Although Grammar Dimensions 3 is an excellent grammar textbook, that includes very complete grammar explanations and extensive practice; the population currently using it does not show neither interest nor improvement in their grammar skills. Ninth grade students from a private high school in Heredia have a hard time completing the tasks, and often ask for support material because thistextbook is complicated and sometimes monotonous. The students have worked with this textbook for over three years and still there is a gap in their grammar skills, which means the book need serious modifications in order to fulfill their needs and facilitate learning.
Being highly proficient in English opens the door for many good opportunities, both socially and academicallyspeaking. Students in this school are expected to master the four English skills and cultural aspects of the target language by the time they graduate from their high school bachelors’ degree. However, I have found that students in 9th grade still struggle to chose the correct verb form; grammar is the foundation for a good performance in any language, grammar is everywhere. Therefore, grammar shouldbe taught in a meaningful, a way that will help the students learn for good. As a teacher of English as Foreign Language, I have the entire responsibility to facilitate learning; encourage my students to use correctly the target language in all kinds of situations. In order to facilitate learning and make the lesson more appealing, taking into account my students’ needs and learning objectives Ihave made some modifications to one of the units of the textbook Grammar Dimensions 3.
Teenager students appreciate and benefit from direct instruction that allows them to apply critical thinking skills to language learning. Teaching should not be about giving them a bunch of rules and practice, leaning has to be meaningful.English teachers can take advantage of this by providing explanationsthat give students a descriptive understanding (declarative knowledge) of each point of grammar. Some advices given by Patricia Byrd are the following ones:
* Teach the grammar point in the target language or the students' first language or both. It is important to remember that our main goal is to facilitate understanding.
* Limit the time you devote to grammar explanations to 10 minutes,especially for lower level students whose ability to sustain attention can be limited.
* Present grammar points in written and oral ways to address the needs of students with different learning styles.
An important part of grammar instruction is providing examples. Teachers need to plan their examples carefully around two basic principles:
* Be sure the examples are accurate andappropriate. They must present the language appropriately, be culturally appropriate for the setting in which they are used, and be to the point of the lesson.
* Use the examples as teaching tools. Focus examples on a particular theme or topic so that students have more contact with specific information and vocabulary.
Lesson | Activity |
Lesson 1 Monday 15th | OpeningtaskFocus 1Activity 1Focus 2Activity 2 |
Lesson 2 Monday 15th | |
Lesson 3 Wednesday 17th | Review GAME BOARD activityFocus 3Exercise 3Focus 4Exercise 4 |
Lesson 4 Wednesday 17th | |
Lesson 5 Monday 22nd | Watch videoWriting activityPeer editing |
Wednesday 25th | Submit HomeworkCheck homework |
Grammar is central to the teaching and learning of languages. It isalso one of the more difficult aspects of language to teach well. According to Byrd (1998) several language instructors think of grammar as a fixed set of word forms and rules of usage. They have the wrong idea that correct grammar is only used in formal situations and that having an incorrect grammar is well accepted in everyday situations.
Moreover, Byrd explains that Language teachers who...