Teach English in BAyanwulan Sumu - Xing'an Meng — Hinggan

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Sentence structure, as part of the grammar field in a language, refers basically to the correct order or words in a sentence or phrase in order to convey the message the way the speaker wants to. It is usually confused with grammar, however as it was mentioned above, it is a form of grammar (most commonly and widely known as syntax) along with morphology. Having clear now what English structure is, and knowing that it definitely needs to be taught to either ESL or EFL students, here is where the question raises, how should English teachers teach English Sentence Structure? In respect to this question, to provide with the best and a complete acquisition of the language instead of just learning the structure, experience has shown that three steps or sections are recommended to successfully teach this unavoidable subject during classes. And those three sections would be teaching the grammatical structure, drilling practice and finally its language function. One of the most important parts of teaching a structure is basically showing it to students. It is necessary to show the order of words (parts of speech), auxiliary words (in questions and, (if needed) in affirmative sentences), and how the verbs are conjugated in that specific tense. It is usually pretty common to show the target structure writing it on the board with markers and providing an example with it, it can also be projected or flash cards with the words can be shown and stuck on the board or wall. Teachers should never leave aside the way learners get the input better, taking into account if they are more visual (to use colors and graphics), or if they are kinesthetic (to have them writing on the board, standing up and order the flashcards by themselves, and so on). In this section, further information that might be needed can be shared and explained; for example if the present perfect structure is being taught, students may first need an introduction to the past participle verbs and their use. Drilling practice. Many teachers around the world find drilling oral practice as one of the best ways for students to acquire a second language. As it is usually explained to prospective or current learners, learning a language is not the same as learning science or math at school; learning a language means, first understanding certain rules, and then practicing that input to be able to produce it whether orally or in written production. Basically, by understanding the rules or structures a person is not necessarily going to have a perfect written nor a perfect oral proficiency, students need to practice. Drilling is an amazing technique to apply at class, it is the perfect way to practice and systematize the structure previously learned. An amazing way to carry out this section could be, first to explain the procedure of the practice, and then students start working on the repetition drillings in pairs, trios or more (always considering the target structure and which amount of people would be better to practice that), pairs and trios are more usual. The teacher just wanders around monitoring students’ performance. Once they have practiced enough, they can do it one last time along with the teacher, as a final review and clarification of doubts. Now, as important as structure and drilling are, the input will not be completely understood and acquired unless the language function is shown to the learners. As it has been studied before, language functions in English, and in any other language, refers to when, where and how a structure is used; most of the time, knowing when to apply a grammar structure in a real life conversation and/or situation is why a language is learned anyways. After going over the structure, practice it with some drilling exercises so it gets mechanized in the student’s “language system”, and after that, it is necessary to immerse them into what a real life situation would be and that it is exactly there and at that moment when the structure might become useful for them. This is exactly when dialogs and role plays become super helpful and practical, and a good recommendation is to set a theme and a specific place, therefore it can be easier for them to recognize those situations where the structure is most commonly used. As a conclusion, it must be stressed that the order here may vary depending on the institution, the teacher or even the approach. The order Structure-Drilling-Language Function is the one that is mostly used, especially when teaching adults, since they usually rather a more structured explanation of certain content before implementing it in an oral practice. However there are many approaches/techniques that language institutes are currently applying, which suggest the implicit teaching of structure among with drilling for example; in some institutes, grammar structures are even banned, seeking for a more communicative approach. And finally it is essential for teachers to always keep into account what kind of students they are handling with, that can always mean an important and very thin “line of fire” between a successful class and one not that successful.