Sunday, 27 May 2018

Teaching grammar.

It's fairly impossible to learn a language without learning grammar.

I'm learning Danish.

Danish grammar is quite difficult in some respects:

en hund = a dog
hunden = the dog
hunde = dogs
hundene = the dogs

et problem = a problem
problemet = the problem
problemer = problems
problemerne = the problems

...and quite easy in others:

jeg er = I am
du er = you are
han er = he is
hun er = she is
vi er = we are
de er = they are

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to teach a grammar lesson (present tense of regular verbs) to a group of year 7 students.

To get some context I asked what topic they were studying.
The answer was: no topic, we just want you to teach the verbs.

For someone who is quite proud of the intricacy of weaving grammar into Schemes of Work (see here) this seemed a little weird. Especially as they will probably only ever encounter a handful of IR verbs and, as their eventual targets, were very low, they really didn't need to be able to conjugate the whole verb....did they?

Apparently they did.

So, I made these...

(Engaging students with disgusting vocabulary is my forté...)

The students were given one of these jigsaw puzzles to solve and then had to create a set of rules for their partner (who had to do the same with their jigsaw) so that their partner could solve their partner's puzzle using the rules. They then had to complete a set of grammar activities based on the rules they had just learned (taught themselves).

It all went well but I can't help feeling that I could have done it better had it been a part of a topic in which they could have manipulated the verbs for a purpose, rather than a mechanical grammar exercise.

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