Learning Article : Let's Learn English Grammar Incidentally!

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Let's Learn English Grammar Incidentally!

Throughout primary and secondary school, and even later at private language schools, grammar is forced upon students in a very prescriptive way. It seems to be the passion of most curriculum managers and language school directors to force a structural syllabus upon teachers.

Jan 12, 2015 12:00 AM
Comments · 2

Good article, thanks for posting, Steve.


I also agree that a word is only learned if you know how it is used - in what collocations, and whether it is formal or informal. Students should be able to use it in controlled practice (such as a gap fill exercise), and in free practice (ideally making their own sentence with the word). And often it is best to learn language in 'chunks' (phrases or short sentences). This can be a good way of exposing a student to a new tense or structure, rather than starting with the grammar rules, verb conjugations etc. Students are only motivated to learn rules if they can find a good use for them.


I like the idea of a table, which is shown in Steve's earlier article, and printed cards. However most of my students now use electronic flashcards, also known as spaced repetition programs. And I am using one of these programs myself as I learn Portuguese, and it is certainly very useful. 


Above all it is important to have a variety of tasks in language learning. Listening, engaging in conversation, reading, learning rules, drilling, writing, memorization - all of these make a contribution, and changing from one mode of learning to another keeps our brain activated.

February 1, 2015

I totally agree, because I lived it. I`ve studied English grammar for my entire student life but it never helped me to talk. Most of the time the exercises didn`t make sense and I forgot as soon as I did the exercise. When I came acrross with a teacher who worked exactly like you said I finally could improve my English. That helped me to make friends and make friends took my English to another level. I`m still studing English but this time more relaxed and in informal way.

January 24, 2015
Language Skills
English, Serbian
Learning Language