Teach English in Anjing Zhen - Chengdu Shi

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Do we have to learn grammar? This is probably the most repeated question in a typical classroom. Every teacher has to reply, but it's sometimes incredibly difficult to answer without discouraging your students. Learning word tables filled with irregular verbs or drilling exercises seem to be extremely distant from actual usage. Should we ignore this part of language learning? Or maybe there are more persuasive justifications? Let's find out. The best way of convincing your students that grammar is essential is to refer to their personal motivations. Learners have to understand that their goals are always connected with grammatical efficiency. Why? It's easy. Grammatical structures are nothing else than ways of expressing ourselves, our thoughts and our needs. If we want to be more precise in our communication than we have to know the principles behind tenses, reported speech, passive voice, etc. Grammar is like a scaffolding. You'll need it if you want to create a long-standing house – or in this case – a proper message. There are people who claim that knowledge of simple grammatical forms is good enough to communicate, but I disagree with this argument. I believe that true conversation is based on the balance between receptive and productive capabilities. Understanding present simple tense isn't going to help us if we want to talk about something else than directions to the nearest railway station or our movie preferences. We need to expand both vocabulary and grammar in order to maintain sufficient contact with native and non-native speakers. Another argument which is extremely convincing to students is the fact that true understanding of grammatical structures helps in learning other languages, especially if they are within the same family. For example; there are multiple similarities between German and English. Finding analogies and differences between these two languages speeds up the process of learning because people tend to remember things better when they truly comprehend them. It will be enormously encouraging for students if they know that learning additional language will become easier. At last, comprehension is crucial. That's because teachers and learners have limited time and in some point students will have to start to work on their own. Proper understanding of grammatical structures forces to self-correction which should be an ultimate goal of every learner. This kind of learning process is very rewarding and encourages further development. Of course, just like everything in language learning, knowledge of grammar requires regularity and many exercises. That's why acquiring new structures has to be accompanied by practice. Watching movies without subtitles, reading English books, talking to native and non-native speakers, writing e-mails should be accompanied by deep grammar analysis. Of course, there are multiple ways of teaching grammar. It's important to adjust our methods in a way in which our student will not get bored. In conclusion, I think that knowledge of grammar helps us to build, use and understand the language. But do not let it dominate the teaching process. Fear of making grammatical mistakes silence students. We have to remember that even native speakers do not speak grammatically correct.