Teach English in Huotian Zhen - Zhuzhou Shi

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How to teach grammar? Grammar can be considered as the main base of any language. It holds the language together and gives true power to the learners to speak or write the language confidently and more accurately. That being said, grammar in any language is certainly one of the most difficult part for many students to learn and for teachers to teach. According to my experience as a teacher and as a student, I would agree that grammar is one of the most challenging part of language learning. Since grammar is often taught in everyday class, students could find it boring at some point. The word grammar itself has quite a negative note to it and often terrorizes students. Teachers on the other hand will have their own difficulties in terms of teaching and demonstrating key concepts of the grammar. So how can we teach grammar effectively? It’s a good thing that teachers were once students and that they can reflect on this to understand their students’ emotions and motivation in the classroom. First and foremost, a teacher will need to prepare ahead and be confident in the grammatical point that is about to be taught. Understanding grammar may also be quite challenging for teachers, which is why it is very important to learn and understand the topic confidently before lecturing it to the class. No teacher would want to find themselves standing in front of a group of students not fully understanding the grammar focus for the lesson. It would surely impact their confidence and they would most definitely lose their students’ trust. If a teacher struggles to prepare his/her lesson due to a lack of their own understanding, it would most definitely be hard for students to understand. A firm understanding of the grammar is essential. This may call for extra research and the preparation should be done thoroughly. Motivation will always be a crucial advantage to drive students to learn grammar and enjoy the lesson. However, depending on the age group that the teacher is teaching, motivating them can be very diverse. As an example from this course, when teaching primary level and lower students, motivation will need to be short and sweet. This is mostly done in the very first part of the lesson with clear, understandable and fun engaging tasks. Furthermore, a young group will draw more attention to sentence graphics than just a plain document text. Learning grammatical rules with diagrams, pictures or videos is like learning a game, which is more attractive and engaging for younger learners. Motivating high school and older groups on the other hand is quite different in a way of presenting the lesson. Getting older students motivated can be a longer process compared to the younger groups. Older students at this point will most likely focus on their careers in the future and most of them have faced the real world. Therefore, to motivate this older group, a teacher will need to prepare a lesson related to their current or future jobs/situations. Engaging them with real life articles or topics is something that works well as it opens up conversation and interest. In this way, students can also see that the grammatical point is used in everyday life and has value. This course provided plenty of methods to use when teaching grammar effectively. The following is what I’ve found the most beneficial to help improve my teaching practice. These are most certainly things that I’d like to reflect on when planning and evaluating my lessons. • It’s always good to put the grammar point into context rather than just teach it alone as it makes it more interesting and shows students the relevance of the point covered. • Explain it clearly with examples and plan tasks that allow students to put the grammar point into practice. This will allow them to measure their progress and they will feel a sense of pride at forming their new grammatical structure. • Let students make mistakes and look over them once the whole task is finished. It is best to allow students to carry on speaking and avoid repetitive interruption. Certain grammatical mistakes may not need commenting on and stopping them frequently could also break their confidence. • Always put things on the board so students have visual aid. Board work is very important and should also be thought about when planning lessons as most students like to see the structure of the grammatical rule in order to process it. • Always anticipate questions that students may have so that you are ready to answer them. A teacher should make himself/herself aware of the types of questions that often come up. • Having some knowledge of student’s native language can also be useful. It enables a teacher to raise similarities and differences in the grammar used. In conclusion, teaching grammar will always be a challenge to both teachers and students. Certain grammatical points are not thought about so much when using the language at a native level. It is not until one has to teach it that one starts truly understanding the science behind the complexity of grammar. However, it is not something that students or teachers should be put off by. I believe that as long as the teacher is confident and has prepared an effective and engaging lesson, enjoyment and progress will be evident. After all, combining learning and fun is a teacher’s finest formula to have successful language students.