Grammar is the backbone of the language, it’s the river that flows to reach the sea. Without grammar we can’t build an effective communication. Teaching Grammar is both a burden and a must for teachers and learners aside. But,why not to get grammar out the Dark Ages of explicit teaching to the Golden Age of Fun and Implicit strategies.
As teachers, we should know that there is a strong relationship between the grammar concepts, the instructions(strategy/material) and learner’s achievements.
If we want to teach grammar to this new generation of learners, we need to think out of the box. Old-fashioned teaching methods are of no use today. Technology made of the world a small village where people are in need of communication(either orally or written) to learn about other cultures and lifestyles and so are our learners.
In the past, I remember very well that our teachers used to set rules before giving us tasks and activities to do. If I to assess this method, on a personal basis, I find that my teachers have succeeded in spoon feeding us. Because we used to go home and memorize the rules by heart so that the next day we get tested on them. But on the other side, we were not able to communicate, we were not given the chance to put these grammar concepts into a real practice.. A practice that leads us to use English outside school with friends and relatives.
For the new Golden Age , grammar is taught implicitly to help learners use their critical thinking, to analyze and set rules themselves. There is no need for a teacher to give rules it’s the learner who does the task. Here we set the question :
How can I make my learners set grammar rules themselves and at the same time reach my objective which is communication?
7 Tips to Teach Golden Age Grammar:
- Teaching Through Contexts:
Grammar is based on contexts rather than rules . It’s top down teaching which starts with a large view of the subject without explaining the components. It aims at motivating learners and directing them to interact using their own experiences and backgrounds. To achieve an effective interaction from learners, we need to have great care in choosing this context. there are different criteria to take into consideration while choosing the topics:
a. A topic of interest for learners.
b.It covers learners needs.
c.A familiar topic with easy language so that you focus on the grammar rather than explaining the new vocabulary.
d.It suites learners’ age and mental development.
e.It doesn’t go beyond the society ethics, culture and religion.
In one class, the teacher can encounter different learners with different learning styles. The teacher should take differentiation into account while preparing his grammar lesson plans. VACT (Visual_ Auditory_ Tactile_
Kinesthetic )is to be place on the lesson plan so that the teacher can use different tasks within the same lesson and he can cover different learning styles.
a.Visual Learning: This category of learners prefer to read by looking at things and reading them.
b.Auditory Learning: This category of learners prefer to listen to songs, conversations, dialogues, interviews.
c.Tactile learning: This category of learners prefer to touch and manipulate objects, they love craft sessions.
d. Kinesthetics Learning: This category of learners prefer to move around and learn from peers.(spy games as an example)
Taking Learners styles into account leads the teacher to choose the suitable materials and strategies that will accompany the context.
Grammar can be dry an hard to teach if we don’t get learners engaged.Materials are of crucial importance in a foreign language class. They make teaching amusing , save time and efforts. Also, they decrease the use of the first language. Now, when it comes to the choice of materials, the teacher has to be smart. If I to choose confusing materials for my learners then it’s better not to use them. There are different kinds of materials that a teacher can use to teach grammar: songs, videos, audios, flashcards, games,physical activities and the list never ends.
4. Using Diagrams:
The use of diagrams such as the spider or the mind map diagrams in teaching grammar lessons is very useful .Grammar is vast and it may take a lifetime to master it. Also , learners find it confusing and challenging for them to remember the rules. Using these diagrams within the color-code makes memorization easier and more effective.
5. The Teacher’s updating:
The teacher is the engine that runs the teaching-learning process.If this engine is not updated it’ll be rusted. Therefore, as teachers we need to refresh our knowledge on a regular basis. Even though, the teacher knows about the rule, he has to look for more details in order to be prepared for any sudden question from learners.
6. Creativity is a Must:
As an updating phase, the teacher looks for ideas and search for new strategies to motivate his learners .It’s a good thing to do but it doesn’t mean that the teacher shouldn’t think on his own. Many of the materials found on the internet do not work well for your learners’ (level, culture, objective…) so you find yourself adapting and trying hard to make them useful. Why not to design your own materials. Putting efforts in your teaching makes it tastier and unique. Each teacher has creativity inside, all he has to do is to free it and to sacrifice for it. Because it’ll take time and efforts.
7. Learners’ Remediation:
After a long process you go through to transmit knowledge to your learners comes the assessment. Assessing learners with tasks and tests makes the teacher stressed. After all the efforts and the time he has devoted for the learners , they fail in answering several tasks. Don’t panic and don’t be angry, just relax and try to figure up the flaws of your lessons in order to get better results when you deal with the remediation sessions. Don’t get upset or angry if your learners fail just have faith in yourself and in them. Do your best to create new ideas and strategies to help them.