These guidelines on how to teach grammar are for intermediate to advanced English, as it assumes that the students already have some understanding of English grammar.
Grammar lessons do not in any way need to be tedious or boring. If the material you use is of interest to the students (e.g. something about themselves), and they are actively involved in the lessons, then much fun can be had by all.
This is the general structure that I follow when teaching grammar:
Before I go into the specifics of how to plan your own lessons, here are some general principles on how to teach grammar ....
When you are teaching a grammar point, you must have a sentence or two that demonstrates that point. What you definitely don't want to do is just give it to the students. That would be boring, and you will have lost the interest of the students at the very onset. They need to be involved! And it's also a great opportunity for you to assess how well they already know the grammar. Here are some ideas on how to elicit an example of grammar: how to teach grammar
It's easier for the teacher to have pre-prepared sentences and hand-outs, because then they won't be surprised or confused by some unexpected answers that the students come up with that might not fit the pattern exactly.
If this happens to you, explain to the students that you are not sure but will let them know at the next lesson. Despite this being a potential problem, I still think it's well worth getting the students to give the example sentences, beause the students will be so much more involved. It's important that the teacher fully understands the grammar point themselves though - a definite potential pitfall for native speakers!
Once you have established a sentence, or two, or three that demonstrate the grammar point, do a grammar presentation with them, eliciting the grammar structure from the students. Write the sentences and grammar structure on the board (distinguish them by using different colours). Your end result should look something like the grammar presentation that I have done for the Past Perfect.
When the students understand the grammar structure, you also need to make sure that they understand how the grammar point works and what it means. When doing tenses, for example, make sure that you have as many sentences as required to demonstrate all the different uses of that tense that you want to teach at that point. Make sure that the students really do understand by getting them to draw timelines (here are some examples of timelines) or ask them some concept questions (yes/no questions that verify whether they have understood the meaning of the sentences eg. I get up at 6am. 'Do you get up every day at 6am?' or 'Do you often get up at 6am?').
Once the students understand the grammar structure and the meanings of the sentences, you can practise some pronunciation with them. You must always do pronunciation after explaining the sentences and never before, because you don't want the students to be saying things that they don't understand. Practising pronunciation is particularly important when there are contractions (I'll, he'd, would've, wouldn't've) in sentences, as English students find these more difficult.
Demonstrate to the students how to pronounce the sentences and then get them to repeat it. how to teach grammar
Build up the students' confidence by getting them to practice the grammar structure in the easiest possible way - with gap fill exercises,rewriting sentences, putting words in the correct order, completing unfinished sentences etc etc
Don't finish with these activities though, as you need to take it up a level, so that the students can learn to use the grammar in every day speech as well....
In order to be able to use the grammar in every day speech, they will need to practise using it in real conversations as well. These are exercises where the students have more freedom to talk and express their opinions. Types of activities are quizzes, picture games, activities where the students move around etc. For some ideas on how to do this, have a look at some of the ideas I have put in my Grammar Lessons.
Despite the fact that you have diligently taught the students the grammar and practised it ad nauseum with your students, the chances are still fairly high that they will still continue to make mistakes (they have made these mistakes for so long it's difficult for them to adjust). Don't give up on them, but be particularly vigilant during the lessons following, to pick up on the fact when they make errors with regards to that particular grammar point. EIther point out the mistake when they make it (but get them to correct it), or take notes during the lesson and go through them with the students at the end of the lesson.
how to teach grammar
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