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Teaching Grammar InContext: Basic

Principles
Jeremy Beal
English Language Fellow
U.S.A. / Indonesia
International CamTESOL Conference
February 22, 2014

Learning Grammar: Theoretical


Principles
Automaticity
Language parts (e.g., grammar) become
automatic
The speaker is focused on communicating
Too much grammar explanation = lower
automaticity

Learning Grammar: Theoretical


Principles
Meaningful Learning
Learning is retained when connected with prior
knowledge
Grammar is best learned in-context
Learning grammar rules without context
can be boring.
leads to poor long-term retention.
leads to inability to use the grammar in communication.

Learning Grammar: Theoretical


Principles
Deep Thinking
Students figure out
language patterns
themselves
Learners develop their
interlanguage
Grammar is taught
inductively

Principle #1: Teach Form, Meaning,


& Use
Example: Present Perfect
Form: has/have + past participle
Meaning: 1) refers to past action or situation
2) refers to action begun in the past that
continues in the present

Principle #1: Teach form, meaning,


& use
Example: Present Perfect
Use:1) Describe past experiences
Ive never been to Cambodia before.
2) Describe continuing situations
Ive taught English for several years.
3) Describe completed actions in a current time period
Ive read three books this month.

Principle #2: Teach one thing at a


time
Grammar is complicated
and
it takes time to master
so
Dont confuse your
students!
Teach one grammar use per
lesson!

Principle 3: Introduce each grammatical


structure in a realistic context
Think, In what situations is this grammar
normally used?
Songs
Stories
Newspaper or magazine articles
Conversations
Movies
Act it out!

Example: Conversation with Simple Past

A: So, how was your weekend?


B: Pretty good. I didnt do very much, but I
caught up on sleep and just relaxed a lot at
home. How was yours?
A: It was great! On Saturday I went and saw
a concert, and on Sunday I went to the
waterpark.
B: Oh, really? What concert did you go to?
A: The Glenn Fredly concert. It was

Act it out!
Present Perfect Verbs:

Oh, no! Ive lost my keys.


Have you seen them anywhere?

Principle 4: Use inductive teaching


whenever possible
Deductive: Teacher tells students grammar patterns directly
Inductive: Teacher guides students
They figure out grammar patterns themselves
Guide students by
oproviding lots of examples
oasking questions
odrawing their attention to important features of the text

Inductive Teaching: Form


Present Perfect

Simple Past

Ive lost my keys.

I lost my keys yesterday.

I havent slept all night.

I didnt sleep last night.

Ive been to Singapore


twice this year.

I went to Singapore twice


last year.

Ive already eaten


breakfast.

I ate breakfast early


today.

Ive had a bad week.

I had a bad week last

Inductive Teaching: Meaning


What is the meaning of these sentences?

Ive already eaten


breakfast.

I ate breakfast this


morning.

Answer: I ate breakfast today, in the morning.


Both sentences have the same meaning!!!
So what is the difference???

Inductive Teaching: Use


Look at the time periods used with Simple Past:
I lost my keys yesterday.
I didnt sleep last night.
I went to Singapore twice last year.
I had a bad week last week.
What do these time periods have in common?

Inductive Teaching: Use


Look at the time periods used with Present Perfect:
Ive lost my keys.
I havent slept all night.
Ive been to Singapore twice this year.
Ive had a bad week.
What do these time periods have in common?

Inductive Teaching: Use


Simple Past

Present Perfect

yesterday
last night
last year
early today
last week

(today)
all night
this year
(today)
(this week)

finished time periods


specific times

unfinished time periods


sometimes time is not
mentioned

Principle 5: Short explanations, lots


of
practice
Keep grammar explanations short and simple.
Spend most class time using the grammar.
Example: Present perfect often introduces a story.
Simple past often gives the details of the story.

Principle 6: Move quickly to


communicative
activities
Communicative activities
Make learning meaningful
Build automaticity
Use activities that simulate real-life
communication
Use both spoken and written activities

Principle 6: Move quickly to


communicative
activities
Sample Activity #1
Tell your partner about your week!
Ive had a great/bad week.
On Monday, my bike had a flat tire on the way
to school.
On Tuesday, I lost my wallet with a lot of
money in it.

Principle 6: Move quickly to


communicative
activities
Sample Activity #2
Person A: My cat has
wandered off again.
Have you seen him?
Person B: Yes, I have. I
saw him one hour ago in
the park. He was chasing
squirrels.

Summary: 6 Principles
1.Teach form, meaning, and use.
2.Teach one thing at a time.
3.Introduce each grammar structure in a realistic context.
4.Use inductive teaching whenever possible
5.Give short explanations and lots of practice.
6.Move quickly to communicative activities.

Sample lesson sequence


1) Introduce topic/preview vocabulary
2) Read news article
3) Check students understanding of the article
4) Help students notice grammar features
5) Guide students to explain the grammatical pattern
6) Practicestudents recreate the news story from
noun/verb cues
7) Practicestudents write a news story following the
grammar pattern

Sample Lesson Sequence


Preview Key Vocabulary
volcano
evacuate
ash

Sample Lesson Sequence


Read news article and check for understanding
Help students notice grammar features

Underline the verb in the first sentence. What


verb
tense is it?
Underline the verbs in other sentences. What
verb
tense is used?

Sample Lesson Sequence


Guide students to explain the grammar

With a partner, describe how verb tenses


are used in this article.
Present perfect describes the overall event.
Simple past describes the details.

Sample Lesson Sequence


Practice
With a partner, use the following clues to rewrite
the news article. Dont look at the original article!

volcano
spew ash

erupt

East Java

houses collapse

flee
airports

Sample Lesson Sequence


Practice:
Write a new news story.
Pay attention to the verb tense pattern.

Topic: Prisoner escape from jail.

This presentation will be posted at:

www.mengajarenglish.com
Any questions?
Contact info:
Jeremy Beal
jeremy.beal@gmail.com