How to demonstrate grammar

When explaining each tense structure it’s best to go separately: first, through positive sentences, then questions and at the end negations (when the sentence is negative, eg: He doesn’t like fish). Also, it’s always important to analyse the structure of each tense by showing what it looks like for each pronoun (I/you/he etc.). That’s why, with each sentence or structure in this book, we’ve presented them for all the pronouns, one after another. It may seem dull and hideous for you but you need to bear in mind this is not as tedious for somebody who isn’t English. The best advice for the teacher is to always try and put yourself in your students’ shoes – how would you like to have it explained in another language? The answer is always the same: slowly, clearly, step-by-step.

Have you ever started a new job when the person showing you around talks so quickly and uses so many acronyms and technical jargon that you are completely disheartened and you worry that you will never get the hang of it because it looks and sounds so complicated? That’s probably how you feel now and it is definitely how your students will feel. Just as much as it is our job to explain it slowly and clearly to you, trying to avoid technical jargon, it is your job to try and do exactly the same for your students.

Once your students understand how to build a sentence, question and negation with each given structure then you may introduce the usage, ie why we use it, what is the need for it, what are the most characteristic situations for it to be used in. The higher the level of your students, the more you can say. Naturally, if it’s the first time they’ve ever heard of it, there is no need to give more than one usage. Whereas with a group that is familiar with a given structure it is okay to go into more detail so that they learn something new. You will find that most of it follows common sense and you will quickly get the hang of it.

You have familiarized yourself with our terminology. There is one more thing that is important before introducing tenses: that is understanding the word order typical for the English language. Again, for you it may sound obvious but there are students from other cultures, speaking completely different languages, who may naturally try to translate their language into English, following their language’s rules of word order. It is important that your students understand that in English any basic sentence will follow such order:

(noun / pronoun) (action) (noun, pronoun)

Remember, it’s going to be complicated because you are going to be introduced to a lot of new terminology and to some pretty foreign concepts. We will try our best to explain it in as straightforward a fashion as possible but there is no way we can avoid the terminology completely. Take each bit step by step and try to keep in mind that you know the answer; all you are trying to do is understand why and how.

Good Luck!