you can also ask them to write about their daily activities. As the children carry on practicing the writing exercise gradually their writing skills also improve.

Other ways you can correct the errors is asking the children to imagine about a certain thing and speak or write about them. As they do so they express their emotions without any inhibition and in the process they learn grammar in a better manner.

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