Essay grammar teaching

No grammar lessons?

While reading ‘current issues in the teaching of grammar’ it became clear there are many unresolved issues regarding the necessity of grammatical explanations and lessons. Do we need to ‘teach’ grammar or should it come automatically while creating a safe and an enviroment in which you can develop? And when should grammar be taught?

In our current educational system grammar is considered a main part of a student’s education. However, some see an oportunity in letting students learn grammar in an active way. It should be possible to create an enviroment in which the students can talk and develop only with some guidence and feedback.

On the other hand, if a teacher is not comfortable (yet) or has not got the opportunity to create such an enviroment, when is the best time to start with teaching grammar? Hence it is an extensive subject, it should probably be build up slowly and it might be best to combine English grammar with the first language grammar.

To conclude, in my opinion, students should learn grammar in an active way under guidence and with lots of feedback. However, if this is not a possibility for you, you should probably combine the English and first language grammar.

Missed class assignment

For my missed class assignment I decided to do the: ‘learning classroom English from authentic sources’ assignment. Which consisted of watching an episode of Tough young teachers, focus on what it is about and what classroom language you notice.

Firstly I would like to start with a little summary. I chose to watch the first episode, because I had no idea what to expect. Personally I hadn’t expected it to be this ‘old’. I would have liked it a lot better probably when it was a bit more up to date. However, I did like the content and the idea behind the series. Which is to teach classes with only six weeks of practice. Just learn on the spot.

The six teachers this episode follows are all divided between three school, the one in worse conditions than the other but all not in the quality I would have personally expected from a school. The problem while watching this episode I mostly noticed though, is that I focussed on the way they taught instead of the language they were using, and when I really tried to grasp the vocabulary it wasn’t that ‘special’. I will watch more episodes though, because you see how the teachers are learning in a though environment and learn while making mistakes.

A few things I noticed were:

– They didn’t use proper body language, most of them were just standing. Which, ultimately, resulted in less vocal range.
– The opening of a lesson, and especially the first lesson you teach a class is the most important one. They will always remember that and keep that in the back of their minds the entire year(s).
– They introduced themselves and let the students introduce themselves at the door, so they let all the students come in one by one and say their name. Which I thought was pretty smart, I never considered that, I might give that a try.
– It is of the utmost importance that you know what you are talking about, especially when it is something you decide to incorporate in your lesson. (in the episode one of the teachers mentions Marilyn Monroe, and even has her name and picture on the slide, but doesn’t really know anything about her. And so he couldn’t answer when his students asked him who she really was.)
– One of them called the class “year 7”. I could probably use that when I teach, if I am to address the entire class I can just say the name of the class, for example 1H, instead of ‘guys’ or anything like that.

 

Glossary for the teacher:

Assessment
Tutor

Seating plan

Expect

“are you ready to learn? I am, I will have to learn all of your names”

To spot something

To do something on the spot

Behaviour

Good boy, well done

Let’s see who else is working..

Let’s go through..

See you tomorrow

Your hand flew up!

Learning objective

Apathetic (having no concern or emotion)

(de)motivating

Low ability

Please

Have you given it a try?

Have a good day

See you tomorrow

 

 Glossary for the students:

Please

How do you say/spell..

Thank you

Yes Ms. / No Ms.

No I haven’t/ Yes I have

Expect

Tutor

Test

Assignment

Seating plan

Bye

See you tomorrow

Madam

Learning objective

Yes it did/no it didn’t

Lifeless lesson

Active

Teaching grammar to speakers of other languages.

Another homework assignment, which entailed reading an article by Penny Ur, in the book: ‘teaching English grammar to speakers of other languages.’ By Eli Hinkel.

The assignment:

Personalization – A writing series of lessons, the introduction including writing/telling a short story about an experience they had with a zoo.

Higher-order thinking – Make a drawing from a description or the other way around.

Tasks with content outcomes – Murderer game/who did it.

Game-like activity – Simon says.

The personalization task is a personal form of output, completed with experiences and opinions, rather than an actual “lesson”. The high-order thinking makes the pupils think about what is said rather than how it is said or how to respond. The task with content outcomes gives a solution to a given problem rather than seeing the actual problem (could also be used with the one above). The game like activity is mostly used as a way to remember former lessons or theories.