Teach English in Engebei Zhen - E'erduosi Shi — Ordos

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Grammar and vocabulary are fundamental for any language. While learning vocabulary can be easy for students with good memory and even for those learners who do not have such great natural ability, but use modern applications in their smart phone or other auxiliary materials and tools, learning and understanding of grammar and language patterns bring a lot of complications for many students. In my practice I have faced the next case many times: a student is given a task to fill in the gaps with Present Simple Active, then separately with Present Continuous Active, then separately with Past Simple Active and so on. The student does not usually have any serious troubles with such tasks, containing tenses independently. However, when a learner receives a grammar exercise which includes a mixture of Active Present and Past Tenses, he or she gets really confused, not always understands which tense to use where and makes a lot of mistakes. And here arises a question: Why is it easy for a student to perform a task with only one tense and complicated to do an exercise with the mixture of tenses. I think that the answer is next: a student does not have a systematic and logical structure of English grammar in his head. All the tenses exist separately in his or her mind like pieces of a puzzle and there are no ‘bridges’ between them. So, what can a teacher do to help the student and create these ‘bridges’? The answer is very simple: to teach a learner to analyze the tenses and to compare their usage with the help of special exercises which contain more than one tense. Such exercises can be created by a teacher or taken from special grammar collections. From my point of view, this method should be implemented as early as possible during English language learning process, at least for a pre-intermediate student. The example how this technique works is next: at first a student learns Present Simple Active independently and performs sufficient amount of grammar tasks, then he or she gets familiar with Present Continuous Active, also independently and likewise discharges enough tasks for achieving confidence in this topic. After getting an appropriate degree of understanding both tenses, a student receives a grammar exercise which contains Present Simple and Present Continuous together. So now a student can compare the use of both tenses and improve his or her skills of their proper usage. The ‘bridge’ is created. As soon as a learner gets a satisfactory expertise level, a teacher can proceed with the next topic, for example Past Simple Active. When the learning of Past Simple Active independently is over, the comparison of three tenses’ usage can be conducted: Present Simple, Present Continuous and Past Simple Active. Now the student revises the use of two Present Tenses and compares them with Past Simple. This is the way how a new ‘bridge’ is formed. The same technique is used for Present Perfect, Present Perfect Continues, Past Continuous, Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous Active Tenses. The teacher adds one new tense independently and then helps the learner to compare its usage with the previously learned tenses. At the final stage the student performs exercises which contain eight tenses. This method lets the student summaries all the material learned before and creates ‘bridges’ between tenses and their usage. Based on my experience, I can say that this technique really works and bring very good results. The students start feeling pretty confident in grammar. This assurance helps the learners to improve their writing and speaking skills much easier and quicker. The method described above can be successfully used not only for teaching Active Voices, but also can be implemented for Passive Voices, Conditionals, Modal Verbs and many other grammar topics.