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ESL forum > Techniques and methods in Language Teaching > No idea !!!    

No idea !!!


No idea !!!

Have you ever realizad that most english ss don�t even have any idea on grammar in their native language ?

Since this knowledge, I believe, might help teachers to show ss the fastest way to acquire english as a second language; Why not teach basic grammar for some classes in their native language and then begin with english ?

Pls I would like to hear of any experience or sth similar just to see how it works out.

Thanks a lot

20 Oct 2010      


It happens in 90% of the cases in Brazil. Most of Brazilians have problems learning Portuguese grammar. In our case it wouldn�t be a good idea to teach Portuguese grammar first, because our grammar is much more difficult than English, it�ll be unnecessary pain for students.

We can help students� learning preparing games, role-playings, teaching songs or whatever to make them practice the new language. The more you practice, the more grammar makes sense, even if you don�t remember the rules.

We have to be patient because even if they are unable to recite rules by heart they�ll use them after some years�

Have a nice day / evening!

20 Oct 2010     


I agree with Zailda. Each language has different grammar and it would be useless to teach the grammar of the native language to teach a completely different language afterwards.
In portuguese, for example, we don �t have a diffence between the Present Perfect and the Past Simple. For us is all just the same, we make just a simple past in every case. So it �s difficult to explain the difference between these tenses in English. I think practice is the key, like Zailda said.

20 Oct 2010     

Gia Mel

No grammar in Spanish for me... I agree with Zailda... Unnecessary pain for the ss... If you like to teach grammar, just use it in English, because at the end it �s easier... 

20 Oct 2010     


In my case, I teach nine year old children and I can asure you they can write and express their ideas better in English than in their mother tongue. Maybe because the English textbooks and all the pedagagical background we as teachers are exposed to, in some way is a bit more advanced, in teching terms, than that of Spanish at least. 
My mother is a teacher too, but she teaches Spanish in a public school here in Argentina, and whever I compare my classbooks to hers I discover that we give our students more tools to understand a text for example and to write better.
So I wouldn�t teach Spanish grammar at all. English and Spanish are completely different languages and I think your students would end up confused.

20 Oct 2010     


I don �t completely agree. How can ss understand something if they can �t compare a certain structure with something  (similar or completely different) in their mother tongue? However, that doesn �t mean that you have to explain all grammatical rules and structures of their mother tongue but point out the similarities or differences along as you go. We also don �t have a tense similar to the Present Perfect but there are such good ways how the tense can be taught- and compared to what we have. And it is useful- if I don �t do that, ss don �t understand how to use it in English and consequently make too many mistakes.
I don �t believe in learning the rules by heart but in understanding how the grammar- language works.
Have a nice day.

20 Oct 2010     

United States

As an adult learner of Spanish, it actually helped me sometimes to learn more about English grammar.

Before I started learning Spanish, I knew very little about English grammar. My instructors would sometimes point out aspects of English grammar in order to teach Spanish grammar*. It enabled me to compare/contrast some of the aspects of the grammar of both languages. I ended up understanding more of the grammar of both languages and remembering the Spanish better.

There is a book which many English speakers learning Spanish have found helpful: "English Grammar for Students of Spanish", by Emily Spinelli . It is one of the textbooks in some Spanish classes here in the US. There are similar books for English-speaking students of Russian, Japanese, French, Italian, Chinese, Arabic, and even Latin.

I �m not saying you should teach L1 grammar first and then teach English; however, being able to understand some of the similarities and differences between their L1 and L2 can sometimes help students.


* "In English we say it this way; in Spanish, it�s different" or "In English the rule is...  It�s the same in Spanish except for..."

20 Oct 2010     


The point is that one doesn �t need to know the rules of grammar to speak a language.  We teach things in the wrong order.  A child when he/she learns to speak, doesn �t first learn to read, then grammar and then to speak.  He/she learns to speak, then to read, and then grammar.  I, for one, do not teach grammar other than to say "when we talk about things we do generally, or as a habit, he, she, it, always take an S."   Then I give examples in the course of speaking.  "Today, I woke up late.  I always wake up at 7:00, to day I woke up at 7:30.  What time do you wake up?"  (point at student.)  Student answers and then I turn to other student and say "He/she wakes up at 6:30 every morning.  When does Katya wake up?" "I don �t know."  Ask her, etc.

Hugfrom Israel

20 Oct 2010     


I completely agree that in teaching English we don�t need to teach grammar, per se, especially to young learners.
However, I also teach Spanish to adults, and because of the way Spanish differs totally in its concordance, I always do a very brief resum� of English grammar, because most of my adults have never heard of a noun, nor adjective, so to try and teach them the rules of gender and number as it applies to nouns, etc, would be almost impossible.

20 Oct 2010