Gerunds — Parts of speech, but not quite. They are a verb but act like a noun as part of the subject or object of a sentence. It is no wonder this grammatical structure is so confusing for students to understand and even trickier for many ESL teachers to teach! This post will offer a clearer explanation of their function and further resources for how to teach these structures with ease.
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The average teacher thinks that songs are just useful for having some fun in class. Some teachers use a fill-in-the-blanks activity to practice listening comprehension skills, but then they go back to the boring textbook for the grammar lesson. When you know how to create lesson plans using the Communicative Approach, songs can completely replace the textbook! In a fully integrated lesson, students go through the natural language acquisition processes as they learn the grammar point in context and are able to practice and produce the grammar point with communicative activities. In this article, I will use a full grammar lesson plan to show you how to teach English with songs.
A prefix is a word part (morpheme) placed in front of a base word to form a new word. Prefixes change the semantic meaning of the affected word. For example, if we add the prefix un- to the base word ‘kind’, we will form the negative ‘unkind’. Here are more examples of prefixes: non (existent), il (legal), im (patient), un(sure), dis(solve), ir(responsible), mis(understand), in(humane), over (cooked), and re(done).
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‘Ask me about’ is a great English conversation activity that integrates grammar. Just give students prompts and ask them to list key words that relate to these topics. The activity can target different grammatical elements, cover a variety of linguistic aims and can be used with most levels, ages and large groups. It is also easy to set up and the only aids required are for each student to have a piece of paper and a pen. This simple activity can be used as a warmer, an ice-breaker, or as a productive speaking activity at the end of a grammar lesson.
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This article on information gaps will show you how to teach grammar using the Communicative Approach by integrating a grammar lesson with a speaking skills lesson.
Why do Information Gaps?
An information gap activity is an ideal activity to simulate authentic conversations. This type of activity requires learners to use their second language in order to discover some piece of information that their partner or other group members have. This is after all why we converse: to share information.
An information gap can be used in the practice or productive stage of a grammar lesson to re-enforce a pre-taught grammatical feature. It can also be used to review grammar, or used in a speaking class to engage learners in conversations with a communicative purpose.
This article on teaching grammar focuses on “functions”, what this word means in methodology jargon, and how we can identify functions through context. I would also like to introduce the connection between function and structure and how these concepts are combined in a Communicative Approach lesson.
The word ‘function’ is a term we use from the time the Notional/Functional syllabus was born and it continued to be used in Communicative Language Teaching. When we say something, we say it to communicate that particular thought to the listener. Every single sentence – and sometimes single words- has a function (i.e. meaning that the speaker is trying to convey). Even the word “yes” with falling intonation expresses detachment, non-involvement. Or, a word like ‘Tea?’ with rising intonation may mean an offering.
Why do we need to understand the concept of functions and exponents as English teachers? Well, when we teach grammar communicatively, we teach our students how to express what they want to say, and how to combine words to express those intentions.
Most English teachers feel comfortable teaching a conversation lesson or a lesson that integrates other skills such as listening, reading or writing. They show creativity in those lessons and include a variety of ideas to help their students improve their language skills; however, using creative and varied techniques might be more difficult when teaching a grammar topic.
What is Grammar?
Grammar is the structural ‘rules’ of a language. It covers:
- Syntax: the order in which words and phrases are ordered to create meaningful expressions in a language
- Morphology: word forms and the formation of words by the addition of prefixes and suffixes
- Semantics: the meaning of a language
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What do Teachers Need to Consider? – Teaching Grammar
When teachers are introducing a new grammar point, they need to be aware of the whole range of features that make up the grammar. Teachers need to think about when and how a language structure is used.
Most ESL teachers have heard about the 12 tenses in English, and of the challenges of teaching the Present Perfect tense. Some teachers may be surprised to learn that there are really only two tenses in English.