Effective Strategies for Teaching English Grammar

Hello everyone,

As an English teacher, one of the biggest challenges is making grammar lessons interesting and helping students really understand and use grammar rules.

Grammar is like the building blocks of a language, but sometimes students find grammar lessons boring, confusing, and hard to remember.

But don’t worry, there are ways to make teaching grammar more fun and helpful for everyone.

In this lesson, we’ll look at some proven techniques to make your grammar lessons better.

Teach Grammar in Real-Life Situations

One of the best ways to make grammar stick is to teach it in real-life situations instead of just talking about rules and examples.

When students see how grammar is used in actual conversations or writing, it becomes easier to understand and remember.

You can use real things like articles, stories, videos, podcasts, or even song lyrics to start your lesson.

Ask students to find examples of the grammar concept you’re teaching in these real-life examples.

For example, if you’re teaching the past perfect tense, find a story with lots of sentences using that tense and study it together.

Another way to approach teaching grammar is through situational practice.

This involves creating scenarios that require the use of the target grammar structure in a realistic context.

Students then practice forming sentences using the correct grammar within that situation.

Role-plays and simulated conversations are great activities for this type of practice.

By incorporating grammar into meaningful language usage, students can develop a deeper understanding of how grammar contributes to effective communication.

Instead of seeing grammar as a set of abstract rules, they begin to view it as a functional tool for expressing themselves.

To keep students engaged, it’s important to use timely and relevant examples.

Outdated or unrelated examples can cause students to lose interest quickly. Instead, use examples that connect to their lives and experiences.

Pay attention to current trends, popular media, major news events, or sports and incorporate them into your grammar lessons.

For example, when teaching articles, use celebrity names and phrases that students will recognize. When teaching prepositions, describe the layout of the school campus or a popular meeting spot.

You can also involve students in generating examples by asking them to contribute ideas based on people, places, activities, and language they are familiar with.

When students see grammar within their own contexts, it becomes more accessible and applicable to them.

Creative and relevant examples that align with their interests make learning grammar feel less like a chore.

Lastly, focus on addressing the high-frequency errors that students commonly make.

Pay attention to the grammar mistakes you observe in their writing, speaking exercises, or other practice activities.

Dedicate specific lessons to targeting these problematic areas and provide extra practice and reinforcement.

Focusing on the most common mistakes that students make will help you address the real problems that are holding them back.

Instead of focusing on more difficult grammar points that they may not be ready for yet, it’s better to tackle the areas where they struggle the most.

By doing this, you will help them improve their grammar skills and understanding.

For example, if you notice that students often make mistakes with verb tenses, coordinating conjunctions, or subject/verb agreement, spend some time teaching them about these topics.

Use different exercises to practice and reinforce their understanding.

Even when these topics are not the main focus of a lesson, try to point out and explain these errors whenever you can.

By making these high-frequency errors a priority in your teaching, you will gradually help your students become better at grammar.

It’s important to consistently reinforce these areas where they struggle. This will have a positive impact on their overall grammar skills and accuracy.

To effectively teach grammar, it’s important to combine explicit instruction with guided practice.

While it’s helpful to use examples and activities that students find interesting, you also need to provide clear explanations and examples that are easy to understand.

Avoid using complicated grammar terms that might confuse or overwhelm your students.

After teaching students about grammar, it’s important to give them lots of practice so they don’t forget or use it incorrectly.

There are many ways to do this, like having students find examples and non-examples of the grammar point, making simple sentences using the structure, answering questions, filling in blanks, or finding and correcting mistakes.

The key is to give students plenty of practice and offer help when they need it.

If you don’t give students enough practice, they might think they understand the grammar concept but then get confused or make mistakes when they try to use it on their own.

To make grammar easier to understand, use colors and pictures.

Grammar can be hard to imagine, especially for students who are still learning to read and write in English.

Use visuals to help students remember the grammar rules.

Using different colors to highlight and distinguish the parts of a grammar structure is a simple and eye-catching method.

Each element involved in the grammar construct is assigned a unique color.

When writing examples on the board or showing them on a screen, stick to these consistent color associations.

For example, when teaching about relative clauses, you could use red for the relative pronoun, blue for the subject, green for the verb, and so on. This clever use of color helps reinforce how the different parts of the sentence fit together.

You can also represent grammar structures through pictures, diagrams, charts, or other visuals.

Many grammar concepts can be easily illustrated using simple shapes and symbols to represent subjects, verbs, clauses, phrases, and more.

Timelines or flowcharts are great for visualizing verb tenses or the order of events in different sentence structures.

Don’t underestimate the power of these visuals to enhance learning and understanding.

Students often grasp and remember concepts better when they can see them visually represented through colors, diagrams, and illustrations instead of just reading plain text.

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Use Chants, Songs and Gestures

When it comes to teaching grammar, using rhymes, chants, and gestures can be super helpful!

Chants help you repeat the main grammar rules over and over again, while adding some fun rhythms and rhymes.

And if you throw in some hand motions or dance moves, you’re also getting some hands-on learning in there too.

Songs are another awesome way to help remember grammar rules – just find some tunes that your students like or make up your own grammar songs.

Singing about grammar might sound silly, but it really does help you remember the rules better.

These techniques work best with younger students, but even older kids can benefit from using chants and gestures to remember tricky grammar stuff.

Mixing up what you hear, see, and do helps your brain remember things better!

Encourage Paying Attention

When students notice and pay attention to grammar concepts on their own instead of just being told about them, it helps them understand and use them better.

You can encourage this by doing activities that make students more aware of the grammar they come across when they listen, read, and have conversations.

For instance, you can have students keep grammar journals where they write down real-life examples of a specific grammar rule, they are studying.

They can write sentences they have heard or read somewhere that show the grammar rule, and they can even take pictures of examples they find in signs or other written materials.

Students also benefit from exercises that make them more aware of grammar.

In these exercises, you give them sentences that have the grammar rule you are focusing on, but you don’t explain the rule right away.

Instead, you guide students to look at the examples and try to figure out the grammar pattern by analyzing, comparing, and discussing with their peers.

Once students have thought about the concept, you can explain the rule and make sure they understand it through more direct teaching.

By encouraging students to pay attention to and understand grammar in real-life situations, you help them become more aware of language and independent in their learning.

When you struggle and have realizations while learning grammar, it becomes more personal and meaningful.

To meet the different needs and abilities of students in your class, you can use activities that involve pairs or groups.

This way, everyone can learn at their own pace.

For pair work, you can pair up students who are stronger in grammar with those who need more help.

The stronger student can teach and explain concepts to their partner.

Alternatively, you can give different levels of practice activities and have partners choose the one that suits them best.

Small groups are also great for different roles and tasks. Students can take turns being the teacher, note-taker, presenter, researcher, and more.

When students of different levels work together, they can help each other, show examples, and provide support.

Another technique is called jigsawing. In this activity, groups analyze different examples and then come together to share what they found.

This helps reinforce grammar in a unique way.

By incorporating different opportunities for pair and group work, you can make sure that all students learn grammar at their own pace and get the support they need.

Use strategic grouping, different tasks, and activities led by peers to help everyone in the class improve their grammar skills.


Check out these awesome teaching books I recommend:


Teaching and Learning in English Medium Instruction: An Introduction


English Language Teaching: Recent Approaches

Cambridge Primary English Workbook 3

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