How to Teach Grammar: it’s Not as Scary as You Think!

The past, the present and the future walk into a bar. It was tense…

Does the idea of how to teach grammar have you breaking out into a cold sweat?  Well don’t fear,the i-to-i TEFL Grammar Squad are here!

1.  Let your students practice

When you’re teaching, writing endlessly on the board may give you a little Pictionary practice but it won’t help your students to learn.  To keep writing to a minimum, before each TEFL lesson have a look at the key grammar rules being practised, which you can write out into a basic formula on the board before class.  Let your students use the sample sentences at the beginning and as the lesson goes on, erase the examples and finally the instructions.  If you have well-behaved students this can be a fun team activity!

2.  Make your warm up work for you

Use your warm up question to introduce whatever grammar lesson you’ll be covering.  For instance, if you’re teaching a lesson on the past tense, ask the students ‘what did you do last summer holiday?’  Get the whole class to repeat the correct sentence to make sure they’re still listening whilst each student is talking!

3.  “But teacher, why?”

You will encounter this question in every TEFL job at some point but try and resist the urge to shout back ‘JUST BECAUSE!’.  If your students do ask you a question and you have no idea of the answer then it’s better to be honest with them. They’ll respect you more in the long run if you tell them you’ll go away, research it and have the answer by next lesson.

4. Keep it relevant

Students generally don’t want to read, write or hear stories about little Johnny from London.  Get them to tell you a story about their family, school or culture and you’ll see a lot more interested faces.  For younger classes, a great way to get them talking is to jointly create a cartoon character. ‘Big Bob the dragon goes to snake-eating school at 2am every morning’ is more entertaining than ‘John brushes his teeth at 8am every day’.

Still a bit nervous? Then check out our Essential TEFL Book! It’s packed full of grammar help, lesson plans and 300 classroom activities!

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