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.