Teaching Grammar – Conclusions

So what are our conclusions regarding Teaching Grammar?

1. Grammar is a means toward reaching a high level of proficiency, not an end in itself.

2. Teaching Grammar can be effective, interesting and even enjoyable.
Use short, interesting, relevant texts based on prior knowledge.
The texts should be relatively simple. Students will thus be able to focus on the Grammatical structures.

3. Comparing structures with the student’s mother tongue may often be very effective.
This is particularly complicated in Israel, where the mother tongue may be Arabic, Russian, Amharic, French, etc., and yet, since most students’ mother tongue is Hebrew, comparative analysis of certain structures may prove extremely helpful. For example, many Hebrew speakers often skip the verb BE in the Present Tense and say sentences like: Mother at home now or I tired at the moment. They would never make that mistake when referring to the Past. They would all say: Mother was at home or I was tired yesterday. Hebrew speakers tend to make such mistakes since they tend to translate. Automatic translation cannot be avoided, as most foreign language students know. In Hebrew, verb BE does not have a Present form parallel to the Present form of verb BE in English (am, are, is) and therefore, the sentence – אני עייף – is often translated as I tired instead of I am tired. In the Past, there is no problem since the structure in English is the same as in Hebrew.

4. Include Grammar in every lesson as an integral part of Reading Comprehension and Oral or Writing activities in Junior High, High School and College.

5. Teach every structure in context – not as an isolated item.

6. Too much is too little. Teach only what is necessary for high oral and writing proficiency.

7. Avoid sophisticated, linguistic terms.

8. Use Hebrew only if absolutely necessary for explanations.

9. Practice in class (even 5-10 minutes) and Homework (Grammar exercises) are an essential part of the teaching process. 

10. Insist on continuous review.

11. Choosing appropriate coursebooks is very important.
A comprehensive coursebook (that includes texts, stories, oral and writing activities and Grammar) should be used in Junior High and beginning of High School.
 A special Grammar book for review and remedial purposes, a “Grammar dictionary”, is highly recommended for eleventh and twelfth grades.

And last but not least: Enjoy the process!!

I will now bring a text that can be used to review Prepositions.

The following is a text (found in the internet) that can be very useful for intensive review of Prepositions. I have simplified and abridged the text.

Text related to Prepositions

There is a two-letter word that probably has more meanings than any other two-letter word in the English language. That word is UP

It’s easy to understand the word UP in the sense of toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP?

At a meeting, why does a topic come UP?  and why are the politicians UP for elections and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?

We call UP our friends and we use the word UP to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car,

To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.

We open UP a store in the morning, but we close it UP at night. If you are UP to it, try to think UP some more phrasal verbs with UP. It will take UP a lot of time, but if you don’t give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more. However, before you make UP your mind that the list is all finished UP, look UP the word UP in the dictionary. The word UP alone, excluding phrasal verbs, may take UP almost 1/4 of the page. 

Prepositions may take UP a lot of your time, but cheer UP, you will eventually learn how to use Prepositions.

You may wish to read more about Prepositions:

The New Language Guidebook and Workbook, p 347 – 368.

דקדוק אנגלי לדוברי עברית – עמ’ 237 – 248

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