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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Jan 7th, 2008, 08:54 pm
EngliPatrick's Avatar
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Default Current grammar point?

What grammar points are you currently teaching?

There are a handful of people surfing these forums who spend their free time building websites with a ton of free resources for teachers like you and are interested in hearing what grammar points are currently being taught.
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Unread Jan 21st, 2008, 01:03 am
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Default Re: Current grammar point?

Well, instead of talking about what grammar points are currently taught, I will look at grammar that is regularly taught. Well when students get into the pre-intermediate levels,we start introducing more complex grammar structures like Verb tenses, Present perfect vs. Past simple, Future forms, Comparatives and superlatives. We also usually introduce some modals here like the modal "Should" for giving advice. We bring in useful communicative lexical chunks alongside key grammar features like modals for polite expressions.
On ESL Tower, there is a good resource base for grammar and vocabulary, both as printable and self-grading exercises
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Unread Jan 21st, 2008, 02:13 am
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Default Re: Current grammar point?

I wish 'regularly taught grammar' would more parallel Japan's 'currently taught grammar'...
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Unread Jan 21st, 2008, 02:30 am
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Default Re: Current grammar point?

I am not sure what is taught in Japan, but I have had been part of several Trinity and Celta workshops that explain the logic behind introducing different grammar points at different(right) levels or the whole thing will appear confusing to the students. I taught a kid from a primary school in China and saw for myself how true teaching the "regular" grammar and I must add to the right level is important. Some grammar points are just consistent with certain levels. Introducing them too early will confuse the hell out of students; too late, the students will have a hard time catching up with more complex forms. This is particulary true of tenses. So what is the situation in your schools? I can begin a litany of badly organised grammar teaching experiences but first let me hear what your situation is.
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Unread Jan 21st, 2008, 07:04 pm
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Default Re: Current grammar point?

I'm not an expert of the English language, nor do I pretend to know which English grammar should be taught at what age. That being said, when red flags go up in my mind, something is usually not exactly right. Japan's public schools only have the option to use 7 different textbooks. For the most part, these textbooks teach the same grammar but how they go about teaching it is a mystery to me. I am currently mapping out the grammar points in 3 of Japan's English textbooks and it is a pain in the ***. It's still a work in progress but you can check them out if you want by clicking HERE. I have had to tweak and change the bold and underlined parts of the example sentences because they weren't grammar points. Here's two examples:

1. My teacher taught me how to sign.
2. Do you want her to call you back?

As to the first sentence, 'me how' is not a grammar point, and the second sentence is teaching a desire along with the infinitive. While this at face value doesn't seem that bad, the students usually only have a jello grasp of this grammar point. These aren't strong examples but it's the best I can pull right now. My brain is fried with immersing myself in these textbooks.

Some other examples of weird styles of teaching is the question words are not taught together, katakana-English is seen as a pronunciation guide and passive voice is taught in basic English classes.

The Japanese attack English teaching from the standpoint of what is and is not acceptable in the Japanese langauge. Meaning, the passive voice is okay, so it is taught in basic English classes in Japan.

You understand what I'm saying or is this all just coming out jumbled?
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Unread Jan 22nd, 2008, 08:50 am
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Default Re: Current grammar point?

I had no luck visiting the link you offered. I guess it is a China problem where lots of sites get blocked.
It seems to me that you have a slightly different situation in Japan. In China, they have to cope with the complex and difficult nature of English grammar. Chinese grammar is fairly simple and lots of complex English grammar forms like tenses is new to the Chinese student. If you study Chinese, you will enjoy the ease of learning verbs without bothering yourself with changes in tenses. So I guess that is why some schools do not get it right with the introduction of English grammar at different levels.Japanese grammar I was told is more complex than Chinese grammar. The Heads of English Departments in China seem to be aware of the difficult and complex nature of the grammar, but the W5H questions of introduction are not properly considered.To make matters worse , too often I come across education departments with people who have little or no training, deciding course materials for towns and cities.
Students are either flooded with too many complex forms that confuses the heck out of them at an early level, or simply left unaware of these complexities that when they eventually come across them, they see English as a painful language to study.
When I asked one Chinese English HOD why she recommended a course book for her school with so many complex high level grammar forms for her primary school kids who were just about beginner and elementary levels, she told me simply "So that their English will improve rapidly."
I am not a grammar expert myself, but I can see the logic of teaching various grammar forms at the right time and giving students constant practise to consolidate what was learnt. I might just be babbling myself, but I am just trying to contribute.
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Unread Jan 22nd, 2008, 09:05 pm
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Default Re: Current grammar point?

Kiso, I'm not sure what you have in mind for right grammar at the right time, but I definitely agree. I believe what might be right-right there might not work here.

Anyway, when I approach curriculum design, I have that same idea in mind. I have only worked with curriculum formation for conversation classes, but I always approach forms to be taught based on need of use, especially from beginner to elementary levels. Patrick, your example of 'I want you to ...' is a form that children don't really need or use, a company manager, maybe.) The same meaning can be expressed in a regular question form or even order form. Not that it doesn't need to be taught but it obviously causes confussion when taught simultaneously with 'I want to ...'

It was very helpful for me to watch my own children acquire language and monitor what forms are needed for communication.

Just adding to the rambling and thinking out loud.

(Kiso - congrats on the new site! It looks great.)
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Unread Jan 22nd, 2008, 09:51 pm
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Default Re: Current grammar point?

I think you made a great point there, Mark. There is not only a difference in how to teach native speakers of English, but there is a difference in the ESL community also. I would almost argue that there is NO ESL COMMUNITY. I would dare say that within ESL, there is a separate community for each culture and while these communities are sometimes similar, ESL must be tweak in order for it to be successful in that specific community. Meaning, you can't teach English the same way in France as you do in China.

That being said, I believe Japan doesn't fall into this gap of trying to teach ESL from a foreign perspective. I think Japan is rather unique in that they want to teach English from the standpoint of what they think is important, AND that 'importance' is passively controled by the government dictating what needs to be included in a government okayed English textbook. But let's not stop there. I believe the problem is two-fold. Anyone working in Japan's public school sector has received a firsthand experience of the failed English system. I think Japan's posh stance on not accepting any outside advice, even from non-Japanese who know the culture and the Japanese mindset extremely well, is the second reason Japan's English system is a failure.

I might be bold in what I say but that's the great thing about an opinion.


Here's a question for everybody working in Japan: Do you think it is possible for Japan, as a whole, to acquire a competent level of English without giving up a little bit of their own culture?
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Unread Jan 23rd, 2008, 05:21 am
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Default Re: Current grammar point?

The first time I actually ever did curriculum designing was when a few Chinese parents who had studied in western countries asked me to teach their kids. These parents later told me they wanted these kids to study abroad in future and that they would pay anything to straighten out their English.The parents asked me to put together a communicative course for the kids, while giving them practice with regular school grammar (this is essential for exams in China). The parents told me they felt the school was teaching the kids English in “disorder”. .Well, when I did my research I found out some interesting variables. The kids were aware of most grammar forms but never used them correctly, nor could they differentiate when and why they were used. Also, a few others knew a few complex grammar forms but missed out on very simple ones.I concluded they were suffering from a sort of grammar constipation owing to over stuffing them with too much at one time . I simply designed my communicative course along the idea Mark mentioned; which was actually that grammar must tie in with the communicative needs of students at different levels, introducing highly relevant grammar points and beefing that up as students advance in level. The results have proven successful since then.
Sorry guys if Iseem to just be loading this thread with my garbage. I might just be repeating what I mentioned earlier or elaborating on the obvious. Thanks for the input and site compliments Mark and thanks for bringing this up Patrick.Oops… Time for class...
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Unread Jan 23rd, 2008, 07:19 am
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Default Re: Current grammar point?

I think Mark and Kisito both made really great points. If I were to simply all the great information here in this thread, it would simplified down to:

1. Links
2. Mnemonics

Linking the each lesson to the previous lesson via menemoics to build a firm foundation and building block for future lessons.
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Unread Dec 12th, 2008, 09:20 am
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Default Re: help !! =)

hello! my grammer presentation is about 'didn't have to' vs 'needn't have done'. ı have difficulty in finding appropriate text which will help to teach these points in a context and an effective productive activity. could you please provide me some resource about this modal presentation?
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Unread Dec 14th, 2008, 08:25 pm
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Post Re: Current grammar point?

Quote:
hello! my grammer presentation is about 'didn't have to' vs 'needn't have done'. ı have difficulty in finding appropriate text which will help to teach these points in a context and an effective productive activity. could you please provide me some resource about this modal presentation?
Wrong spelling of grammar!

Needn't have done is a pretty obscure grammar point, and comparing it to 'didn't have to' is already making my head spin. Anyway, both are past forms, so you could use the context of giving feedback to an employee on something he has just completed.
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Unread Dec 15th, 2008, 06:04 am
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Default Re: Current grammar point?

Thank you very much for your idea =) I will use it for my activity.
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Unread Dec 16th, 2008, 09:04 pm
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Default Re: Current grammar point?

I've just finished the past progressive with a private student yesterday. But I've also been focusing on conditionals, which means designing and testing new worksheets for Heads Up English... which also means a lot of new resources for teachers and students.
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Unread Dec 19th, 2008, 12:23 am
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Default Re: Current grammar point?

I am going to be teaching tonite: "used to" grammar point and include the more complicated "had been doing" as well.

I introduced the grammar point: "have been ..." and "have ..." for the student and I think this is the natural progression.

The student is an elementary student and she has been studying with me for about four weeks. I use a lot of samples for writing activities, do listening activities (her major weakness) and also try to implement grammar with speaking.

I think tonight though, I shall review the grammar that I taught last week with a quick activity at the beginning and as she has started a new job, this would be useful to implement the "I used to work at ..." grammar point.

Has anyone have any suggestions to improve listening? The young girl has difficulty understanding native fluent speakers. Just need some fresh ideas.
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