Grammar Lesson Plans—Introduction
Ah, grammar. If words are the building blocks of a language, then grammar is the cement that holds the words together. Though some teachers may complain that grammar is boring, this teacher has never found that to be true. Moreover, I’ve never felt it from my students. The truth is that students match their teacher’s enthusiasm.
Still, in an effort to help, these lessons will be as exiting as we can make them.
A few words on the whole debate about how or even if teachers should teach grammar.
What debate you say? Well, for one, children learn grammar in their native language quite differently from adults learning the grammar of a foreign language. No one explains the difference between present perfect and past simple to their child. So, how do they figure it out? What’s more, when a non-native speaker gets good at English, they stop thinking about the rules and just speak. Think of a diplomat at the U.N. They’re not worrying about grammar rules as they argue.
So maybe students should spend a whole lot more time using language until it becomes intuitive and a whole lot less time trying to comprehend strange rules they’re going to stop thinking about once they get good anyway.
To all this, I answer that grammar rules are good training wheels that stop being necessary once you get used to them. Students find the rules terribly useful. That said, teachers should take advantage of the human inclination to find patterns in a language (as a child does).
Also, so much depends on the specific student. Is the student trying to map English onto the grammar of their language? Those students will benefit from being told the exact rules. Students who, on the other hand, have been studying languages for years are good at seeing patterns. When you don’t tell them the rules, they’ll teach themselves. The theory is this self-explanation is a deeper, more memorable learning.
At the end of the day, though, students benefit from being told the rules and figuring them out on their own. If both elements are in the lesson, you can adjust the time you spend on each part based on feedback from your students. Like a good dancer adjusts to their partner, a good teacher adjusts to their students. The lessons on this site will try to both help students see patterns on their own and take time to explain the rules more fully (usually nearer to the end, but, we’ll switch it up).