Using topical grammar to enhance language learning
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
The various subskills of grammar, listening, reading, writing and cultural awareness all work together in the language acquisition process. Grammar is especially important to ensure communication, but the material presented should be meaningful and relevant to the learners' daily lives.
The following examples make suggestions for the introduction of grammar in a topical, interactive way. The learners need to become so involved in their activities that they learn the grammar without having to think about the rules. The underlying principle is learning English by using English.
A short dialogue or reading introduces grammar in context rather than in isolation, making it easier for the learners to acquire the structures in a more natural fashion.
Example: Read the passage, and then fill in the blanks.
Jose, Maria and Carlos worked at the Grand Hotel in
1. Jose worked at the registration desk last year.
2. Jose ________ the guests check in.
3. Jose didn't _______ at the City Inn Hotel. He _________ the Grand Hotel.
4. He _____ care of reservations.
5. He also ________ the mail out each day.
Example: Use a picture or set of visuals as an introduction for a new structure-place and time expressions. Hand out a city map, or project it if AV equipment is available.
1. Where is the movie theater? It is ______ the shoe store. (students say or write "next to")
2. Is the bookstore across from the restaurant?
3. On which street is the bookstore?
4. How do you get to the grocery from the post office?
These communication activities allow the learners to see and hear the structures in action and concentrate on gathering information.
"Knowing how, when and why to say what to whom." All the linguistic and social knowledge required for effective human-to-human interaction is encompassed in those 10 words.
Traditionally, grammar focused on the how, but a more interactive model puts grammar teaching into context that encourages the learning of the ability to communicate in meaningful ways. Grammar should be taught in context and reviewed on a regular basis.
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