Teach English in Magang Zhen - Xianning Shi

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Foreword: When i wrote my previous essay, I indicated that after some tought, I hesitated between the subjects of teaching vocabulary and teaching grammar. I opted for writing an essay about teaching the former, as i believe then as now, that words are the most fundamental, the most basic building block(s) for/of(the aquisition of) any language and concordantly, teaching the words is the most vital, most basic elemant of them all. However, after written the first essay, I would like to continue by diving deeper into the second element, namely, teaching grammar, as after having obtained a fair amount of vocabulary, it is timeto put it into the correct order. In which case, grammar, the mechanics of the language ( any language for that matter) come into play. Why is teaching and/or learning grammar important? Because without it, no language would or could sustain itself if there aren't or wouldn't be a set of rules which make the language a coherent, self-containing entity. Planning and target audience. There are numerous problems which one faces when one teaches grammar to one's audience. Oncemore, I find myself placed at the disadvantage of not being informed what my target audience is and concordantly, I am merely able to provide general advice. Nevertheless, this also brings me to my first step in the sense that like before when it comes to teaching words, one has to make a careful plan, whilst heading one's target audience. Are they young children? How old? Have they got a certain amount of experience or none at all? What is also not unimportant is to what extent - if any - does their own native tonque's grammar overlap that of English? The reason i am mentioning this here is that this too in some cases might be of any help, as comparisons might be drawn. This becomes harder when this isn't the case. For instance:Germanic languages for instance have a certain degree of overlap when it comes to certain grammatical aspects. This isn't always the case when it comes to Latin languages and even less so when one deals with the Asian languages. That too is a factor to consider when one creates a lesson plan. Rote learning or application? There are roughly three ways grammar can be taught, Rote learning, inductive reasoning and apllication, also known as deductive or meaningful learning, although i find the latter term somewhat prejudiced as it implies a certain superiority over the other methods. Each has its merits and weaknesses but one should be careful not to rely too much on one form or the other. Here, perhaps more than teaching vocabulary, flexibility has to be the key. Still in order to provide at least some useful advice, it can be stated that the younger the audience is, the more one has to rely on rote learning. For instance,European children, roughly between the ages 10 and 12 learn the continuous forms by rote learning whereas (young) adults are mostly taught through a combination of direct application and/or inductive learning, that is, confronting them with the mechanics and allowing them to work out the rules either by themselves (for advanced students ) or with the help of their teacher, which is the most common method. Simply phrased, when it comes to the basic grammatical elements, rote learning might be useful in the sense that it can be used to engrain a certain concept or fact into the memory of young learners. However, as soon as students are older, I would advice to step away from rote learning as quickly as possible, as one of the weaknesses of the former is that it can be boring and might lead to a loss of focus. It's better to either confront them with the grammar rule as -is (thereby automatically revealing one's lesson plan) and let the students work with the concept until they understand or, alternatively, and wholly deductive, let students work with the grammar rule one intends to teach, but only confront them with the rule afterwards, in other words, let them work towards discovering the rule. A quick note here: I would only advice to apply this latter method when working with the most advanced students, who already possess a fair amount of knowledge and are thus able to compare and/or deduce grammatical rules. Still, in order to double check if students are capable of reproducing and applying the grammar rule one intended to teach, a teacher might opt for a deliberate repetition at the end of a lesson, produced by the students themselves. A kind of rote fact checking if one whises to call it that. After all, if either an inductive or deductive experiment has succesfully been completed, students should be able to repeat and apply the rule in an almost drill like, continuous manner. Likewise, when one deals with younger students and after having drilled them, the rot method can be used in order to check if the students are able to reproduce the knowledge without assistance. Summarized, I would provide the following tips, again based on the voice of experience: - The younger the students are, the more one works rote learning. (becareful not to make the subject too difficult and check beforehand if the subject lends itself for such a style.) - Try to step away from rote learning as soon as possible, intermidiate students who are somewhat older but still less advanced, could for instance still be confronted with the grammar rule and be instructed to set out to prove its validity. - With regard to working with the most advanced students, I would advise to try to work with deductive reasoning/working towards a goal. - Rote learning can be used as a last step, in which it can be called rote checking. After all, if all students, regardless of level have attained their goal, they should be able to successfully repeat the rule one intended to teach in the first place.