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Teaching Grammar Communicatively


Grammar’s a really important piece of
learning English, students want grammar. It gives them a handle on the language,
helps them to become reflective about the language and helps them build
fluency. The goal of the grammar lesson is to present
the grammar to comprehend the main points and then to move into practice, which starts with
more controlled practice and then moves to freer practice, and the goal really is for them to
develop fluency with the grammar structure. This is now. It’s important to set up the grammar and
the first thing I did was bring in my own personal experience which is a clue that this grammar point we are
talking about has meaning. Okay now I am an English teacher. Piano teacher, piano, I was a piano teacher. I’m using this
grammar point to talk about my life, and I talk about my wife, I talk about different
students in the class. I want to establish the fact that this grammar
point is very useful in communications, very useful to talk about things like what we did before, what we’re
we’re doing now, so it also peaks their interest in the grammar point, Now, what time? Before. Danielle where are you from? I’m from Mexico. Mexico, in Mexico did you have a job? Yes. And now, what’s your job now? A baker. A baker, uh… what was your job in Mexico? I worked at the foreign hotel, holiday inn. A hotel worker, uh… hotel worker. We identified two students who had jobs present and past and
students tried to make sentences about these students. Okay, tell me about Danielle? Danielle is a baker. He is a baker now. He was a hotel worker before. Good. Open your books to page ninety eight. Once students open their books the first thing that we did was focus on
the grammar chart at the top of the page. Please listen, questions were you a student? And
we went over that model pronunciation, this is already rooted in meaning
because of what I have brought before the students opened the book. Lets look at exercise two. Do you see exercise two? We move from the grammar chart to the first
exercise which is a check your understanding. Amy chose? What is that? It enables the teacher to see
if students are really understanding that grammar chart. And look at
two thousand to two thousand six, is that now or before? Now. two thousand
two two thousand six. Can somebody read number one? Julie would you read number one? She was a teacher before. Yes good, and… And now she is a nurse. Nurse, okay good. I want you to look at number two, number three, eight and number four, and I want you to write the answers. The best way for me to check to
see if students are understanding the grammar is to circulate to watch them as they write responses and then later to
listen to them as they practice grammar points. uh… Before he was. uh… Before she was. uh… okay good, let’s listen and check your answers. Lesson B. It’s very important to check for
students understanding because if students aren’t grasping the main grammar point, if they’re not
making these distinctions between was and were, if they’re not picking up cues
for he, she, they and so on uh… they can’t really be successful in the other activities that follow. He was. He is. Any volunteer to write on the whiteboard? Can you come up? Thank you, cross-checked. Is that okay? Okay. Are you sure? Yes. One hundred percent? Yes. Look on the next page, page ninety nine exercise two b. After the first grammar activity which
is uh… a check your understanding activity we move to what we call guided practice.
I see many pictures, how many pictures? Six. Six pictures. Are these new pictures or old pictures? Old. The goal of guided practice is fluency. Are they coloured pictures? No, they are black and white. We want students be able to use these grammar points fairly automatically and to be able to
use them easily and comfortably. Now we’re going to make some questions, here’s the first picture. Before students begin to practice with a partner the teacher
has to make sure the students understand the focus of the practice. Is this a was question
or a were question? Uh… were. were they receptionists? This is a question and when I ask a question with
was or were my voice goes up. Was he a waiter? Can you hear my voice go waiter? waiter? Let’s look at the example number one at the top of page ninety nine, a do you see number
one a and b? Okay, I am a and you are b, I ask a question and you answer. Was she a teacher? Yes she was. If we don’t model what we expect students to
be doing we can’t expect success. Now less change. So we take a lot of time
setting up their activity modeling teacher – student, student – student and uh… before we turn students loose on pair
work we have to make sure that they have very clear models for what they are expected to
do. Yes she was, number two. no they weren’t, they were uh… viruses. Good, very good. Now we’re going to practice with
partners. The guided practice is a student centered practice where students are working with each other, with partners, and the goal is for the teacher to get out of the way let students
practice, developer fluency and also enables the teacher again to
circulate and monitor students and to observe that fluency as it develops. She was a teacher Yes she was. uh… The last activity in the grammar lesson is a communicative
activities, this is really the culmination of the lesson. Ok please
do something for me, I want you to write in your book page ninety-nine on the side or on the corner write your job before, what was your job before? Were you a nurse, were you a student, an army officer? Please write your job before this year. Engineer, very good. Now looked on page ninety nine do you see a chart at the bottom?
It’s a blue chart. Students were working with a chart where they had to find the name they had
to find information about a job now, a job before. I want you to get up take your book take a pencil ask three people. it’s a very interesting activity for
students because they enjoy talking to each other they’re finding information that they don’t know there’s no right
answer there’s no wrong answer. Yeah. Any letter. What is you job now. Now a housekeeper. I want two students to come up and you’re going to write sentences
about your partner. One sentence now, One sentence before. OK… who’s Jade, who is Jade? Jade ok. Are you a student now or before? Student now. The whole point of the grammar lesson is to move from understanding to controlled practice to fluency to real communication, we want grammar to talk about real things that’s the way
I set up the lesson today, I’m talking about my life and I want students to be able to use this grammar
to talk about real things in their lives, real
communications. Bye.

Reynold King

15 Replies to “Teaching Grammar Communicatively”

  1. What strikes me the most about the lesson is that the teacher doesn´t have to deal with behavioural problems at all. It´s almost like an utopian class. Very useful information, though.

  2. You are not challenging them enough, you are treating them as kindergarten students…they are adults …you have to activate their background knowledge more and you will see a faster understanding….and subsequently a better learning,….

  3. wrong …wrong…wrong…..instead of a TS activity it should have been a SS activity, they at this stage are able to ask and answer these questions in pairs….very slowly you are falling in a teacher centered class…..

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