Grammar is an important part of English language learning. Without it language communication becomes pointless, when speakers can’t say or write a sentence correctly, as it gives a different meaning if not said or written correctly.
In foreign language acquisition accurate understanding of the language structure is the key part to teaching grammar. Teachers have always debated about the correct way to teach English grammar and to make the teaching effective for long term use. There are different ways to teach grammar or should we say ‘the rules of the language’. They mean the same really. Grammar will give learners the competence how to combine words to form correct sentences.
To create fully developed sentences, English grammar knowledge is important. With little understanding of how language functions, learners cannot develop their language skills. But when you learn one point then another, it is like building the bricks of a wall to understand and use the language correctly.
Course of English and English Grammer
Grammar is usually taught during a course of English, with set rules and set ways of teaching the grammar point, depicted by the material provider. There are lots of different courses available nowadays, from private lessons to private schools and to lessons online, but one thing all courses and teaches agree on, is what grammar point should be taught at each level of English.
Beginners are taught simple tenses first, the verb ‘to be’ or the present simple. Advanced students are taught the more completed grammar points like the second or third conditionals. At LuckyKids, we have written materials and exercises for certain levels on certain grammar points. During the camp children are taught in different classes based on their English level. This is decided by the entry level test results. The fourteen day camp or even the seven day camp will be a revisal session for some students, but for some they will come across the grammar point for the first time.
How We Teach a Grammar Point?
First of all, let’s look at how a grammar point is usually taught in a normal classroom environment. The teacher will read or get a student to read the grammar rule or rules. They might use a white board if a time line is needed or write some example sentences to quickly check for understanding of the grammar point.
Students usually do a couple of exercises after this, to practice this grammar point. The teacher will then normally go through the answers and the students correct their mistakes. The students usually do an exercise which is a conversation of the grammar point being taught. In a normal public school this is a normal way of teaching, but there a few things missing for successful understanding.
Let’s look at how a grammar point is taught at LuckyKids, here at LuckyKids the grammar point is taught slightly different. The English class teacher will go through a power point presentation with the children, asking and answering questions as a group during the slides, they might even do a few short exercises too as a team. When children have a discussion they tend to remember it better. After the presentation the teacher goes through some notes of the grammar rule, double checking understanding of the grammar point covered for that day.
Once understanding is confirmed by all students then they do some exercises. Once the exercises are completed the teacher and the class got through them together, checking and discussing the answers as a team, pointing out the reason for a certain answer or asking a student to explain the reasoning for their mistake and giving feedback as they go. This type of teaching is called ‘teaching in context’; students are also encouraged to use the grammar point being taught during the lesson.
Both of the above ways cover the grammar point, the same amount of exercises and work has been covered in both ways, but the second way has more added details, more explanation, more discussion, but most importantly more feedback. At LuckyKids, discussion is important for several reasons. It helps children or should I say students to remember what is being taught, it is also more enjoyable and when things are enjoyable, people, memory is increased. But the discussions are usually based on the students’ lives and not a text about something like checking in at the airport which only happens occasionally in students’ lives.
Skill of Questioning
Another important job as a teacher at LuckyKids is the skill of questioning. This is a fundamental part of English language learning, which will potentially help learners become more aware of their language use and rules.
Rather than repeatedly teaching grammar rules in class, and teachers try to ask questions where students need to use the grammar they’ve just learnt or if a student makes a mistake and doesn’t notice their error. It is then put to the class to correct the error, this also builds confidence in students using the language. This helps the students realise the importance of the rule and see it in use. LuckyKids teachers and other students also give the feedback that is needed to help them succeed with the language later on.
Why is feedback important from a group when learning?
At LuckyKids, it is not just the teacher that gives it, the students work in a team, so feedback comes from other students as well. Students of the same age can often explain things differently from teachers and this helps a weaker student remember the feedback better or the grammar point.
Feedback is there all the time, most of the time though in English classrooms it is negative feedback, you need both negative and positive feedback for it to be effective. Positive feedback is very important, it encourages more work at a better standard than before, and praising someone or expressing appreciation inspires people to do better. Negative feedback is also important; it is how we learn to improve ourselves for the better. In public schools or even some private schools, too much negative feedback is given, this has a negative effect, but when it comes from another student it can have a different effect.
Grammar that is also taught in the first half of the lessons is then used and practiced when the children make and present their Google slides presentations at the end of their stay. Children at LuckyKids use and learn English most of the time as it’s an English camp, and using the correct forms, groups of words and language structure can be heard on an ongoing basis which also helps children with their grammar understanding and use.
So in conclusion learning English Grammar is more effective and enjoyable at LuckyKids as they are taught not only with modern technology but with modern methods of teaching. Teaching Grammar in the normal way (or should I say the old way as that has been the norm for a very long time) can be boring for both teachers and students, a new approach is needed.
Most students that have been at camp have cringed at the thought of doing ‘Grammar’, but most have said afterwards that they enjoyed the lessons and they like the way the lessons are structured and they have learnt a lot from them.