Viewing 8 reply threads
  • Author
    Posts
    • #6372
      Nicholas Northall
      Moderator
          @nick-northall

          Share your ideas of how the Zoom demo lesson might be taught in your context (whether this is face to face or online).

          Think about:

          • How do you approach teaching grammar in your context?
          • How would you adapt the Zoom demo lesson to make it suitable for your learners?

          Be prepared to comment on at least one other candidate’s response.

        • #51774
          Robert Dailey
          Participant
              @robertd

              Think about:

              1.How do you approach teaching grammar in your context?

              2. How would you adapt the Zoom demo lesson to make it suitable for your learners?

              1.     I tend to use a variety of approaches. If I decide to dedicate a whole class to grammar then, depending on the level, my first point of call is often Scrivener´s Teaching English Grammar. I like the apparent simplicity of his classes and his grammar lessons normally work out well. Often, though, some of the grammar parts of my classes emerge in response to learner errors or questions and in this regard the “minimal pairs” type of approach, that I read about in Thornbury (How to Teach Grammar) has often been successful. For instance, in one of my classes last week, learners in a B2 class of adult professionals questioned the difference between the first and second conditional. I boarded two sentences, using each of the structures, and asked learners to compare them. Taking things from there, we discussed the difference in meaning, form and pronunciation (e.g., contractions) and after following this up with a couple more examples and some CCQs I was confident that the learners understood the difference. I have also used GD and inductive / deductive approaches. Perhaps because I work in-company with adult professionals, I tend to go fairly much straight to the point with little build up (in a way that is perhaps different to both the classes we observed) and normally with just a white board and a pen. My busy students seem to like this, but after watching the classes I can see that I can think more about perhaps building up more gradually to the key grammar point.

              2.     The key element of the Zoom class seems to be gerunds as subjects. Using the “minimal approach” to teaching grammar mentioned above, and also because my students tend to like role plays and debates, I might do something like the following:

              a.     Set a context / try to create interest in some way. Ideally, I´ll try to connect this with something a learner has perhaps talked about in a previous class. E.g. “Watching films is a waste of time” said Juan on Tuesday. Then I could perhaps tell a short anecdote that includes the target language. E.g “Meeting new people is one of the great things about teaching English. Last week … “

              b.     Then I could board say three or four examples previously mentioned and ask the learners a few questions. E.g., What is the subject? What do you notice about it? (Gerund) What verb follows it, singular or plural? (singular). Then I could rub out the examples and ask the students if they can reproduce them from memory,

              c.     Then I could write the starters of say half a dozen sentences on the board and ask learners to complete them about themselves. E.g., Watching Netflix … Then the learners can add their own examples and interview each other.

              d.     Perhaps the class could then have a 10-minute debate around a subject like “watching Netflix now is too expensive”, or ideally around a topic of interest that emerged earlier in the class.

              e.     I could then ask the learners to take say 5 minutes only to write a report about their discussion in the roleplay and perhaps also tell them that they must include at least two examples of gerunds as a subject somewhere in their report.

              f.      I could give some feedback and error correction (although this has probably happened already) and then perhaps instruct the learners to repeat the task, depending on time and what happened during the class. In the task repetition, in this class or the next, I could change it and do something like award points for every gerund as subject that the students use.

               

              • #51784
                Gajinder Kaur
                Participant
                    @gk

                    Hello Robert!

                    You just displayed opportunistic teaching skills in your lesson with your learners and your doing it so spontaneously proves that you clearly are very well versed in subject knowledge.

                    I for one would have to think twice about 2nd conditionals before i could jump in so spontaneously. Well done!

                    And yes, lead-ins do warm up learners to what’s in store for them in class and might just help in tweaking their curiosity …

                  • #51821
                    Peter Wilson
                    Participant
                        @peterw

                        Thanks for the tip on the grammr book, looks good, I’ll have to start using it.

                      • #52379
                        Nicholas Northall
                        Moderator
                            @nick-northall

                            Hi Robert,

                            Thanks for your post and for sharing how you tend to approach grammar teaching in your context. You make some excellent points in terms of the importance of adopting a variety of approaches (both inductive and deductive) and responding to your learners’ emerging linguistic needs – something which is considered really important at Delta level and, indeed,  something which forms part of the assessment criteria in Delta Module Two. I agree that it can be really useful to compare/contrast structures – a technique which I suspect is theoretically grounded in contrastive analysis theory. Thanks also for the two book recommendations – both really useful, accessible resources to support teachers with their grammar teaching. It was also interesting to read that the observations have made you evaluate your own approach to teaching grammar and helped you to reflect on how you might tweak your practice slightly in the future – indeed, this is something we hope everyone will continue to do as we go through the course.

                            Your ideas for adapting the Zoom lesson for use in your context are sound, essentially following a PPP framework. You include a lot of procedures, techniques and activities that are likely to be effective, such as:

                            • setting the context via an anecdote;
                            • making use of student-generated examples of the TL;
                            • using questioning techniques to focus on the form (would you also need to include anything on meaning/use and pron.?)
                            • using ‘disappearing sentences’ to really encourage students to ‘notice’ the TL/structure;
                            • sentence completion;
                            • personalisation;
                            • productive skills follow-up tasks;
                            • pair/group work;
                            • delayed (and/or immediate) corrective feedback;
                            • task repetition.

                            Thanks again for sharing, Robert, and I am sure others have picked up some ideas they might like to try out here too.

                            Cheers,

                            Nick.

                        • #51777
                          Robert Dailey
                          Participant
                              @robertd

                              Hello Nick, Manuel,

                              Just a quick question: In the link for the  British Council: English Grammar Reference (in part 9. Additional Tasks) it says “page not found” – is there another link for this?

                              Thanks!

                            • #51799
                              Robert Dailey
                              Participant
                                  @robertd

                                  Hi Gajinder, thanks for your message. Before teaching I worked in a very busy office where time was precious and everyone went pretty much straight to the point. I suppose this “habit” has carried over into my work as a teacher and because I work with business people it´s often the kind of approach that students like. But yes, as you say, tweaking the curiosity of learners does help! I´m beginning to realise too that I hardly use any technology in my classes and I think I´m missing a trick by not using it more.

                                   

                                • #51822
                                  Peter Wilson
                                  Participant
                                      @peterw

                                      How do you approach teaching grammar in your context?

                                      I enjoy teaching grammar and often teach it in a PPP way similar to the first video with a lead in, drilling, controlled and free ptactice. I sometimes do lessons simmilar to the second onine video where I get lots of feedback from Ls generated from a task and write up sentenes focusiing on form and errors. I think like the “Teaching Grammar Effectively” article says it’s really important to vary it up and make sure all your learners get a chance to learn and practise the language in different ways. At lower levels, I  use much fewer grammatical terms and just focus on correct form and meaning.

                                      How would you adapt the Zoom demo lesson to make it suitable for your learners?

                                      I think the topic of the zoom lessons was really nice and wouold work really well in my context of adut ESOL learners and we often try to focus on wellbeing and good mental health. I thint would work with E3 or Level 1 groups relaly well (so B1+) and even E2 depending on the grammar focus. If it was a Pre-Int grop you could keep it simple and use structures like “When I want to realx I ….”  When I XXX I feel …” and not focus too much the gerund as subject. I’d probaby elicit a few more questions as a group for them to use before the main inerview task. If it was in the classroom not online, depending on the groups it would lend itsef to a group writing activity e.g. make a poster / leaflet about wellbieng and you could bring in some modals for giving suggestions / advice.

                                      • #52381
                                        Nicholas Northall
                                        Moderator
                                            @nick-northall

                                            Hi Peter,

                                            Thanks for your post and for sharing your ideas for grammar teaching. I agree that variety is really important (in all aspects of our teaching, not just grammar teaching) in order to keep our learners motivated and appeal to different learning preferences and needs. You also make some good points about the importance of allowing learners time to practise using the TL in a meaningful, communicative way and not using too much (any?) metalanguage, particularly with lower level learners. You mention just focusing on correct form and meaning – does this mean that you don’t focus on pronunciation (or appropriacy) with lower levels? If not, what is your rationale for this?

                                            I like your suggestions of how you could adapt the Zoom lesson for use in your context and it sounds like the topic is one your learners would engage well with. I like your idea of getting the students to produce some collaborative writing – I guess, theoretically, this could also work in an online lesson in breakout rooms using Padlet or Jamboard for example. One of the main takeaways from this course is – we hope! – getting you to consider how ideas, concepts and techniques introduced could be adapted for use in your own context.

                                            Thanks again for your contribution.

                                            Cheers,

                                            Nick.

                                        • #51986
                                          Gajinder Kaur
                                          Participant
                                              @gk

                                              1) How do you approach teaching grammar in your context?

                                              Well, I personally face it with trepidation!

                                              I’m always weary of it going wrong, or not delivering it according to standards, or just not well enough for the learners to understand.

                                              I’m normally intimidated by the possibility that the learners might find themselves drowned in rules too much which might just preempt them from using the language, and if at all, effectively.

                                              I teach mixed age groups across mixed levels. I know by experience that delivery is important, but the effectiveness of the lesson plan also depends on learner receptivity.

                                              Left on my own, I ensure my approach to the grammar based lesson is contextual, inductive and steered by the GD strategies.

                                              I just completed a lesson today with young learners based exactly on those principles. I gave them a reading text, full of dialogues. Then I asked them to detect the exact words spoken by the speaker, see if they were enclosed within any specific punctuation, etc. They thus discovered and established 4 rules for direct speech…

                                              I feel the inductive method provokes autonomy and curiosity and a sense of self accomplishment in learners, young or otherwise. And I firmly believe that depending on learner aptitudes, we can blend in different teaching methods optimally for the most effective results. One size never fits all.

                                              2) How would you adapt the Zoom demo lesson to make it suitable for your learners?

                                              I have mixed thoughts about the Zoom lesson. Definitely it was well planned.

                                              But I felt the lead in and warm up stages were quite tiresome. I lost the plot after the TL was established as “gerunds”… really, how?

                                              But what gave me a Eureka moment was the constant break out rooms, the monitoring and the instructor asking the learners to interview peers and come back and report their learnings.

                                              So, I’m thinking I’m going to use this particular strategy in a variety of ways:

                                              • – to teach reported speech, with past tense
                                              • – to teach genre writing/speaking- as in interviews
                                              • – to teach tenses- past and present – use these structures for interviewing
                                              • – to teach speaking skills
                                              • – to teach question tags and particular grammar structures with those question tags…
                                              • – to teach genres through music
                                              • It is a valuable strategy with a multiskill benefit for online sessions. I myself teach online, so it is going to prove very helpful indeed.

                                               

                                              • #52382
                                                Nicholas Northall
                                                Moderator
                                                    @nick-northall

                                                    Hi Gajinder,

                                                    Thanks for honestly sharing your feelings about teaching grammar. In my experience, it is not at all uncommon even for fairly experienced teachers to have some trepidation about teaching language, especially grammar and pronunciation, so you are definitely not alone. It sounds as if you tend to take a very student-centred approach to teaching grammar, which can have many benefits for our learners as you point out. Similar to what Peter said about the importance of variety, I like the point you make about being flexible and including different approaches and techniques in relation to learner needs and preferences.

                                                    Thanks also for sharing your thoughts on the Zoom lesson. It’s interesting that you weren’t so impressed with the early stages of the lesson – as teachers we all have our individual preferences and obviously what works well for one teacher in one learning and teaching context would not be appropriate for another teacher in a different context with their learners – but, again, it is great that you have come away from the observation with some clear ideas about how you could make more use of breakout rooms/group work in your own online lessons. As I mentioned to Peter, one of the hopes when we designed this course was that participants would be able to take ideas from the course and think about how you could adapt them for use in your context .

                                                    Thanks again for posting.

                                                    Cheers,

                                                    Nick.

                                                • #52383
                                                  Nicholas Northall
                                                  Moderator
                                                      @nick-northall

                                                      Dear all,

                                                      Thanks to those who have contributed to this forum and for sharing your ideas and experiences of teaching grammar.

                                                      To summarise, here are some considerations for grammar teaching:

                                                      • Ensure, where necessary, to teach the language in a context our learners understand.
                                                      • Ensure we fully prepare our classes.
                                                      • Change our teaching approach depending on the learners, the context and possibly the language we are teaching.
                                                      • Make sure we clarify the MFP(A) of the target language in a way our learners understand.
                                                      • Include time for the learners to practise using the language.
                                                      • Have clear stages – this is down to our planning!
                                                      • Try to meet our learners’ needs – which can include making lessons fun/engaging, including variety and responding to emerging needs.
                                                      • Consider the learners’ backgrounds and the context in which we are working.

                                                      In terms of face-to-face vs online teaching, here are a few points:

                                                      • Although it can be difficult to set up and manage group and pair work online, it is still possible. We need to think carefully about how to monitor if we are using breakout rooms.
                                                      • Online lessons progress at a different pace than in-person ones (i.e. generally much slower!), so it can be a good idea to have only a few, well-chosen activities which we fully exploit.
                                                      • We still need to plan, but as mentioned above, we need to consider timings, groups and how we will present language (using slides rather than whiteboards).
                                                      • We need to consider our teacher talking time, as online teaching can result in the teacher simply lecturing to their learners – this is due to not being able to see the learners nor knowing their reactions.
                                                      • As an addition to the point above, we still need to include silent work (including thinking time after we have asked a question) in our lessons and not be afraid of this silence.
                                                      • Technology is obviously very important when teaching online, so we need to make sure we know how to use it – at least the basic functions of the platform we are using.
                                                      • A final point: We might want to consider how we approach waiting time – I mean waiting for latecomers. I believe a lesson should start on time if some learners have arrived, as it is quite rude to make them wait when they have arrived on time. Again, though, this depends on context and what is expected and perhaps who (the boss of a company!) is expected! You might want to consider having some sort of warmer/recap at the beginning of the lesson which engages the on time learners from the beginning, but which is not fundamental to achieving the learning outcomes of the current lesson while you are waiting for latecomers.

                                                      Please do keep your contributions coming:)

                                                      Thanks,
                                                      Nick

                                                    • #52475
                                                      Erica
                                                      Participant
                                                          @erica

                                                          How do you approach teaching grammar in your context?

                                                          As Peter, I also enjoy teaching grammar and I use a variety of techniques, such as DL, PPP, and TTT. The choice usually reflects the level, the learners and the grammatical item to teach. I like presenting grammar through reading or listening tasks as it helps contextualised it. I like using the “minimal approach” (thanks Robert, I didn’t know the name of this technique!) as well as it makes differences (especially in form) visually noticeable.

                                                          The first lesson observation (PPP – 2nd conditional) resonated well with me and I really liked how the teacher used speaking (more than writing) activities to practise the TL. I generally tend to do more written practice, but I’ve recently started to incorporate more speaking activities in my lessons and thus the video was particularly helpful. I noticed that when speaking activities precede written controlled practice, like gap-fill for example, the students feel somehow more confident.

                                                          How would you adapt the Zoom demo lesson to make it suitable for your learners?

                                                          Perhaps, I’d slightly modify the topic to make it more accessible to my beginners. “Healthy and unhealthy” food and activities, for example. The use of gerund as a noun can be a little difficult to grasp at this level using grammatical explanations but by using the same sentences construction (noun phrases as subject) “Sweets aren’t good for your teeth. Swimming is good for your body.”, they may thus learn and use it without problems. I would supply images and elicit the names of food and activities from the students. Then in pairs/small groups they would place them under the correct column  (good / bad for …). Then decide how to complete the sentences ” for….. ” using body parts. Then I would borrow Peter’s idea and ask my students to design simple poster.

                                                          Thes same sentence structure could also be used to express personal opinion, “(I think) basketball is boring.” “Playing cards is fun.”. Maybe, to ask students why they do or don’t do some activities in the context of free time activities or likes/dislikes. This may be done during another lesson as a revision/ consolidation.

                                                          • #53366
                                                            Nicholas Northall
                                                            Moderator
                                                                @nick-northall

                                                                Hi Erica,

                                                                Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.

                                                                You make an interesting observation about learners feeling more confident completing speaking tasks (freer, I assume) before a more controlled written task, they feel more confident. Do you mean they feel more confident speaking or writing?

                                                                I agree with your point about using gerunds. They can certainly be tricky due to learners’ spending (!) many years previously using the -ing form in a verb constructions.

                                                                Cheers,

                                                                Nick

                                                            • #53458
                                                              Andrew Burke
                                                              Participant
                                                                  @andrew

                                                                  In my previous working contexts, I was much more creative in how I taught grammar and I used a variety of approaches. In my current working context, grammar is presented in set ways in the coursebooks. If I have time, I will reinvent the wheel but I usually don’t have time and so go with the book. I think, if I’m creating my own grammar lesson, I tend to lean towards a deductive approach but encourage inductive learning by encouraging students to question examples and their answers; particularly in regards to exceptions or their errors. I also tend to follow a PPP approach, but often find the freer practice harder as students often don’t use the target language or don’t use it ‘enough’. Writing as freer practice seems to work well for me. What is important for me is a) encouraging students to notice the new grammar in subsequent lessons, perhaps in something I say or something we read, and b) revisiting the grammar later in the term; when perhaps I will try a TTT approach. I sometimes try an inductive approach from time to time; an example I can think of is providing students with a variety of sentences with prepositions of time or place (in / on / at) and asking them to come up with the ‘rules’. I’m guilty of not using task-based learning and it’s an area I’d like to explore more.

                                                                  I liked the mental health aspect of the Zoom class, like Peter I used to work in ESOL and it was something we needed to embed. Why not in General English contexts? I agree with Gajinder that the beginning seemed laboured (but perhaps this was because it was Zoom). I didn’t see it as a grammar lesson but perhaps that’s the point. Perhaps what I can take from this is that I need to embed grammar more into a more complete lesson rather than having a grammar lesson as such; as I think the students will have enjoyed this lesson. I like the idea of doing a task and then pulling the grammar out from the students towards the end. It’s not something that comes naturally to me.

                                                                  • #53519
                                                                    Nicholas Northall
                                                                    Moderator
                                                                        @nick-northall

                                                                        Hi Andrew,

                                                                        Thanks for sharing your honest answers here. I agree with your point about learners not using the TL in the productive stage of a PPP lesson, but I think this could due to the language being taught: e.g. it is easy to practise the past simple in a freer task describing what you did at the weekend, but which freer task would focus on using articles? I guess for some language structures more controlled practice is key.

                                                                        I also think it is strange to have a ‘grammar’ lesson over a typical 90-minute lesson: I would argue that almost all lesson focus on a variety of skills and systems and just dedicated the whole lesson to one of these would be rather boring – and probably impossible!

                                                                        Cheers,

                                                                        Nick

                                                                  Viewing 8 reply threads
                                                                  • The forum ‘DELTA Module One (Archived)’ is closed to new topics and replies.