Grammar in a spoonful of sugar anyone?

3 tips to nail your grammar lessons

When you say the word grammar, does your class suddenly give you the blank stare of death? Or perhaps you have a more mature class and they become overly focused on rules and lose sight of the communication goal of language. Whatever the reaction it causes, I find grammar lessons challenging.

It’s not that I am not good at grammar, I quite like it actually. But I’ve lived through many not-so-great grammar lessons (#introspectiveteacher).

1. Research how to explain it

It’s one thing to understand grammar it’s another thing to explain it. For this, YouTube is my best friend. Watch at least a couple of videos to see how others do it and either use the video in class or use the best of. One thing I told myself after some confusing and a little humiliating attempts and improvising… Never…ever improvise. At least I won’t.

2. Keep drills short

I had a teacher in university who used to say, “use a guerilla attack approach to grammar.” I think what she meant was, to keep it short, explain, practice, correct and move to the next thing.

3. Follow it up with a communication activity

Ideally, your next activity is a more communication-based activity that can provoke the context to use that grammar item. For that, I have made many suggestions in other blog posts (the list is at the end of this post).

Grammar challenges us (teachers and students) in different ways. It can be complex, dry and full of exceptions. Being overly focused on grammar comes at the cost of losing authentic dialogue. However, being underly focused can compromise accuracy. It’s a bit like poaching an egg, it’s not enough to know what an egg is, or how to boil water, it’s the subtle interaction of both that makes the dish. By the way, I also have a lesson on how to poach eggs. 😜

Here are some of Whole Language lessons I have that focus on grammar: