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7 Tips for Effective Grammar Instruction

by Shirley Gomez | 02 Jan 2017
Resource Description:

Learning grammar can be a tedious task especially for students who grew up in other countries where the process of learning grammar is quite different from what they experience here.  The following are seven tips that can help a grammar teacher make the learning experience fun, interesting, and productive for students. An acrostic based on the word grammar is used to make these tips easy to remember.

Audience: Adult, Elementary, Secondary
Audience Language Proficiency: Beginner, Intermediate
Teaching Tip:

The first letter in grammar, g, stands for give, as in give students ample time to process what is being taught. Due to time restrictions, teachers may find themselves rushing through a lesson simply because it has to be covered. Students, particularly those learning a second language, need to be allotted enough time for their brains to process new information. And when checking for understanding, allow some wait time for students to contemplate the question and answer.

The second letter, r, stands for review. Not all students spend time outside of the classroom studying what has been taught. Doing a review of grammar concepts formerly taught helps their minds recall and even retain what has been learned. Begin class with a review by spending at least 5 to 7 minutes going over what has been taught the day before. For example, if pronouns were previously discussed, then either go over this concept briefly or have students provide examples of sentences with pronouns to ensure that they do understand.

The next letter in the word grammar, a, stands for accommodate. Every student comes with his or her personal learning style and needs. It is important to adapt your methods of instruction to accommodate your students’ needs.  For instance, there are times when direct instruction or pair work are essential. Then there are times when individualized instruction is needed to assist a student who is struggling in class. Accommodating also means using varied methods of instruction to cater to the various learning styles that are present in your classrooms.

The fourth letter, m, stands for motivate. Students, especially those with low self-confidence, need constant motivation. They need to be encouraged to ask questions and to voice out any difficulty they may be experiencing with regard to comprehending the lesson at hand. Not all students are confident enough to ask questions for fear that they may be perceived as “dumb.” These insecure students fear being ridiculed especially when they are surrounded by others who they perceive to be smarter. Make it a point to encourage students to ask questions when they don’t understand, and always provide positive feedback when they are able to answer questions correctly.

The second m stands for make as in make grammar fun. As mentioned before learning grammar can be a tedious and monotonous task which is why it is important to make your lessons interesting. Students are more participative when they enjoy the class. On the other hand, students lose interest when they feel the class is boring. Incorporate games and fun activities along with varied forms of instruction to help keep students engaged and interested. Even try including a fun music video to go along with your lesson.

The sixth letter, a, stands for assessment. Assessment is a vital part of ESL instruction for it provides much needed information-specifically, information on whether the lesson has been grasped by the students or not. It dictates whether a lesson should be retaught perhaps in a different way or if the students are ready to proceed to the next one. Constantly assess students to ensure that comprehension is indeed taking place.

The final letter in the word grammar, r, stands for relevant. Making the lesson relevant to the students allows for comprehension to take place. When students feel what they are learning is relevant to their lives, then interest on the subject matter automatically follows. Before conducting instruction, explain the relevance of the lesson you are about to teach and how knowledge gained from it can be useful to their daily lives.

In conclusion, these 7 tips, if considered and followed, can help you teach grammar, or any other subject for that matter, successfully. Remembering these tips when planning lessons will help you come up with activities that will be both engaging and interesting for the students.