Are you constantly frustrated by the mistakes your students make, repeatedly, even when you have gone over those points regularly?
Do you still pull your hair out when some, or a lot of your students fail a test you were sure they could pass, because you covered the material so many times?
There are several key acquisition points in core structure that come up all the time. These points are the like the vital organs in the body and your students constantly need all of them. You may be covering grammar without connecting it to these key points.
If they don’t master these at the inception, when their English progresses, it just gets harder to be accurate. You can’t really move on until these points are acquired.
Content and vocabulary can change as long you practice them until they are firm.
We will be talking about which structures are most important to master, why and in what order on the next blogs, but following are some general guidelines to consider.
Any language is always going to be doing one of the following things:
Universal Language Skills:
Have your students practiced all of them thoroughly?
If your lessons don’t include these options, add them on in different ways! Here are some suggestions:
- Arguing: You can have one team making oral statements and the other team refuting them. For advanced students this can be in the form of a debate.
- Nosy Detective: Ask for volunteers to be a ‘nose detective’ and send them out of the class. Then relate a happening, a news story or a bit of gossip to the rest of the class while the ‘nosy detective’ is out. What you relate must understandable to them. The class can take notes. The detective must ask at least 10 questions about the happening. The class must provide correct answers. A bonus point system can be set up for all structurally correct questions and answers. You don’t have to ‘correct’ errors but give credit for accuracy. Students will be eager to be correct.
- Cool dictator: You can have someone play the part of the ‘dictator’ by giving simple orders that include new verbs. Students can take turns receiving and carrying out the orders or acting them out.
- Say that Again Please: Someone can play lost and deaf as they are asking directions to get to a pre-designated place. The members of the class take turn giving directions but the lost one can’t hear, so they ask for a repetition. The direction giver has to repeat directions louder and clearer several times. Take a vote for the best ‘actor’ and provide a reward.
The point is that these should be in correct word order, as they are key acquisition points and they should be done quickly and emotionally (to engage the right brain).
Using a little rhythm or chanting also great for practice. In fact, this last practice could be a choreography, with different groups giving their own rendition. Give it to students as an assignment and be ready for a surprise when they present it.
Provide a short reading and see who is fastest at turning all the statements into questions or into negatives.
These can then be answered or refuted.
Remember your students will always be using one of these key language skills whenever they are speaking or writing English so they must master all of them.