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Module 7: How to teach Grammar?

Contents
Module 7: How to teach Grammar? ............................................................................................................................. 1
Lesson Structure ......................................................................................................................................................... 3
Teaching Grammar .................................................................................................................................................... 4
Form ............................................................................................................................................................................. 6
Meaning ....................................................................................................................................................................... 6
Pronunciation .............................................................................................................................................................. 7
Concept Checking ....................................................................................................................................................... 7

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Introduction
Integration of Skills is Paramount

In Modules 7-13, we will explore all the key language skills that are needed for communicative competence
in English:

 Grammar

 Vocabulary

 Phonology

 Speaking

 Writing

 Listening

 Reading

To make these areas easier to handle and easier to focus on, we have divided them into separate Modules.
There's really no other way to do this and it's probably what you would expect.

However, it's important that you do not mirror this division into different skills areas in your classroom.
Integration of skills lies at the heart of the Communicative Approach. So, your aim is to integrate as many of
the skills areas as you can in your lessons.

We're not suggesting that you will integrate all of the areas above in one lesson but you should aim to
include several of them.

An example will help to demonstrate what we mean.

Example-Integrating Skills:

Always ask yourself this question:

Can I construct the learning item/activity so that some other purposes can be served, e.g. speaking,
vocabulary, grammar and punctuation purposes etc., if the learners are ready for some of this?

For example, with young learners after they have been copying singular words, you may start to introduce
some plural words.

Here you can demonstrate that the s sound at the end of cats means that there are more than one cat and this
is often what we do to show this. You write examples on the board and help them to read these. You also

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give them a little bit of drilling to get their punctuation right. Then you get them to write the words in their
notebooks.

This could lead to a game where you read out a list of words and they have to put their hands up quickly
when they hear a word ending in s, which generally means there are more than one of the item. And they
have to repeat the word. Now they have started a journey to understanding plurals. Of course, you wouldn't
use the word 'plural' at this stage.

This is an example of integrating several language skills in one lesson: listening, speaking,
reading, writing, and a bit of pronunciation and grammar. It would be a perfect lesson. This is what
teaching students via the Communicative Approach is all about.

So, integrate as many of the skills as is feasible.

Remember, though, that there may be a few occasions where a good bit of the lesson may just focus heavily
on one aspect, e.g. reading for pleasure or focussing on some grammatical aspect that all the learners are
finding difficult.

Other than these specific occasions: Integrate!

One final point: You'll find that a specific activity can be used for several skills areas. So, in the Modules 7-
13, we may mention an activity under the heading of 'Listening' and then mention it again under the heading
of 'Speaking'. This is intentional. It's because it is a good activity and can be used in several ways. It's not
because we have run out of ideas!

Let's move on to grammar!

In this Module we will explore grammar, using the PPP Technique. The Module will begin by looking at the
structure of a lesson and at all the parts which need to be included in the different stages.

Once the structure has been introduced, we will focus on the Presentation stage of teaching grammar, which
includes considering the form, meaning, usage and pronunciation of a new grammar item.

Next we will focus on the Practice and Production parts of the lesson and consider some activities, which
can be used in these parts of your lesson.

Finally, the Module will finish with some top tips and some suggested reading for you.

By the end of this Module you will be able to teach a grammar lesson. Enjoy!

Take the Quiz: PPP Review

Lesson Structure
When you teach a grammar lesson, you will use the PPP Technique which we introduced in the previous
section 'How to plan'.
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Let's explore the components which go together to make up a grammar lesson.

Introduction:

Introduce yourself and write the lesson aims on the board and explain clearly what your plans are for the
lesson.

Warmer:

Use a warmer to get students acclimatised to the lesson.

Presentation:

You can use two different methods when you present a grammar lesson.

Deductive:

The deductive approach means that you present the rule you are teaching and then give examples to help
students understand.

Inductive:

The inductive approach means that you give students some examples of the grammar rules to explore and
then get them to work out the rules.

Practice:

You will now practise the new rules with some controlled practice activities.

Production:

This is the stage of the lesson where you give students a chance to practise without the control. The aim of
this part of the lesson is to let your students try to extend their knowledge and use the target language in a
freer, more creative way.

Summary and Reflection:

Summarise your lesson and reflect on the lesson by asking students what they enjoyed or what went well.

Cooler:

End the lesson with a fun, positive activity.

Let's now carry out a closer inspection of each of these parts of a lesson.

Teaching Grammar

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In the previous Modules, you learned the importance of adding context, students' motivations, teaching
skills, classroom management, the grammar basics and how to plan. You have also started following the
Mindfulness Courses and have learnt how to incorporate technology in the classroom.

We would now like you to start putting all these elements together to create an excellent lesson and inspire
students to become lifelong learners.

Teaching grammar using the PPP technique is no different from teaching any other structure in the English
language. You will present, have a controlled practice and then a production activity.

You will start the lesson with a warmer and end the lesson with a cooler, and reflection. Reflection will
activate deeper learning skills, which will ultimately mean your students will remember more.

In summary, in order to have the best possible grammar lesson, you will need to think about the following
factors:

 The background and context of your learners.

 The age of your learners: The age of your learners will affect the way you present your new items.
Younger learners will enjoy fun activities and will enjoy playing games to understand verb tenses,
whereas older learners will want to understand the form structure of a verb tense being presented to
them.

 Motivations for learning English.

 Level of your learners: Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced.

 Setting of the lesson: your classroom and the way it looks.

 PPP Technique:

 Introduction

 Warmer

 Present

 Practice

 Production

 Summary/Reflection

 Cooler

When you present grammar, you will have to teach form, meaning, usage and pronunciation. We will
consider these elements in the next few sections. Please go back and review the grammar basics to refresh
your memory.

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Form
Presenting the form of a grammar structure is critical because it gives you an opportunity to show the
student how the grammar is constructed.

For example:

 You should have eaten more food before the examination.

 We can show that this sentence is constructed by using: Should + have + past participle of the verb.

You can show the form of any grammar structure or tense using this technique. Go back and review the
'Summary Table of Verb Tenses' to remind yourself of the form of tenses.

Meaning
Once you have shown the students the form of your grammatical structure, you must try to explain
the meaning. It's important at this stage to add context, elicit information and use CCQs to check
understanding.

Let's consider the following example sentence:

You should have eaten more food before the examination.

This sentence is saying that the person did not eat enough food before she took the examination and it
conveys a sense of regret, meaning that if she had eaten more she would have done better in the
examination.

There are two aspects of meaning.

First, what is the literal or 'essential' meaning of the word, phrase, functional expression or grammar
structure?

Second, what does it mean in the context it's being used in?

For example:

He's wearing a red shirt. (red=colour)

His face is red - he's been lying on the beach too long. (red=sunburnt)

He was a well-known red. (red=political affiliations and beliefs)

Meaning is the mental image/comprehension that is generated by the grammar or vocabulary. Students
connect the grammar structure with the meaning. For example, the past tense signals events in the past.

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Once the teacher has presented the structure, he should talk about the meaning too.

It answers the question: What meaning does the vocabulary, functional expression or grammar structure
have in the (specific) context?

When you explain meaning in the Presentation stage, it's crucial to use your teaching aids. These could
be flashcards, video or a little bit acting or using gestures to convey the meaning.

Usage

The words, functional expressions and grammar structures we choose to use are determined by the situation
we are in and/or what we want to communicate to our listener(s). Usage is interconnected with meaning.

For example, Good morning! is a greeting we use with friends, family, our boss, etc. when we see them
before noon.

If we say Good morning! to a family member as he gets up in the afternoon (because he was out late the
night before), we are being ironic and perhaps indicating a bit of disapproval. We would probably not say
this to our boss when she comes in late.

Usage answers the question: When or why is the vocabulary, functional expression or grammar structure
used?

Pronunciation
It's critical to convey the phonology or the sound of a piece of lexis/grammar to learners as the native
speaker will often pronounce words in different ways from the learner.

For example, most native speakers would pronounce 'should have' as one word or as an abbreviated word
'should've'. Students will have never heard this sound before and you will need to practise this
using drilling and repetition.

Concept Checking
Concept Checking Questions are questions you will need to ask to check if your students have understood a
new word or structure.

You will need to use CCQs during the Presentation Stage to check your learners' understanding.

As you know, it's really important to ask more than 'Do you understand?'

Let's consider some examples:

New words:

1. Shirt

2. Chair
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3. Hair

Let's see what sort of Concept Checking Questions you could ask to check whether your students have
understood these words.

1. Shirt

Teacher: Am I wearing a shirt?

Student: Yes.

Teacher: Is it blue or white or another colour?

Student: It's blue and white.

Teacher: Does it have long sleeves or short sleeves?

Student: Long.

2. Chair

Teacher: Can I sit on it?

Student: Yes.

Teacher: How many legs does it have?

Student: 4.

Teacher: What colour is it?

Student: Blue.

Teacher: What is a chair for?

Student: Sitting on.

Teacher: How many chairs are in this room?

Student: 25.

3. Hair

Teacher: What colour is my hair?

Student: Brown.

Teacher: What kind of hairstyle do I have?

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Student: Short.

Teacher: What do I wash my hair with?

Student: Shampoo

Teacher: How many times a week do I wash my hair?

Student: Never, once, everyday...

Concept checking questions are for checking the understanding of your students when you are presenting
any new material.

Take the Quiz: Form, Meaning and Phonology

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