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Stages in teaching grammar
Presentation is a stage at which students are introduced to the form, meaning and use of a new grammar item. The new grammar item may be presented either deductively (students are given grammar rules and examples and are told to memorize them.) or inductively (students induce grammar rules themselves). Presentation should be clear, reasonably brief, interesting, efficient and appropriate.
The main concern of the teacher is to build up appropriate situational and linguistic context for the new item.
Techniques and resources for presentation are: pictures, time lines, matching, writing on the board, story telling, role-play, charts, dialogs, texts, modeling, explanation, realia, songs, poems, games. Let’s look at some examples:
The simplest and clearest way to present a structure is often to show it directly, using things the students can see: objects, the classroom, the teacher, the students themselves, pictures. The structure “ too…(adjective)…to…” can be presented in such a way :
T: (points to the ceiling): What’s that?
Ss: the ceiling
T: (reaches up and tries to touch it): Look- I’m trying to touch it. Can I touch it?
T: No, I can’t .Because it’s too high. It’s too high to touch. Too high. The ceiling’s too high to touch (says this sentence again in the students’ own language)
Having shown how the structure is used and what it means, the teacher shows how it is formed by writing the structure clearly on the board. He underlines the “fixed” part of the structure:
The ceiling’s too high to touch.
If the teacher uses the picture to present the structure the following procedure may be suggested:
Draw the pictures and give the example
Give a model and ask the class to repeat
Ask individual students to repeat the sentence
Write the sentence on the board
Explain how the structure is formed
Ask the class to copy the sentence
Give other situations and examples
At the practice stage students apply the new grammar item to new situations that illustrate its form and meaning. It should take place in controlled but interesting conditions that include aspects of real communication. The teacher uses mechanical, meaningful and communicative drills.
Mechanical drills: They focus on the form of the new item by getting students to repeat or manipulate the form. They do not require students to learn anything, they only require parroting of a pattern or rule. For example:
Running- He is running. George waited for the bus this morning- He will wait for the bus tomorrow morning, too.
Meaningful drills: They require students to understand the prompts they hear. Each prompt has only one correct response, and students must attend to meaning to complete the exercise. For example:
Where are George’s papers? They are in his notebook.
(Students must understand the meaning of the question in order to answer, but only one correct answer is possible because they all know where George’s papers are.)
Some other exercises for mechanical and meaningful drills are: underlining the correct form, making statements on the picture, answering questions, substitution, matching, completion, making dialogs, telling the story, paraphrasing.
Communicative drills- they еncourage students to connect form, meaning and use. Students respond to a prop using the new grammar item, but providing their own content. For example:
To practice questions and answers in the Past tense, teacher and students can ask and answer questions about activities the previous evening.
T- Did you go to the library last night?
S1- No, I didn’t. I went to the movies.
S1- Did you read chapter 3?
S2- Yes, I read chapter 3, but I didn’t understand it.
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