English Grammar Teaching Ideas

     There are many strategies and methods for teaching English grammar.  This article will focus on teaching English grammar as a second language by highlighting three main teaching areas.  Teaching English grammar requires you to be armed with teaching strategies, have an arsenal of topics to instruct with, and be prepared with the similarities and differences between English and the learner's native language.  

English Grammar Teaching Strategies

     There are many different language teaching strategies and methods ranging from total immersion where students are immersed in the target language for the entire school day to the silent approach where the teacher's objective is to say as little as possible giving the learner control of what he/she wants to say.   

     No matter what the strategy you decide to employ, the PPT or presentation, practice, and production method has proven to be one of the most successfully structured grammar teaching tools that you can use to get your students producing a new language effectively.  The idea behind it is to move from tight teacher control to greater learner freedom.  Let's take a look at the three parts of this method below.

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I.)  The Presentation Phase

     During the presentation phase, the lesson is completely controlled by the teacher.  During this phase, the teacher might use several different resource types to aid in presenting the topic to the class.  Some common resource types used during the presentation phase are visual aids like writing on the board, flashcards, audiotapes, videos, handouts, and actual PowerPoint presentations.

     The teacher will use these different media types to show the class what will be learned in the lesson, any necessary structural information, and anything else the students need in order to understand the lesson.  

Conditional Sentences Type 3 PowerPoint

Grammar PowerPoint Presentations

Grammar Multiple-Choice

Practice Worksheet

Compound Nouns Multiple Choice Worksheet

II.)  The Practice Phase

     During this phase, the control of the lesson begins to shift.  The students begin to take control by participating in activities such as working in pairs to do multiple-choice worksheets, filling in the gaps with cue exercises, and participating in drills. 

     The teacher's role during this phase is to direct the activities, correct mistakes, model correct forms of the language, and provide feedback to the students.

     Many lessons stop here, but the last phase is really the most important phase in the learning process and must be carried out in order for learners to produce the language.

     During the final phase, the control of the lesson makes its final shift.  This is where the students are given total control of their learning experience.  Students use the newly acquired language and structure to speak, write something, or play a game. 

     The teacher may circulate and monitor students for questions, but doesn't generally interfere.  If any mistakes are made they are addressed at the end of the lesson.

     Theoretically, students should not move to this phase until they have mastered the information in the lesson and can produce it without mistakes.  This theory is flawed, however.  Most students cannot master a subject in half an hour.  Depending on the topic's difficulty level, it might take students, several full classes, to perfect the language associated with the topic.

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Grammar Productive Board Game

English Grammar Topics For Instruction 

     The most common topics for basic English instruction are nouns, masculine and feminine forms of nouns, pluralization of nouns, subject pronouns, adjectives, regular and irregular verbs, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, interjections, and tenses.

     Basic grammar instruction usually begins with the masculine and feminine forms of nouns coupled with pluralization, subject pronouns, and basic verb forms such as be, do, and have.   This enables students to talk about things in a room, a school, or a home.  It also paves the way for students to learn to use adjectives in order to describe people, places, and things.

     After learning these basic grammar structures students should be able to give general information about themselves, to speak about other general things like the weather, numbers and days of the week.

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Grammar Flash or Game Cards

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Grammar Study Sheet

     The next stage of learning English grammar is to tackle the tenses.  Tenses in English are much less complicated than they are in some languages like Spanish.  English doesn’t have three endings for its regular verbs such as, ar, er, and ir.  Both English and Spanish have irregular verbs which lists are quite extensive so that is about a wash but the thing that makes Spanish far more complicated than English is its masculine and feminine pronouns.  Add these to the Spanish mix and you have an exhaustive list of conjugations in several tenses.  You would think that Native Spanish speakers would catch on to English quickly as it is far less complicated in this respect but I have seen quite the opposite.  Native Spanish speakers still have a heck of a time wrapping their heads around the only English verb that has three forms and that is the verb “be”.

     It is best to introduce students to regular verbs and stick with the simple tenses until the students have a very good grasp of the grammar associated with these before moving on to more complicated irregular verb conjugations in the more difficult tenses.    

     There is one final category of grammar instruction and it may be the most difficult for students to use correctly.  This category includes prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections.

     I've heard prepositions referred to as "stupid little annoying but necessary words," and for good reason.  They may seem small but they pack a big punch when it comes to making the language flow smoothly.

     Many students don't think it is necessary to focus on these and dismiss them as being unimportant.  There is only one thing that you need to ask them.  Learning these and using them correctly will be the difference between you sounding like an intelligent, professional person someday and a three-year-old.  Which would you prefer?

Countable-Uncountable Nouns Combo Intera

Grammar Structure and Exercise Worksheet

Differences Between English and Spanish Grammar

     There are several differences between Spanish and English such as word order, verb forms, punctuation, sound, and spelling.  Let's take a look at the differences in word order first.

     One main word order difference is regarding noun and adjective placement.  In English, adjectives come before main verbs except when using the verb "be", in which case, the adjective comes after.  Spanish is the opposite.  Most of the time the adjective comes after the noun.  The adjective can be used before the noun but it changes the meaning of the sentence.

     Both English and Spanish are subject, verb, object languages for typical statements.  However, it is normal for object pronouns to come before the verb in Spanish and subject nouns can even be placed after the main verb.  Spanish even allows and sometimes requires the use of double negatives which is strictly forbidden in English.

     Spanish also follows an opposite pattern to writing the date than English does.  English uses MM/DD/YY.  Spanish uses DD/MM/YY.  Be careful when using numbers to write the date.  For example, 08/10/20 in English refers to August 10, 2020 whereas in Spanish it represents October 8, 2020.

Container Words Missing One Word Workshe

Missing Words Worksheet

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Sentence Match Worksheet

     Another difference between English and Spanish is the way the verbs are formed due to the masculine and feminine components of the Spanish language.

     Instead of using auxiliary verbs like English does Spanish modifies verb endings to indicate the tense, person, and mood.  This makes most Spanish verbs have over thirty forms whereas the most that English is three with the verb “be”.  

     Unlike English where very few nouns are gender-based all nouns in Spanish are either masculine or feminine.  Adding gender into the mix of Spanish verb conjugation is part of its complexity. 

     The last difference between English and Spanish is really three-fold.  There are many differences between the alphabet, spelling, and pronunciation.

     Although both languages use the Roman alphabet many of the similarities stop there.  To begin with, Spanish only has five vowel sounds and English has over fourteen.  The vowels are pronounced differently between the two languages also.  For example, the Spanish "e" is pronounced like the hard "i" in English and the Spanish "i" is pronounced like the English "e".   The vowel "u" is not pronounced in Spanish when it is preceded by the letter “q”.

     The last difference is between the consonants.  There are some consonants in Spanish that are pronounced the same way as in English but Spanish also has some consonants that English doesn't such as "ll", "rr", and "ñ".

Present Simple Question Words Spelling C

Spelling Challenge Grammar Worksheet

Conclusion

     No matter how you strategize, what method you use, what topic you teach, or how difficult the differences between teaching English grammar versus Spanish grammar are, one thing is certain.  English may be a complex language to spell and pronounce but, have a lot of idioms, and use a lot of slang but that’s where its complexity stops when it is compared to Spanish. 

Reference Links

1.  Grammar - Learn English British Council

2.  Basics of English Grammar - Talk English

3.  Basic English Grammar Rules With Example Sentences - Basic English Speaking

4.  5 Steps for Learning Grammar - English Grammar Revolution

5.  14 Must-visit Websites to Learn English Grammar Online - FluentU

6.  Why is grammar important? - USA Learns

7.  Complete Handbook of English Grammar - Learn Grammar Net

8.  English Grammar Online - EGO

9.  Learn English Grammar Online - My English Pages

10.  Learning English Online - englisch-hilfen.com

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