Teach engaging English grammar lessonsTraditionally, teaching language is associated with learning grammar rules. And why not? Without structure you have nothing to build communication on. Communicating would be nothing more than hit or miss if we didn’t know how to arrange the words.

 Learning English in school is often about the rules and mastering them.  Instead of developing your ability to use English in meaningful ways, the emphasis may have been on passing tests.

But teaching English is instead about giving your students opportunities to use the language. It is about creating an environment where perfect grammar is not the only acceptable display of language proficiency. 

The following points will help you see that shooting for perfect grammar may not be the way to go. Read more

Grammar review lessons are so important to help in the correction of fossilized errors and to clarify any misconceptions or confusions. At lower levels, students are often taught grammar topics in isolation without much of a sense of how the grammar is used in relation with other language points. One of the key lessons I learned as a new teacher was to take the grammar that students have previously learned and to teach them not only communicative but out of isolation.

One way to review grammar is to use sample sentences that the teacher hears them use regularly. This way the language is being taught in the most communicative way and the language begins to come alive to the students. They are also more likely to fix fossilized errors as they begin to notice the ones they commonly use as they are written down and analyzed.

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Teaching Relative Clauses - TESOL / TEFL Teaching EnglishRelative clauses are a rather complex grammar structure, but teachers can help their students to learn this structure in fun and communicative ways by thinking about where the ‘language lives’ in our every day life and how we use it. The three games and activities I will explain below are a great way to teach relative clauses while integrating writing, speaking, reading, and listening skills.

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Elicitation - Teaching GrammarThe idea of eliciting questions in TESOL is not necessarily to get students to produce the target language. It is to elicit the function and the form. So, for example, if the target language is wh-questions, the goal in the elicitation is not to get students to produce a wh-question, but to get them to realize what the function is (asking) and what the structure is (grammatical form). So, their answers will not be the target form (like What is your name); it will be things like Ask a question or Question-word and do and base form.
Below you can find an example of eliciting function and form using past perfect. The assumption here is that students have not learned the form or function before (You have a bit more to lean on when students have some prior exposure).


Excerpt from OnTESOL’s tutor explaining how to elicit questions to our 250-hour TESOL Diploma trainee! 

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How to Teach Gerunds and InfinitivesGerunds — 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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How to teach grammar with songsThe 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.

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Teaching prefixesA 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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Teaching English Conversation class with grammar‘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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Information Gaps Teaching English with TESOL CertificationThis 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.

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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.

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Teaching Grammar: Structure and Function - TESOL course 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.

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