Fun with english grammar – How to teach grammar the funny way
As I said earlier teaching grammar is not easy. Most students will cringe when hearing the word grammar and teachers may also have some headaches.
However I also mentioned that it is an essential part of the acquisition of language if we want to make progress in the language learnt.
First of all, let’s be clear about what grammar is. Grammar is the study of how words and their components combine to form sentences to convey a meaning. Some will argue that grammar is the study of the rules that govern the structuration of sentences. It is therefore the study of morphology, syntax and phonology. I would clarify this by saying that grammar is the study of temporary and evolving rules that are an integrant part of language.
But in any case, whatever the jargon we use, deductive, inductive, prescriptive or descriptive, grammar can and should be taught in a fun and creative environment.
Now how can we have fun with english grammar ?
Instead of lecturing your students with endless rules they must apply without even knowing the reason behind the rules, have them to look for the grammar in an article, a podcast or a video. Give them some real authentic material to work from. Put them in the shoes of a detective. Guide them, give them clues. Be a facilitator but avoid teaching from the front. They must make hypothesis, analyse and finally come up with an idea of the how and why such or such bits of language work the way they do.
- Vary your teaching style
Dust off your teaching practice and make grammar synonym for fun. How? Be flexible and innovative. Avoid at all cost having your students immersed into their textbooks and exercises. Make your lesson alive. Plan your lessons in such a way that you embed different teaching styles. Use carousel activities to have group works, use a variety of games, include competitions. Have your students to move out of their seats and move around the classroom or even outside. Don’t underestimate the power of technology and interactive learning with online practice.
- Don’t take it too seriously
If you show your students that you are having a great time while teaching them grammar they will have a great time too. No doubt. You can mime things, pretend you lost your memory and need the help of your students. You can also ask your students to be the teacher and prepare the grammar lesson. Bring realia to the class. Make your class active and enjoyable. Crack jokes, use different accents. In other word don’t be afraid to act up and to involve your audience.
English grammar games that work
Four corners: This is a good way to get all your class involved. Have a set of questions with 4 possible answers on the board labelled A-B-C-D. Label the four corners of your class with these letters. When the question appears on the board, your students need to run to the corner related to the correct answer. If they get it wrong they go back to their seats.
Dice games: They are a good way to motivate students and engage them in some kind of competition. They can review or practice any king of grammar point.
Who wants to be a millionaire: The questions are prepared in advance. I personally use it as a general review. I split my class in two or more teams and I give them 4 possible answers to choose from. The team that gets it right gets the money involved. As I don’t have a million to give them it is usually converted in some kind of prize.
Loopy sentences: Split the class in two halves. Give every student a piece of paper. Let’s say you are teaching about the second conditional. One half of the class is going to write the beginning of a sentence: Eg: If I had money…, the second half of the class write the end of the sentence without knowing what the others have written. Eg: … I would travel to the moon. Then have them to stand up and to find a partner to match the beginning and end of sentences. You can come up with really loopy, silly sentences!
Sticky notes on forehead: This one is one of my all time favorites. If you are teaching your students about physical/personality description and/or jobs, this is a good tool to use. Give sticky notes to all your students. Each one of them is writing the name of a celebrity on it. Collect the sticky notes and hand them out at random. Students rub their forehead and stick the sticky notes without looking at the name of the celebrity. They need to guess the name of the celebrity by asking Yes-No questions.
Now that you have some more ideas, time to shake your practice and to try some of these tips to have fun with english grammar. Don’t forget to have fun, and to share your ideas on how to teach grammar your funny way!