If you observe a student experiencing frustration in your grammar class, you shouldn’t immediately conclude that your teaching is at fault. A number of reasons could explain the student’s feelings, not all of which are related to your approach and strategies for teaching grammar. Consider the following:
10. They had a negative experience in the past with another teacher. Advice: Foster a fun, supportive atmosphere that will help make unpleasant memories fade.
9. They had a negative experience in the past while trying to study grammar on their own. Advice: The same as above. Also, encourage both cooperative learning and independent study so they know the benefits of collaboration yet realize that independent effort is a good and necessary component of language learning.
8. They aren’t placed in the right level. Advice: Placement exams aren’t always accurate especially if a student doesn’t perform well on standardized tests. Let a student’s performance in class and in homework be the true indicator.
7. They aren’t engaged by the material being used. Advice: Know your students. Do you need to supplement the assigned material to cater to their interests? Can you modify textbook activities to make them relevant to your students’ purposes for learning English?
6. Their frustration is directed toward grammar lessons, not grammar as a subject. Advice: Do you always approach grammar topics in the same manner? Does your basic lesson format ever change? You may need to experiment more so that students sometimes experience the format they are most comfortable with and other times are stretched (not yanked) into a format that tests their flexibility as learners.
Can you predict what I’ll list as the top five reasons? You’ll find out in my next post!
[To Be Continued]