Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Our Beloved Grammar!

Why do we use grammar so much, if fact, why do you think we have fallen in love with it in the first place? We should bear in mind that if we choose to concentrate only on grammar, we are not seeing the wood for the trees.

John and Liz Soars, authors or Headway, give a list of reasons to teachers to explain the prominence of grammar in their materials. Let's try to answer some questions to reflect on our teaching, in fact, I will mention some of them and I want to see if you agree with me or not, and if you have the chance to see the list, please leave a comment. Thanx

  1. Which of those would concur with your own views? It is a tangible system, and can provide one element of a systematic approach to teaching a language.

  2. Are there any with which you would disagree? There is one of the statements in which I don't completely agree: "It conforms students' expectations of language learning, and meets an often-heard request for 'more grammar'" Though I have had some students who asked for grammar all the time, they were the least. Almost all my students try to avoid grammar one way or the other, they want to learn more vocabulary or set expressions (even though they are within the field of grammar, they think they are not)

  3. Would you wish to add further reasons for teaching grammar explicitly in your own classes? Students need to know explicitly why they are making mistakes as regards accuracy when they speak. We need to explain how the rule is conformed so that they can understand when we correct some aspects of their speech.

Hope to hear from you soon.


HEDGE, Tricia (2000), Teaching and Learning in the Language Classroom, UK, OUP; Chapter 5 (Discussion Topics and Projects # 5- pp. 180,182)

Comparing Grammar Contents

Dear everyone,
I've browsed through two books that are designed for intermediate students and which have a grammatical component to the syllabus.
The task I was to carry out, required me to compare those two books and think about:

(a) To what extent do you find similarities and differences in the selection and sequencing of structures?
They were more or less the same as regards grammar at the beginning of the units but later on, as from unit three more or less, they changed the order in which the items were presented. In one of them 'functions' were also included in the column of grammar.
Both of them had sections in which grammar was recycled.
One of the books ended up explaining 'third conditional' and the other did not. This may be connected to the fact that one of the books is aimed at teens and the other to adults and teens.

(b) Is an explanation given (for example, in the teacher's book) for the grammatical content and its order?
No, there is no explanation explicitly given. However, at the beginning of the English File Intermediate book, there is a revision from the previous book or the contents students are supposed to have at the beginning of the course to use the book.

(c) In what ways would the grammatical content of either of the books be suitable for your own intermediate learners?
The grammatical context would be suitable because the activities presented in both books are contextualized, dynamic and appealing to them. They are useful to be carried out so as to practice or present a topic.

You are now invited to leave a comment as regards grammar... or any other topic and suggest, if you want, some books you can use with your intermediate students and why do you like them.
See you soon,

· HEDGE, Tricia (2000), Teaching and Learning in the Language Classroom, UK, OUP; Chapter 5 (Discussion Topics and Projects # 1 - p. 179)
· WETZ, Ben (2005), Adventures Intermediate Student’s Book, UK, OUP, pp. 2 and 3
· OXENDEN, Clive (1999), English File Intermediate Student’s Book, UK, OUP, pp. 2 to 5

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Vocabulary List!

Dear people,
I've browsed through three books to create a list of activities we can do with vocabulary. It is really helpful to have a list in which we can see and think of different activities so our students don't get bored and they practice different ways of learning the same vocabulary.
Here it goes:
  • guess the words from context
  • place words according to sounds
  • look at the pictures and then complete the song
  • divide the words in groups (lexical groups)
  • word building
  • crosswords
  • matching pictures with wordsç
  • matching pictures to their definitions
  • word maps
  • collocations
  • opposites
  • describe a picture with words given
  • acronyms
  • find words in the text
  • circle the correct word
  • odd one out
  • highlighting some words
  • find the differences between lexemes, e.g. get engaged vs. get married
  • translate
  • using a dictionary
  • put the phrases in chronological order
  • listen and repeat
  • complete with the word from the box
  • guess the meaning and then check in the dictionary
  • find synonyms for the phrasal verbs
  • put words in categories
  • each noun in bold is wrong. Write the correct word or phrase.
  • read the words from their phonetic representation and then complete the sentences with those words.

If you have any other to add, please you are welcome to do so. Let's enlarge our lists of activities to have more variety so we can reach to all our students. Kisses,


P.S. When I come back home I will include the bibliography, I promise.