Thursday, March 6, 2014

My New Friend: Grammar

Leaving Korea and knowing I wanted to teach in America, meant I would have to face the fact that I was going to have to teach "real English". The English I taught in Korea was more secondary, not directly linked to showing form, usage and meaning. I taught math through English my last two years and the ones before that I was basically a parrot for English phrases thrown together in the public school curriculum.

So when faced with the reality of knowing I will need to teach "real English" I knew this meant having a good grasp of grammar. Honestly, I couldn't verbalise the difference to you between an adjective and adverb a year ago. But I definitely can today, and that's because I've been teaching this to my students lately. Of course, I'm not proud that my ability to explain and identify grammar is low. However, I feel like I'm finally able to overcome my fears and poor ownership.

Next quarter I'll be taking a core class on the structures of English. Because I have a huge family event occurring during next quarter I want to get ahead. So I've been reading the book for that class and already it is making me experience tremendous leaps in understanding grammar. What has also been great is that it doesn't just talk about grammar (form, meaning and use) but shows us how and why it all comes together. I guess it is kind of hard to reiterate that into my own words.

But what I really need is the ability to have my own metalanguage of grammar and to teach my students in a way that not only is useful and makes sense to them but also to me. If I don't know what I'm saying than I have a harder time knowing if they are learning anything. The book talks a lot about how students learn grammar and how concepts have changed over time. I really like the new ways of inductive learning and language awareness techniques. For the TESOL conference at the end of this month I seemed to naturally be drawn to the grammar presentations.

I'm also really amazed at myself for being this excited about grammar and feeling a friendlier connection with the subject. I supposed having this confidence will give me a boost in the classroom to face uncertain random questions from my students.
Go Grammar!

My cat lady friend's grammar slideshow...I want to get to this level of understanding!

1 comment:

  1. Hahahaha, I wasn't expecting to find that :-) I need to upload my updated version; I think there are still typos in this one. Also, the book that I recommend on the last slide, Keys to Teaching Grammar to English Language Learners by Dr. Keith Folse is BRILLIANT. I recommend it to everyone.