- For Teachers
I would like to know how to teach grammar in an original way, which will not be boring as it usually is....
What follows is just my opinion.
In the past, a lot of grammar teaching was boring. I think this was because many people taught grammar as an end in itself.
One way to stop the teaching of grammar becoming boring is to stop the teaching of grammar! Many of use still teach our students too much about the language, and spend too little time enabling them to use the language. I believe that teachers need to know the structure of the language in order to be able to present materials effectively and to guide learners towards correct patterns. I am sure that some students learn better if they have some formal knowledge of grammar, but such knowledge is a turn-off for many.
In the last decade I have seen tests with such questions as:
Underline the phrasal verbs in the following sentences.
Name the types of underlined clauses (conditional, concessive, etc) in the following passage.
Conjugate the past progressive of 'go'. (I really saw that. )
We have a lot of questions in the Ask a Teacher forum about the correct labels for word, phrases, clauses, etc. I sometimes think that the teachers of the people who ask these questions are running a course in grammar terminology rather than a course in how to use the language.
Until less than a century ago, probably 99% of the world's population became fluent speakers of their own languages without any knowledge at all of any grammar. Most people who acquired a knowledge of one or more foreign languages did so without any formal teaching. Indeed, the experience of many people who were taught a foreign language at school until well into the twentieth century was one of dismal failure - though they often knew a lot of splendid rules. A personal note - I began to learn French in the 1950s. I could identify and produce imperfect subjunctive and past anterior forms of verbs in French long before I could ask the way to the railway station.
If a knowledge of formal grammar helps a learner produce language, then don't deprive them of it - they will probably not be bored, because it is helping them do what they want to do. However, don't teach grammar for its own sake. A tiny minority of learners (I was one such) may be interested, but most won't. Why should they be? It's a little like being forced to learn how an internal combustion engine works in order to be able to drive a car.
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