The most effective Way to teach Grammar

My course book contains some lessons which are related to English Grammar and as such I usually face difficulties to get my students to understand these rules. Even though I have diversified my teaching methods by using slide shows and other tools to simplify the materials but still there is not much success.

I thought may be I was not doing enough to get the information across to my students; however, discussion with some of my colleagues showed that this problem is general. They informed me that even though they are working hard by employing various teaching techniques to teach grammatical rules, yet still their students’ performance is very frustrating as the vast majority of them can’t understand these rules.

In connection with this problem, I refused to give in; so started thinking of a possible solution. In the course of this, I decided test them with certain grammatical rules in their native language which were related to the subject matter being discussed in the second language. My intention was to make a comparison between the grammatical rules in their native language and the second language to see if this would improve their understanding.

In this regard, the next day, I started explaining the previous lesson which was ambiguous to them, by discussing with them similar grammatical in their first language. What a flop! What a shame! I found big number of them didn’t know how identify subject and predicate in the sentences of their native language. Because of that, I started revising the grammatical rules which are relating to my current lesson in their first language.  Subsequently, I made a comparison between their native and the second language.

Finally, by using this method, they understood the grammatical rules in my lesson in the second language. I further decided to give them a worksheet for their practice on what they have learnt using this comparison method during the lesson; so I divided them into four groups. I then gave each group a single worksheet to answer. They answer them in a perfect way. So I was wondering: does a thorough understanding of one’s native language give him or her an advantage in learning a foreign language?  If this is the case, then EFL teachers might consider ways in which their students could strengthen their native language so as to make learning a foreign language more of a fun and easy exercise. Your opinion in this issue would be most welcome.

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9 comments on “The most effective Way to teach Grammar

  1. Hi Saeed, I like the way you decided to focus on your students’ first language. Have you considered using colour to show word class? It would be good to compare different colour patterns in the different languages. If you like teaching grammar, you may like my blog and website. It could give you some ideas.

  2. Hi Saeed, good post .
    But I want to add something about our students in Saudi. Saudi students have a fear of English in general.
    So Firstly, you need to break the ice Between them and the language.
    Secondly, you need to explain from A to Z .
    Third, try to explain the grammar of Arabic language and then start your lesson.
    What a tired job to be an English teacher.
    :

    يعطيك العافيه اخوي سعيد مبارك
    متابع لك على أرضك هنا
    وفي الفيس بوك
    وعلى التتويتر
    سررت بلقياك . 🙂

  3. Hi Saeed!
    This issue has been a serious problem for me too since the beginning. I’m glad to know that your idea has worked for you. In my case, when teaching a new grammar point, I usually compare the rule with the rule in their first language but unlike in your case, my students tend to get more confused because of the differences in both languages, such as auxiliaries or the use of pronouns. Anyway, it is comforting to know that someone so far away is trying out new ideas to cope with the same problem I am having here. Thank you very much for sharing and let’s keep on trying to improve!!

  4. Hi,Seeed
    I am a secondary teacher. I am Indonesian”s teacher who teaches english as a second languange.
    I find it very difficult to encourage my students to speak in English. Mostly they do not like English . The funny thing is they are in National plus school means they use English as language to deliver the lesson and communication. They said It is difficult to talk in english , but actually they understand what the teacher says. Do you have any suggestion for me ? By the way this is my first year to teach in secondary , last semester i teach primary students

  5. I agree with you! I am a volunteer tutor of English (for 16 yrs) and our Spanish-speaking students seem to prefer a text series called Paso a Paso (Step by Step). This is for beginners in English. The studen’ts book has instructions to exercises in Spanish, with examples of how the grammar appears in Spanish. Then compares the differences of how it is handled in English, and the exercises are in English. The teacher’s text is only in English. It is a new series for us, but the students seem to really like it and do well with it!

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