Grammar class need not be a plate of unappealing boiled vegetables served to your students. I’m talking about the glassy-eyed looks, the bored of even the ones taking notes. And you! Are you as enthusiastic about teaching a grammar class as you are a speaking class? It’s time to change your perspective and show your students why grammar isn’t just necessary for a test. Grammar holds the key to communicating their ideas, needs, and dreams.
Your View of Grammar is Your Albatross
Maybe you were forced to diagram pages of sentences or conjugate lists of verbs. Perhaps you remember that essay you felt great about coming back covered in red. Having never had a teacher explain how we can use verb tenses to communicate more precisely other than past, present, future, you don’t see how to make the future perfect something your student DESIRE to master. But, whoever said you must perpetuate your own bad experiences with grammar classes?
Imagine your Grammar Class Full of Laughter and Excitement
You can be the one, that teacher that they remember well after they’ve passed the TOEFL or IELTS. They’ll think of YOU when they one day encourage their family members to follow in their footsteps and learn English. It’ll happen because you will have given them that key that unlocks the door to fluency, and they won’t have to get there by slogging along a rock-hewn path. Nope, they’ll take a DIRECT route that just so happens also to be scenic.
You can TELL them that the future perfect expresses a plan that will be finished by a specific time in the future and that the future perfect progressive describes actions that will continue until a certain point in the future. (I just yawned; did you?) You could do that. Your grammar teacher probably did that. You’re different.
This is what you do instead.
You give them an authentic future event that is relevant to their lives. You say that everyone will talk about what actions they will have already taken (or be doing) at the point that the event begins. (Or ends.) And that is the secret. Don’t make it about the verb tense. Make it about the communication of ideas. And then show them how the verb tense communicates those ideas. The example I just gave is the perfect (pun intended) set-up to introduce the future perfect and future perfect progressive. I will give you a page you can use with your students to get them talking and then writing using those verb tenses. It’s authentic. It’s timely and relevant. It makes grammar pertinent.
Remember: It’s Not YOUR Grammar Class. It’s Theirs.
You’re not going to teach the same way you learned. That would just be reliving a part of your life you’d likely prefer to forget. You are going to be the one. The one they always remember. And you’re going to have so much fun doing it.
Grab this free page!
Grammar drill exercises have their place, especially in adult ESL. But, grammar classes DON’T need to be all drill. Sign up to get this free page to use with your students and get on the list for other tips and freebies. Just click the image.
Looking for a couple of fun activity ideas? How about three grammar games that will get them talking?