Many languages of the world are regular in the way that they are structured. This makes English grammar very difficult for thousands of students whose first language follows a consistent grammatical pattern. Although there is nothing anyone can do about the irregular structure and the exceptions in English, it might help to build self-confidence and success if we stress the similarities, give plenty of praise and provide interesting activities.
One approach that is the most helpful, is to use a program that provides an opportunity for the students to use the content in a variety of different ways. They need to practice it orally in the whole class setting, in the small group setting, with a partner and individually in writing.
While they are working orally with the whole class, perhaps asking each other questions, one of the most helpful things the teacher can do is to:
“Catch them doing it right”!
When an insecure student answers correctly, recognize his or her correct answer by saying:
“You’ve got it!”
“Way to go!”
“You’re getting there!”
“You’ve got it right!”
“Now you’re talking!”
“That’s first rate English!”
At first they won’t understand all these words of praise but they’ll soon learn them. This approach will give even the most insecure student a boost in the way they feel about learning English and greatly increase their self-confidence. Unfortunately, if these phrases are used too often they will lose their effectiveness. For best results control your use of them and use them randomly.
Some verb tenses are formed in a regular manner.
The present and past progressive tenses are a good example of this.
This tense uses the verb “to be” + the present participle.
The present participle is always formed by adding “ing” to the root form of the infinitive.
Present Progressive Tense:
Positive: I am reading a book. / We are reading a book.
Negative: I am not reading. / We are not reading.
Past Progressive Tense:
Positive: I was reading a book yesterday. / We were reading a book yesterday.
Negative: I was not reading a book yesterday. We were not reading yesterday.
I’m reading. / We’re reading.
I’m not reading. / We’re not reading.
I wasn’t reading a book yesterday. / We weren’t reading a book yesterday.
These are the same structure as the Present Tense but use: “to be” + the present participle.
Types of Activities that Provide Practice and Promote Student Confidence.
Throughout every lesson the most important factor is to maintain a positive feeling about learning English. If the students feel that they are successful then it’s likely that they will progress very well.
Here are some types of activities that will help to achieve that goal.
These activities have the students working:
– in the large group where the teacher can provide positive feedback
– in pairs where they can answer using their own situation
– in competitive teams where they ask each other the questions. The answering team gets a point for each correct answer.
– question and answer activities (with the answers provided) that can be done outside of class time with a friend.
Choose the suggestions that match your style of teaching. Many teaching approaches are needed to accommodate the needs of the variety of students worldwide.