How to avoid getting tangled up with English grammar rules
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Real English grammar is messy. As teachers and course designers, we’ve created a cleaned-up version to present to our learners as ‘rules’. But those rules are full of holes. As our learners progress through the levels, they get frustrated with all the weird ‘exceptions’ to those rules. But what if the problem isn’t with English grammar, but with the pseudo-rules that we created?
In this webinar, I’ll show how a closer look at so-called exceptions can reveal much more elegant rules underneath. With a few tweaks to the way we teach grammar, we can save ourselves, and our learners, a lot of trouble later!
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- You’ll deepen your understanding of some of the most troublesome areas of English grammar, including future forms, conditionals and wishes.
- You’ll learn how to tweak your classroom explanations slightly so as to avoid frustration and confusion later. For example, if you talk about ‘patterns’, ‘reasons’ and ‘choices’ rather than ‘rules’, the issue of ‘exceptions’ virtually disappears. And if you stop referring to ‘the future simple tense’ and just call it ‘will’, your learners will cope much better when they meet non-future uses of ‘will’ later.
- You’ll gain the professional confidence to deal with difficult questions from your learners: “But why can’t we say that? English is stupid!” Instead of answering, “It’s an exception! Stop asking questions!” you might decide to exploit your learners’ curiosity to explore the hidden elegance of English grammar!
English teachers are like stage magicians. Magicians need a deep understanding of how their tricks work, but they don’t share all that information with their audience. Similarly, we teachers can increase our own background knowledge of English grammar without necessarily inflicting all that information on our poor learners.
So this webinar is mainly about you, the teacher, and your knowledge of English. Whether (and how) you decide share that knowledge with your learners is a different matter! But we will, of course, end with some practical tips for applying the ideas in the classroom