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Want To Teach Grammar Communicatively? It’s So Simple. Follow These 3 Tips

Teaching Grammar Communicatively (TGC) means increasing the students’ ability to communicate effectively using grammar points.

Grammar points often seem boring because they’re taught separately from the larger contexts in which language is used.

The problem is not in grammar itself, but in the way, that grammar has been taught and learned.

So, you should consider teaching grammar points in a way that encourages students to use them in real-life situations. That’s Teaching Grammar Communicatively (TGC).

Here are my three simple tips for you to make a success in TGC.  

1. Base Your Lesson on PPP Model

It means designing grammar lessons to include Presentation, Practice, and Production stages.

  • In the presentation stage, you can focus more on the accuracy,
  • In the practice stage, you should give students more opportunities to use the target grammar.
  • In the production stage, focus more on fluency and using personalization in various grammar practice activities.

Some of the activities that should take place in the production stage are:

  • Games,
  • Role-plays,
  • Discussion,

Games are an excellent method of communicative grammar practice because they allow students the opportunity to practice and develop language skills in an enjoyable and low-stress manner.

2. Use Out-Of-Class Assignments.

Another way to provide students with more opportunities for communicative grammar practice is to give them out-of-class assignments that require using the target grammar point.

Here are two examples of out-of-class assignments:

Daily Routine

If students are practising the present simple for routines, they might practice the grammar point in class and later, for homework, write a short paragraph about their daily routine.

Interview Questions

They can also record themselves producing the target language either with another classmate or on their own.

They can make interview questions based on the target grammar point and interview a partner, or they might write a script using the target language and record themselves acting it out.

3. Teach Grammar in Context

A grammar lesson might start with a context with the target grammar item that students work to understand and use.

For instance, if your target grammar item is the simple present for routines, the lesson might start with a paragraph of a daily routine. The teacher would then elicit from the students the verb tense in the examples, providing guidance and explanations as needed.

However, a lesson that makes use of context does not have to start with a context. It can start with the rule and examples and then later show the use of the grammar item in context.

The Importance of Using Context

Understanding a grammatical item in certain examples or choosing the right form in a grammar exercise is a good way to see how a language item works within a context;  a conversation or a piece of writing.

For example, if you teach “It’s a(n) _____. Your students practice sentences such as it’s a pencil, it’s a book, and it’s a notebook.

This is fine, but look what happens if you use the article in context:

  • “A boy put a book on a table”.
  • “The book on the table has an orange cover”.

In the first context, we mention “a boy”, and “a book” we use the indefinite article “a”, but in the second context, we use “the”.

Without using context, we could not show this relationship. This is just one example, but it serves to show how grammar in context often functions differently from how it works in isolated examples.

Which We Should Start With First; Context Or Examples?

Some teachers start with rules and examples and then move to context, but other teachers start with context and then move toward rules. Many teachers use both approaches.

When deciding whether to present the context first or later in the lesson, consider students’ proficiency levels and previous experience with the target grammar item as well as their learning preferences.

Also, we should consider the grammar item itself. For some grammar items, showing the context first might be the best approach, and for other grammar items, starting with rules and examples might be a better choice.

Final Word

Teaching grammar communicatively should be a part of the lesson meaning that it is not the whole lesson. Some students still need to be aware of grammar forms.

A full or partial explanation of the target grammar item form and then a certain amount of practice depends on your students’ level of proficiency.

Thanks For Reading

Recently I’ve published more in-depth articles; some of them are related to teaching grammar. To read them, you can subscribe to my ELT Premium Content.

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One thought on “Want To Teach Grammar Communicatively? It’s So Simple. Follow These 3 Tips

  1. In grammar lessons rules are explained or memorized, written exercises are the focus of the lesson, and the students end up feeling they grasped the rule but they cannot use it when trying to communicate.

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