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Thursday, November 3, 2016

10 thoughts on teaching grammar in the Spanish classroom

Teaching grammar is fun! The teaching methodology has advanced a lot, which means that we no longer have to resort to methods and strategies that bore our students as well as ourselves.

All you have to do is make use of all your knowledge of ELE/L2, remember what the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) says about the action-oriented approach, and of course be enthusiastic. Always reflect on how you would like something explained or taught to you.

Some things to avoid:

  • Avoid presenting grammar using long and complex grammatical charts.
  • Be careful with your use of metalanguage! Of course you're familiar with the terms because you're the teacher, but it's possible that your students are not.
  • Fill-in-the-blank exercises: let's be honest, as a tool for learning grammar, these exercises are something of the last century. Don't torture your students with them!
  • Friday late afternoon is a bad time to introduce new grammar; choose the right moment, for instance, in the beginning of the week when your students aren’t too tired.
  • Presenting grammatical content without students being able to participate in the whole process is not productive; it doesn't allow them to internalize the content nor feel capable of putting the skills into practice.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Respect the different learning types and paces of your students; you can always introduce and explain the same content repeatedly and in different ways if necessary.
  • During the presentation, offer examples from real-world language, not just textbook phrases that students will never actually hear.
  • Associate a new grammatical structure to its communicative function so that students can understand both what they are learning and what they can do with it.
  • Include all the skills required in the communicative practice of the new grammar.
  • When sequencing content and practice, remember to schedule in independent practice, in which students must practice using the new content on their own.

Can you think of any other ideas for teaching grammar? Share them with us!

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