Have you ever prayed for a class with perfect grammar skills? I have.
I used to teach literature. And, I have taught students who couldn’t create sentences, didn’t understand the value of punctuations, and couldn’t differentiate among tenses. They weren’t very good at reading either. Coincidence?
You see, grammar and literature may be two different words, but without proper knowledge of grammar, literature fails to make sense. You cannot teach literature without ensuring that your students understand the grammar within. Improving grammar skills should always be your first priority.
Unfortunately, some teachers teach grammar as an extra subject. Furthermore, their (grammar) sessions never change – year after year – students spend time being re-introduced to the same grammar concepts; filling the identical (and boring) exercise books. No wonder, students act ignorant, and become aloof to literature.
How to help your class improve their grammar skills
The trick is to revise grammar frequently without students’ knowledge. Frankly, it’s best to teach and revise grammar concepts, without conducting separate grammar classes. Here, I list a few ideas that I have used to improve the grammar skills of my students.
Use plays and dramas for teaching parts of speech. They can easily be acted out.
For e.g., Ask some students to clap, and ask the rest of the class to guess what verb are they acting out. Now you can explain to the whole class that this action ‘clap’ is called a verb.
Tenses too can be taught the same way. Themes like A Christmas carol and Back to the future are fun to perform, and they give students a chance to use several sentences in a single setting.
Use visual aids in your classroom. Engaging and attention-grabbing charts pull students’ attention and help them imbibe grammar rules. Remember, only a lot of exposure to grammar can make it stick.
Use classroom games. Jumbled-sentences is one of the best games to teach sentence formation. To play, students have to unscramble jumbled-up chunks of meaningful sentences. It helps them learn the logical sequence of sentences, helps them with articles and types of sentences. And yes, once students complete a sentence; it’s better to ask everybody to read it loudly.
Use story writing exercises. First, you (the teacher) write a simple sentence over the board; next you ask students to add to the sentence. They can either expand the sentence, or use adverbs and adjectives to make it more interesting. Students continue this exercise until they have created a full story.
Once students have created a story, encourage them to discuss it in class. Suggest them to identify the various sentence types; talk about the parts of speech and pin-point the punctuation marks. You can use this exercise to explain the value of punctuations.
These ideas have worked wonders for my students. I am sure that they would do wonders for you too. However, there are always some students who need a little extra effort. It works best to keep in touch with parents of such students and discuss the grammar topics that their kid is not comfortable with. Sometimes, parents’ feedback is the only data that can help understand students.
-Written by Mrs. M. Hemnani