Should you give rules when teaching grammar or should the students figure them out? Should you show them examples of new grammar before teaching or see what they already know? Should you elicit using specific terminology or “real” language? These are some of the questions I ask myself when going over grammar with my classes. I’ve found with my Cambridge Advanced groups that the old chestnut of “test, teach, test” is much more effective at building their confidence with using new structures. Take, for example, Inversion or Negative Introductory Expressions (whichever you prefer). The thought of going over all the rules in the coursebook we use gave me the shivers, so I simply put up the following slide:
Having put this on the board, I then give students some time to do the task and therefore I can tell immediately who has an idea of the concept and who has not seen it before. We then go through the answers, I elicit the changes needed to write the new versions and then we can get on with using the grammar more actively.
All in all, this process takes about 15-20 minutes of a lesson. I feel that this method allows students to explore the grammar, apply exisiting knowledge and gain confidence in their own English skills. The rest of such a class would be taken up with activities to use the grammar point, along with other skills-based tasks.
Is this similar to how you would introduce this area of grammar? How would you do it differently? I always love hearing new ideas!