Pearson Longman ESL January newsletter
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John Brezinsky
Two Things You Aren't Spending Enough Time On in Grammar Class
John Brezinsky, Higher Education Marketing Manager

We all want students to understand and use grammar accurately and fluently. The major challenge is often getting the right mix of instruction and practice—and the right balance of controlled and free practice. Here are two things many instructors don’t give enough time to in their grammar classes.

Error Correction

After students have studied the target grammar and completed some controlled exercises, editing practice is an effective way to test their understanding. You can take the previous day's writing assignment and write the number of grammatical mistakes at the top—or you can save time by using a textbook that contains editing practice in every unit. Students' ability to find and correct common learner errors is a good indication of their readiness for more open-ended exercises.

Speaking Practice

A lesson's final speaking task should always be contextualized, extended, and relevant to students' lives. A good communicative role play may take as many as 20-30 minutes, and teachers often do not budget enough time. Students need this time, however, to practice using the target grammar in meaning-focused situations. Teachers who budget time for extended speaking report that their students are much better speakers as a result.

Focus on Grammar and the Azar-Hagen Grammar Series both offer opportunities for error correction and speaking practice. Focus on Grammar Interactive (now online) and Azar Interactive (online soon) also feature error correction and speaking to continue grammar practice outside of the classroom.

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