Friday, 17 February 2012

Making Grammar and vocabulary fun.

Let’s start with what students need to really understand a language point.

§ Contextualised language – language out of context can mean different things.

§ Focus on Meaning Use and Form – whether it is explained by the teacher or worked out by the students, the students need to know what language means, how to put it together and when to use it.

§ Focus on Pronunciation

§ Practice

§ Confidence – if we over-correct students they will never build the confidence to perform in the language.

There are different ways to present grammar, different orders to do things, we can work with the language in the book or the language the students produce themselves. No approach is wrong or right. It is what is right for you and your class.

Let’s reflect on some of the activities demonstrated in class.

Making Controlled Practice more engaging

Grammar joker

Award points for correct answers to a gap-fill type exercise. But ask students to nominate one sentence they are sure of. If they get that sentence correct they get 2 points instead of one, but if they get it wrong they lose a point.

The team or student with the most points at the end wins.

This adds a competitive element to the activity.


Good for multiple choice gap fills. Have different areas of the room assigned to different alternatives.

Read out the questions and ask the students to move to the right place in the room. Award a point to every student who gets a correct answer (it is often a good idea to give them a piece of paper or a ball or something) ask the ones who got it wrong to sit down. (they sit out just the next question).

Repeat for question 2 for question three invite those who got question 1 wrong to join in.

The idea is that controlled practice is often quite sedentary. This gets the students up and moving and that movement can increase concentration levels.

Make it correct

This is useful when students have two options to choose from in a controlled practice exercise. Ask the students to do the exercise and get feedback as usual. The ask them to look at the sentences to again and try to change them to make the incorrect alternative correct.

This makes the students think about what makes a sentence correct and incorrect and makes things more memorable.

Ways to practice grammar

Picasso grammar

We have probably all played Pictionary with our students with vocabulary but how about with grammar too. Give the students a sentence and they have to draw it. Their colleagues have to guess the sentence and try to get it word perfect.

None of us

In order for speaking tasks to be real communication their needs to be a reason to communicate, to not only speak but to listen too. When doing speaking tasks it often seems that students are taking it in terms to deliver little monologues.

The simplest way to add a task is to create a ‘me too or me neither’ feeling. So students have to find things in common or differences with colleagues. The example we saw in the session was getting students in groups of four and ask them to find things that was true only about 1 person in that group, true about 2 people, true about 3 or true about all of them.

Google it

Tell students to

§ Go to Google – other search engines are available

§ Put a phrase in the search engine use “ “

e.g “used to work”

§ Hit search and see what results you get.

§ Ask students to make a note of the sentences and bring them in to the next lesson

For the vocabulary ideas I demonstrated and more click here

Hope this is useful and thought-provoking.

No comments:

Post a Comment