Let’s face it, we’re unlikely to catch our students sitting on the edges of their seats waiting for us to once again review that grammar point, relishing in its structure (and exceptions to the rule).No, we’re more likely to get a ‘we’ve done this before’ or ‘I want to move up now’ response while we’re left having to explain (once again) that ‘although we’ve done it before, it doesn’t seem that way’ .
Reaching that moment of automatic production can be a painful process. Grammar can be dull and disengaging so….
Here’s 5 ways to make grammar fun (and hopefully less painful for students)
1. Wake them up!
Make your students think! Provide incorrect examples now and again such as ‘I have went to America’ and give them time to correct you. They may not as it’s quite a common error when using the Present Perfect but they might surprise you and if they don’t, prompt them! They’ll soon get into the habit of examining all the examples you write on the board and the answers you give just in case you’re trying to catch them out. It’s a great way of keeping them on their toes!
2. Make it personal
Students love getting to know their teacher and you’ll find that they’re much more engaged when you bring yourself to your classroom. Bring in personal photos of a recent holiday and project them on screen for everyone to see. Elicit vocabulary and ask questions such as: ‘What am I doing in each photo?’, What do you think will happen next?’, ‘What do you think happened before the photo was taken?’ Now, let them work with a partner to do the same with a few more photos.
3. Use your students
Draw on your students’ lives and experiences and use them in your examples. When preparing your lesson, think about each student. Choose three students for today’s lesson and think about what personal information you can use. They will appreciate that you’ve made the effort..
Javier, If you break your leg playing soccer in Barcelona next week, what will you do?
4. Make it competitive!
Nothing like a bit of competition. On setting up a closed grammar task, turn it into a quiz. Award points to the winning pair for each task. It will encourage them to do their best and if you do this over the course of a week, they’ll see their points build up and become even more competitive.
They can convert these points into a prize on Fridays. Be as creative as you want with this – 20 points = chocolate, 30 points = a music video of their choice played for the class to enjoy, 40 points = no homework.
5. Peer to peer teaching
Once you have reviewed your grammar point, let them peer teach at the end of the week. Divide them into groups of four (you might want to handpick your students, assigning stronger and weaker students together). Give them time to prepare their mini-lesson, instructing them to elicit the structure and examples from their ‘students’. They’ll enjoy the responsibility and If you can source a couple of flipcharts to use for this task, even better!