TEFL Guide: Teaching Sentence Structures. | Nikolas John Cakebread | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
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Lessons in This Class

4 Lessons (21m)
    • 1. Teaching Structures Introduction

    • 2. Common Mistakes.

    • 3. Tables And Meaning.

    • 4. Steps And Rules.

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About This Class

Welcome to The Essential TEFL Gude: Teaching Structures.

In this lesson, we will cover a variety of different techniques for presenting and learning new structures in the classroom. We will look at ways to demonstrate the form of a structure via tables and look at some of the common errors made by students when using basic sentence structures. As well as this, we will look at examples of how to show meaning and the different ways a teacher can introduce the meaning of structures to their classes. Moreover, we will discuss the ramifications of these methods and take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of each method. Finally, we will discuss basic rules to follow when teaching structures to your classes.

Throughout this course, there will be plenty of Tasks and parts where you as the learner can take time to develop and construct your own ideas and think about how you would implement them into your own classes!


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Nikolas John Cakebread

Experience is the teacher of all things


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1. Teaching Structures Introduction: Hello there and welcome to this lesson presenting structures. Now, this is a follow on from my previous lesson about presenting vocabulary. So I recommend you check that out if you haven't already. In this lesson, we will take a look at what structures are, and we will look at some examples. As well as this, we will demonstrate how to show the form and meaning of a structure to a class. And finally, we'll take a look at how to organize and present a structure. And we will look at some general rules to follow. Okay guys, let's get started. 2. Common Mistakes.: The essential TEFL Survival Guide, Lesson 5, teaching structures. Common errors. We have all experienced the common grammar mistakes from our students. Let's take a look at this regular sentence structure. As an example, my mother cooks dinner every night. Here are some common mistakes that I have experienced from my students. Can you think of any others? My mother is cook every night. My mother cook dinner every night. My mother she cooked dinner every night. Every night. My mother cooking dinner. My mother cooking dinner every night. We have all heard of these types of mistakes before from our students. And even though these sentences are completely understandable because we are native speakers, they are a little abrasive to the ER, a need to be corrected. This is why we need to be careful and thorough when teaching sentence structures to our classes. We need them to be carefully and clearly understood and well-defined within the minds of our students so we can help them avoid these easy pitfalls. Later on. Structure table set up. Let's loop couple of sentences. I want you to think about how you can put them into structured table and give a visual representation of how to create new sentences. The first sentence is, I jump in the park. In this sentence, I have chosen to split it up into three parts. Who, what, and where. I want my class to think about pronouns. I want them to think about verbs, and I also want to think about location. In this example, I have chosen these three parts because my class are advanced enough to make different sentences with these three types in your class. If they are a lower level, you can make it just one. You can focus on verbs. Who walked, where is unnecessary? You can just focus on what? The second sentence, the pen is on the table. Again, I've chosen to split up into three parts. The what and who, where and what. Again, I feel the class I'm using this for would be advanced enough that they could interchange these words and make different sentences altogether. However, if it were a younger class, I might just focus on the prepositions. So they could do different prepositions for the sentence that parent is on the table. And then we would brainstorm other prepositions. The pen is under the table, the pen is next to the table, and so on. The trickiest splitting up sentences into tables is, you know, your class, how advanced are the walk? Can they manage? You build up and make it harder as a class get better and better. Using tables to display structures on the board can be very effective. You do, however, need to figure out ways to keep students engaged while you're creating and using it in the class. It can be a little dry. So it's up to the teacher to be creative and keep the students focused. Think of how you can include the students not only after it's been created, but during its creation. They can give you suggestions. They can write down their own ideas on paper or on the board. Even have competitions of races to fill in the information that you need. You can make it fun and engaging for them. Just remember, while creating it, you must continue to speak and keep their attention. You can ask them to copy in their books as well. And this is a very good idea to help retention. The main point here is if you use information collected from the students, it becomes more engaging and more meaningful for them. They will be more invested in the activity and want to perform better. 3. Tables And Meaning.: Structure table examples. There are many different types of structured tables. I have chosen six that I use frequently in my classes, but I'm sure that you can think of more. The first one here is a typical example of a structure table. Who, what, where, and when he jumped in the river yesterday, she ran in the garden TPM. I sang at school today. You can interchange all these sentences with each other. He ran in the garden yesterday and so on. Another thing is the tables don't always have to have titles. And number two, um, focus on shall I shall, we shall, we shall, he shall she. And I've given them different options to choose from. Also, you can get the students to give you options to make the tables more meaningful. In number three, clearly, my focus here is on the prepositions. So have given the many options for different prepositions. As they get more advanced, I obviously would make them change the nouns as well. The dog is on the table, the pencil is under the book and so on. Number four table here is for a class that's a little bit more advanced in these types of situations. I like to get into finish the end part themselves. You can turn it into an activity where you get them to suggest actions or consequences. They write them on paper and then they can draw them out of a hat. And then you can speak the sentence. For example, the room was so hot that I fell asleep. And so on. Number 5 table here, the focus is on the idiom, something cost an arm and a leg. So then again, the students can give me suggestions, we can write it in the table, they can copy it down in their book, and then we can use them in a game or activity. Finally, I wanted to show you a number six that you don't always have to set up the tables in the conventional way. You can use arrows or circles, or shapes, or highlights or colors. Anyway, that you can make it visually interesting will be better. When you look at this table examples, remember, they are just that our examples, there are many different ways to present these structures. And wherever we, you want to do it for your class is going to be fine. Just remember you can include the things we talked about previously in the presenting for capitally lesson, you can use colors, different colors for different types. Nouns can be blue, verbs can be green, and so on. Make it creative, make it visual, and they will engage more structures and meaning. So here I want to take a minute to think about some different ways we can convey meaning to our classes. Here are four teachers trying to show the meaning of the structure bigger than, not as big as to their classes. Let's look at these teachers and how the present, the structures. I want you to take a moment to think about and decide which is most effective, which is easiest to understand, which is most interesting for the students, and which is least interesting. So first of all, let's go through what each teacher did. Teach. A one talked about the buildings and the student's hometown. The school is bigger than the post office. The mall is not as beautiful as the park. Teacher to call two students out to the front and got the class to compare them. Mary is taller than Cindy. Tony is not as fat as Mark. Teacher three drew some lines on the board and got the students to tell the differences lie in a is longer than line B. Line B is not as long as line a. Teacher for drew pictures of people on the board and let the students describe them using the structure. The man is fatter than the boys. Okay, so now let's have a think about each teacher and which parts were effective and which parts were not. As well as this, we need to consider the fact that each teacher is going to have different students, different age groups, different levels, and different learner types. The other thing to bear in mind is even when you're presenting a structure to a class and you've made it as interesting and fun as possible. It can often be considered dull and boring to many of the students. This is why you need to plan your time accordingly and present the structures after you've done an activity or game that's been a bit more energetic, fun, and exciting. So they are ready to settle down and listen. Okay, so let's go over each of the teachers. Teacher one talked about the buildings and the student's hometown. Now, I would say this is a very good method because what he is doing here is he's relating the structure to the students. They are able to talk about their hometown, the place that they live, the place that they grew up. They will enjoy this. They want to talk about themselves. They wants to scribe where they live, and they want to say things about where they live. They want to show their opinions to you and the rest of the class. Slight variations to this would be get them to talk about their houses or their schools. You could get them in pairs or groups to describe their schools and compare their schools, compare their bedrooms, compare their houses, compare their gardens. Anything as long as it's personal about them. Teacher to call two students out to the front and compared them. This is a double edged sword, although is very personal and it keeps the students interested. You do need to be careful. Some students are very thin skinned and might take offense if someone says something not very nice and, you know, naughty boys in the class will take advantage of it to say mean things. Mary is fatter than blablabla tried to make sure if you do this, that you are controlling the class and you have a class, are able to handle it. Teacher three drew some lines on the board and got students to talk about them. This is fine. This is absolutely fine, but it can be seen as a little dull. So you would need to inject some fun and some energy into this activity. After you drew them on the board, maybe he gets students out in pairs to draw their own versions. Or you could have a race, you could give them the sentence, line a is longer than line B, and they could run and draw the lines for you on the board. Just adding a little fun, We'll make it more engaging. Teacher for tourism pictures of people on the board and let the students describe them using this structure. This is one I would definitely use in my classes, is fun and inoffensive and easy to prepare. You can get students out to create their own pictures on the board, or you can preprint pictures out to show them or have them on the computer screen to show them as well and get them to describe it. 4. Steps And Rules.: Organizing and presenting structures. So here we have a structure. Bla, bla has been blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Let's think about how we would organize and present less structure to our class. The teacher writes the situation on the board first, a woman starts waiting for a bus at four PM and at 5PM the bus comes. So let's think about it. What are the steps you as a teacher can take to present this information clearly to your students. Think about how you teach it to your own class. Here are the steps that I would take to present this particular structure. You can vary. These are mix-and-match as you see fit. First, I will draw a picture on the board and give some examples. The girl is waiting for a bus. She is standing at the bus station, make sure they understand what the situation is and what is happening. Next, I would write the sentence clearly on the board, create a table around it. For more advanced classes. I might even get them to give me some suggestions at different verbs that we could use. Then I would drill and repeat with the class. Here you can vary the types. You can use it in groups. You can use an individuals, you can use it. Cold calling, you can do with pairs wherever you choose to make it interesting. Then using the table, you can take a minute to break down the sentence even further. You can say, well, a woman starts waiting for the bus. Who else can wait for a bus? Man, a police man, a doctor, or a fireman, and so on. And they say, well, they're waiting for a bus. What else can they wait for? They can wait for a taxi, they can wait for a car, and so on and so on. If you want, you can even do a little extra material on time. Maybe time is the important thing you want to focus on here. Phi pm, 535, 45, ten past five, and so on. You have to decide what's important for your class. Here, you can start giving other examples. The woman starts waiting for a bus at two PM and at four PM the bus comes. She has been waiting for two hours. At this point. I will get the shoes, the copy, and write down the table in their books. They haven't got books. I would give them a piece of paper and they can copy it down or not. This is something that they might resist. The might feel it's a little boring, but push them to do it because it is beneficial. It helps retain the information and it helps reinforce the information. And then finally, we'll get students to try and think of their own examples and we'll have creative time to discuss. We can have student-student interaction, roleplay and games and activities to end. And don't forget any point during the steps. You can add a little game or activity to make it more fun and engaging. You can have a drawing competition to see you control the best picture, or you can have a race to seek and write the information when it comes to creating their own sentences, you can just have off the cuff games to help practice those sentences wherever you decide is absolutely fine. Rules to teach structures. This is not an exact science. Every class is different, every student is different, every teacher is different. So you need to narrow it down to things that make sense for your own lessons. Here are some basic rules that I follow when teaching structures to my classes. Number one, be aware of the common mistakes. Like we talked about earlier. There's always going to be common mistakes are typical to all ESL students. You as a teacher need to identify them. You need to understand the local dialects and you need to understand what parts your students are struggling with. Number 2, start simple and build it up. You don't need to give them the full sentence structure to begin with. If you think it's quite difficult than break it down and start from the beginning, start from the basics. You can have Mary eats a subject and verb, I sleep, and then you can add an object. I sleep on the bed. Tom reads a book, I play basketball and so on. And then you can add time later on. I know you can keep going from there until you've got what you need. Number three, give it time and be persistent. If there's one thing I've learned over my time as an ESL teacher is don't give up over the first hurdle. Students may not get it the first time you present it, but then you try again, and then you vary it and try again. They will get it. Do not give up. Keep on pushing and keep on trying. Number 4, incorporate some fun. Let's be honest. Learning languages is boring. It's boring for the students, is boring for you, especially when it's teaching structures. Teaching structures and meaning is a very dry thing to be doing. So you need to add some fun and incorporate some interesting and engaging activities into your lessons or the students will lose focus. Number five, correct mistakes. Now, you do not need to create every single mistake that they make, but certainly you need to take the opportunity to be in top of pronunciation errors and obvious grammar mistakes. Number 6, expand on the structures. This is something I tried to do every time we are teaching sentence structures. It gives you such great opportunities to expand and go into details and verbs, and time, and nouns and other things that you can make, activities and games and brain breaks with. You can use the materials within the structures for things like tables, sentence forms, word banks, mindmaps and so on and so on. These things will help retention and help engagement.