Suggestions and Activities for Teaching Verb Tenses

The order followed for teaching verb tenses can make the structure of the English Language easier for the students to understand. Whereas pre-teen and early teen children learn a language by listening and repeating what they hear, without any need to think about grammar, this facility seems to fade as everyone gets older. The older a student is the more he or she will want to analyze the structure or learn using rules. Unfortunately many rules for the English language have exceptions – sometimes many exceptions. This article suggests a logical sequence for introducing tenses to beginners and supplies some sample activities.

If a program starts by teaching the simple present tense only, and the students are never given an activity or exercise that includes another tense, then the present tense will become clear to them in spite of the irregular conjugation of some of the verbs. When an irregular verb such as “to be” is used in present tense sentences in many different types of exercises and activities, the students will become fluent with its use.

Once they are comfortable with the simple present tense, they will be ready for the simple past tense. Once again, if the past tense introduction is followed by many oral activities and written exercises, the students will be ready for the present progressive and the past progressive tenses.

What Kind of Activities Should Follow the Introduction of a New Tense?

Oral Questions

ORAL QUESTIONS that the teacher asks the whole class, are the best way to begin. They allow the teacher to see where the students are having difficulty and to provide the help they need. It’s usual for many of the students to have the same problem.

SMALL GROUPS allow students to ask each other the questions provided and help one another with the answers. It also gives them a time to practice speaking English.

ROLE-PLAYS help the students to move into real life situations. These may be about making introductions or perhaps ordering in a restaurant. Role-plays can be carefully written using a controlled number of tenses.

Try the activities below with your Beginners
ROLE-PLAY
Read the dialogue with your teacher.
Find a partner.
Role-play it.
Change roles.

NARRATOR: Jane meets her friend Harry.

JANE: Hi, Harry. How are you?

HARRY: Hi, Jane. I’m not so good.
This is a bad week.
How are you doing?

JANE: Just great! Are you sick?

HARRY: Yes, I’m at home from school today.

JANE: You can have my notebook.

HARRY: Thanks Jane.

SMALL GROUP ACTIVITY
Divide into small groups and ask each other these questions.
Check the small print for your answers.

1. Is Jane a girl?

2. Is Harry a girl?

3. How is Harry?

4. Who is at home from school?

5. What does Jane give to Harry?

6. What does Harry say?

1. Yes, Jane is a girl.
2. No, Harry isn’t a girl. / Harry is a boy.
3. Harry is sick.
4. Harry is at home from school.
5. She gives Harry a notebook.
6. He says, “Thanks Jane.”

WHOLE CLASS ACTIVITY
The students are to move around the classroom asking and answering these questions. They can check for some possible answers.

How are you?

How are you doing?

How are things going?

Things are going well.
I’m fine, thanks.
I’m not so good.
I’m so-so.
I’m not doing very well.
I’m great!

The secret when teaching verb tenses is to provide students with an interesting variety of  relevant exercises, games and activities. They need to have many opportunities to practice speaking in sentences, using ONLY the tenses that have been introduced.

See Also:

ESL Curriculum

Learning English with Laughter

Students using our curriculum learn their grammar.

About Daisy & George Stocker

Successful ESL was created out of our first company, Learning English With Laughter which began in 1990 when we, George and Daisy Stocker, traveled to the historic city of Karlovy Vary in Czechoslovakia, to teach English in a private language school. Communism was over and the people were embarking along the road to democracy. There were hundreds of students eager to learn the English Language, but suitable textbooks were non-existent. Consequently, we wrote as we taught, making countless revisions as we listened to the students' special needs. Upon returning to our home in Victoria, Canada, we have adapted the Teen-adult Series to meet the cultural needs of students in a number of different countries. A variety of adaptations have been achieved through contacts with many countries. Thousands of students have encouraged us to use a conversational approach to English that stresses communication in a variety of everyday situations. See our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Successful-ESL-Ltd/322661351104350
This entry was posted in English Grammar, ESL Activities, ESL Suggestions, Teaching English, Tips for Teachers and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

69 Responses to Suggestions and Activities for Teaching Verb Tenses

  1. Wonderful blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m completely confused .. Any ideas?

  2. We have found that WordPress is very adequate for our needs.

  3. Ernest says:

    An impressive share, I simply given this onto a colleague who was doing just a little analysis on this. And he in actual fact purchased me breakfast as a result of I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to debate this, I really feel strongly about it and love reading extra on this topic. If possible, as you change into expertise, would you thoughts updating your weblog with extra details? It’s highly helpful for me. Massive thumb up for this blog submit!

  4. Suggestions and Activities for Teaching Verb Tenses I was recommended this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my problem. You are incredible! Thanks! your article about Suggestions and Activities for Teaching Verb TensesBest Regards Justin

  5. We are constantly working on them.

  6. A large percentage of of whatever you state happens to be supprisingly accurate and that makes me ponder the reason why I had not looked at this with this light before. This particular article truly did turn the light on for me personally as far as this specific subject matter goes. But at this time there is 1 factor I am not too cozy with so while I attempt to reconcile that with the actual main theme of the point, permit me see what all the rest of your readers have to say.Very well done.

  7. Sorry, but I disagree with this post. I do like your specific blog page though and may keep on coming once more for updates.

  8. Ta Granat says:

    Whats up there admin, I clearly wanted to leave a quick mention to actually admit that I enjoyed your specific blog post. Thanks!

  9. If you check the samples on this site for ESL Children’s curriculum and ESL Storybooks you’ll find a variety of materials.
    In the Children’s curriculum look at: 4a – A Trip to Saturn plus books 4B, 5A, 5B.
    http://www.esl-curriculum.ca/childrens-esl-curriculum.php
    The storybooks stress creative writing.
    http://www.esl-curriculum.ca/childrens-esl-storybooks.php

  10. Marian says:

    That is the suitable weblog for anyone who wants to search out out about this topic. You understand so much its almost laborious to argue with you (not that I actually would want…HaHa). You positively put a brand new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Great stuff, simply nice!

  11. This post is really so true! Why have I not thought of these before?!

  12. Nichol says:

    Where is the facebook like link ?

  13. Jazda says:

    I don’t even understand how I stopped up right here, but I believed this post was great. I do not know who you’re however certainly you’re going to a famous blogger in the event you are not already. Cheers!

  14. Suggestions and Activities for Teaching Verb Tenses I was suggested this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my difficulty. You are wonderful! Thanks! your article about Suggestions and Activities for Teaching Verb Tenses Best Regards Shane Shane

  15. Top post. I look forward to reading more. Cheers

  16. “You really know your stuff… Keep up the good work!”

  17. I like what you guys are up also. Such intelligent work and reporting! Carry on the excellent works guys I have incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it will improve the value of my website :)

  18. Cyrus says:

    Thanks a lot for finding the time to explain the terminlogy towards the novices!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>