Teaching TEFL grammar is undoubtedly the most feared aspect of teaching the language to ESL students. Many of the ESL teachers find it tough to deliver the grammar lessons effectively. This is because most of the native speakers sometimes fail to explain the ‘why’ behind things. This is because they are of the belief that since English is their native language, they can easily teach all the parts of it. But when it comes to explaining the complex grammar rules, their dictionary is empty of appropriate grammar terminologies. Under such situations, their only justification is that things sound right this way but explaining the grammar rules becomes hard for them.
Being a native ESL teacher, I once had the same belief that my degree in English literature is enough for giving every type of language lesson. According to me, doing a grammar course will only add some worth to my resume by making me more employable but it will be of no practical use. But once I started teaching the TEFL classes, I came to realize that there is a lot of stuff that I still need to learn about my own language. So, the bottom line is, it doesn’t matter if you are a native speaker, taking some essential grammar lessons is a must for effectively teaching ESL classes. Here is a pro tip for you, unless you've already taken an extensive grammar course or have a relevant degree, don't ever enroll in a TEFL course that doesn't offer grammar lessons.
On the other hand, some non-native speakers with all the necessary knowledge of ESL grammar sometimes fail to efficiently convey the grammar lesson in a way that is understandable by all. So, being an ESL teacher (no matter native or non-native), you should first grasp all the important grammar rules and then brainstorm on how to explain them to the students in an understandable format. Because only then you’ll be in a position to point out the grammatical mistakes of your students and to answer their complex grammar questions. While doing so, never hesitate to say: “I’m not sure about how it works, so I’ll give you a detailed explanation in the next class.” And then actually do it after consulting your grammar books or online resources. This way, learning can take place in a mutually beneficial environment. With the help of our following useful tips, you can prepare the grammar lessons for a TEFL class in an effective way.
Pro Tips for Teaching ESL Grammar as An English Teacher Abroad
Teach Yourself Before Teaching It to The Students
As discussed earlier, many native speakers only have surface-level knowledge about TEFL grammar. They only happen to speak naturally without a detailed understanding of how things really work. If that is the case with you, try learning all the complex grammar rules in the first place. Because only then, you'll be able to deliver effective grammar lessons to your students. For that, try taking a TEFL grammar course, study English grammar books and utilize a vast variety of internet resources to master the TEFL grammar efficiently. Additionally, it will make you more empathetic towards your students. Because when you attempt to think by putting yourself into their shoes, you’ll be in a better position to understand their needs and also the mistakes they are doing. After that, you can help them correct their grammar mistakes to master the language effectively.
ESL Lesson Planning
If you think that you can enter a TEFL class without any preparation just because you know the language, then this could become one of your greatest nightmares specifically in grammar lessons. Because only having the surface level knowledge isn't always enough when it comes to teaching a TEFL classroom. Especially, while teaching ESL grammar, things could get even worse. Because English grammar is a tricky subject. Even the simplest grammar rules have as many exceptions as you could think of. So, nobody will dare to risk putting themselves at the mercy of these exceptions.
On the other hand, if you plan your grammar lesson beforehand, you’ll be in a better position to deliver effective grammar lessons by answering all the complex questions asked by the ESL students.
Ongoing Professional Development
If you believe that your TEFL course along with its grammar components would be enough to teach TEFL grammar for the rest of your career, then you need to rethink this perception. Because in a 120-hours long TEFL course, you’ll only cover the basics of various concepts and there always remains some room for further studies and learning of those concepts. That's why various professional development courses are designed for ESL teachers which help them to deeply understand complex grammar components and its various other rules. So, if you really want to help your students learn ESL grammar in a better way, try boosting your own skills via such PD programs. This type of professional development can be carried out in both formal and non-formal settings and you can choose any mean which suits your working hours and other schedules.
Show the Importance of Grammar
Although, language learning should be made as much fun as possible. But there are some concepts that remain dry no matter how hard you try. TEFL grammar is one of those components in which students are rarely interested in. Additionally, the English language and its usage are changing at a fast pace. Plus, the majority of the spoken language discussions are done without the use of proper grammar. These are some of the contributing reasons why students are not much interested in learning ESL grammar.
You need to perform some ice breaker activities at the start to show your students why grammar matters and why they should learn it. For example, you can perform a very simple activity by using classroom resources. Draw a mind map over the blackboard with heading "Why Grammar Matters" then ask the student to tell a point one by one and write that on the mind map. This activity will not only help to engage the whole class, but they will also understand a great many reasons why they should develop an interest in learning ESL grammar.
Be More Creative
Since most of the students consider grammar as a dry subject, you need to come up with some creative ideas to make this boring subject exciting for them. One tip is to put them into the role of teachers. You can do this by giving them the assignment to make their own videos explaining the grammar rules or ask them to create grammar worksheets as a group project. Such types of unique roles are enough to get excited for. And at the end of the day, you’ll be amazed by the great ideas and techniques your student will come up with. These activities will benefit both parties during the teaching-learning process. Because on the one hand, your job to teach grammar will become easy and on the other hand, they will learn some valuable lessons without getting bored or distracted.
Allow Them to Create Their Own Learning Goals
This is another great tip to engage the students in the learning process. Because when the learners make their own learning goals and then self-assess the progress, the whole process results in the achievement of all the specific objectives of your lesson plan. For getting started, first identify their problematic areas, create plans to solve them and in the end, ask them to take part in self-assessment activities. You can also explore the internet to find some useful self-assessment activities for grammar students. This interactive learning environment will definitely help to bring the most of out of them during the TEFL grammar class.
Reward Upon Error Finding
Try to add this practice of error-finding by the students into your curriculum. You can even give it as homework to find errors in any written material be it a webpage, newspaper, store sign or a book. The students who successfully complete this type of homework should be rewarded with candies in case of children or verbal praise in the case of adults. This way, the students will automatically develop a habit to note the grammatical mistakes and how to suggest possible solutions as well.
Are You Ready to Teach English Abroad?
Teaching English is, no doubt, challenging but if your heart is really into it, it can be the most rewarding job you could ever perform. Because your work abroad experience will give a sense of self-realization and accomplishment – some unique perks rarely to be found in other types of career paths. So, enroll in your TEFL course at TEFL Madrid Academy and let the adventure began!