Ways of presenting English grammar



Contexts, prompts and methods used in grammar presentation in the language classroom:

Model sentences for oral practice + picture e.g. The butcher's got some meat. He hasn't got any lamb. Contrasting sentence pairs.

Question & Answer e.g. pattern practice drills of both the "meaningless" and "meaningful" variety.

Dialogues e.g. A. I'd like some bacon, please. B. I'm sorry, we haven't got any. Streamline Departures - Yes, dear. Did you get any bread?

Situations e.g. I'm going to pack / take a bus to….. Robert O'Neill's "English in Situations" See also the situations and conversations in Kernel Intermediate. Julia.

Demonstration e.g. prepositions of place - I'm going to put the cassette tape into the cassette player.

Texts e.g. The sun shines more in Spain than in England. Contextualization.

Grammatical explanations - e.g. "some" used when the quantity is definite for plural or uncountable"

Diagrams - e.g. Time Line for Present Perfect v Past Simple

Drawings

Translation

Grammatical explanations in student's mother tongue

Students' suggestions - e.g. activation of previous language knowledge through The Silent Way

Language bath - Suggestopaedia


Recommended materials for grammar teaching

How to Teach Grammar Scott Thornbury
Offers sound guidance on grammar presentation in the language classroom.

Grammar Practice Activities Penny Ur
Penny Urr's excellent book is highly practical and contains several ready made activities for classroom use as well as guidance on how to create your own materials.

Elementary Grammar Games Jill Hadfield [ excellent if you teach learners at this level ]

Grammar Games Mario Rinvolucri [ activity based for classroom use ]

More Grammar Games Mario Rinvolucri, Paul Davis [ activity based for classroom use ]

Recommended grammar practice materials for learners of English

Basic Grammar in Use with Answers Raymond Murphy [ for beginners and elementary learners ]

Essential Grammar in Use with Answers Raymond Murphy [ for elementary and post elementary ]

English Grammar in Use with Answers Raymond Murphy (Ed.) [ for intermediate levels ]

How English Works: a Grammar Practice Book: With Key Michael Swan, Catherine Walter [ for intermediate levels ]

Advanced Grammar in Use: With Answers Martin Hewings (Ed.) [ for the advanced level ]

These practice grammars are bestsellers and the authors and publisher's support teams have gone to a great deal of trouble to monitor feedback from learners and teachers and to improve successive editions. There are versions with or without Answer Keys, though my advice is always to buy versions with Answer Keys so that they can be used for self study. Genuine learners will not cheat by looking at the Answer Keys in advance and will want to make mistakes in order to know when to ask the teacher for further explanation. If you are teaching learners who misuse Answer Keys, then the contract between learner and teacher is seriously in doubt and focus may need to switch to resources for improving motivation rather than grammar practice materials.

Recommended grammar reference materials for learners of English

A Practical English Grammar Thomson and Martinet
Practical English Usage, 3rd Edition Michael Swan

These reference grammars are both classics. Thomson and Martinet's grammar was recommended to me when I first trained to be a teacher in the early 1970s and I have made reference to it ever since. Michael Swan has a specialist knowledge of the problems in English syntax experienced by learners whose native language background is not English and edits an excellent work on this topic entitled "Learner English", which I recommend to all teachers interested in contrastive linguistics i.e. comparing language systems.

(by Ted Power)