Sara Davila is a Learning and Language Acquisition specialist. She is widely experienced in the field of education as a teacher, materials writer and teacher trainer. As one of the foremost experts in the Global Scale of English, Sara is uniquely positioned to share practical advice on getting the most out of this innovative teaching tool. In this series of ten blog posts, Sara details her top uses of the Global Scale of English (GSE) Teacher Toolkit.
In today’s article, Sara looks at how teachers can use the toolkit to plan a communicative grammar lesson.
Planning grammar lessons with the GSE Teacher Toolkit
Grammar is one of the core areas of language teaching. Often, new teachers are nervous about teaching it, but sooner or later all English teachers will have to get to grips with it. Whether you love or hate teaching grammar to your students, the GSE Teacher Toolkit makes planning a successful grammar lesson easier than ever.
When it comes to planning a grammar-focused lesson, there are two main strategies to choose from; a communicative approach or a focus-on-form approach. The communicative approach is more commonly used.
So, let’s have a look at how the GSE Teacher Toolkit can help you plan a communicative grammar lesson that is effective and engaging for your students.
Teaching communicative grammar
When you’re planning a grammar lesson, you want to be sure there is a reason for students to use the grammar point that you’re going to teach. That way, your students will be more motivated to learn the form and practice using it correctly.
Using and applying grammar generally requires producing something. That’s why grammar, as an enabling skill, is often aligned to speaking and writing, the productive skills. When you want your students to use or produce a particular grammar form, you can begin by looking for the associated skills in speaking and writing.
Choosing a skill to teach
Imagine that you have a class that is learning at an A2 level (35 – 40 on the GSE range). You’ll want to help them work towards A2+/B1. So, it’s a good idea to plan lessons around skills that are in your target GSE range to push their progress.
In order to plan an A2+ range speaking class, you can filter the GSE Teacher Toolkit to look in your target learning range for specific skills to teach:
The GSE Teacher Toolkit defaults to showing you objectives from the least difficult to the most difficult. However, you can use the extra GSE Range Filter tool in the results to sort your objectives, in order to see the results in order of difficulty. This way, you’ll be able to focus on the more challenging skills. In turn, this will help your students make meaningful progress.
Choose a speaking skill that is in your target learning range. Then, use the drop down arrows to the left of the GSE objectives to check if there are grammar recommendations.
Many of the learning objectives in the GSE Teacher Toolkit are aligned to specific grammar points. This makes it simple to review the grammar points which are related to a specific productive skill such as speaking or writing.
You can use this list to see if there is a grammar point that aligns to your coursebook, simplifying planning. You can also use the list to identify ‘grammar gaps’, where your coursebook might not cover grammar points that your students need to review before they can practice the speaking skill.
Using the grammar tab
If you’d like more detail about the specific grammar point, you can use the GSE Teacher Toolkit grammar search. Just click on the grammar tab. It allows you to search for the grammar point suggested – in this case, gerunds. By doing a quick gerund search, you’ll find the target form:
Using the grammar tab shows that the gerund form is the appropriate level for your A2 class.
The GSE Teacher Toolkit also reveals that as well as the gerund form, there’s a slightly more challenging grammatical skill; using gerundives as a complement. You can easily add this to your speaking lesson to push your students just that little bit further.
Planning your lesson
So, with the help of the GSE Teacher Toolkit, you can now plan a grammar-focused lesson using the speaking objective. You can clearly see how the grammar skills will be used to support the productive communication during the class:
- Lesson: I like/I dislike
- Learning Objective: Students will be able to explain what they love or hate. They’ll be able to describe their interests by using like, love, hate with verb phrases in infinitive forms
- Classroom activity: “Find Someone Who” interview activity
In this lesson, you can help students make progress by using both grammar forms to support the final activity. In the interview exercise, students will produce information in their own words, using the grammar that they have learned.
Here, you’ve created a well-designed lesson that promotes communication using correct grammar. This is why the GSE Teacher Toolkit is such a good resource for teachers. It allows you to quickly and easily align grammar content with learning and planning for communicative success.
Access the GSE Teacher Toolkit and try it out for yourself. For more ideas on using the Toolkit, check out Sara’s other articles in the top ten countdown, including using the GSE Teacher Toolkit with a standardized curriculum, for lesson planning inspiration and to develop a vocabulary list.
And don’t forget to keep an eye out for the next article in the series. This will focus on how the GSE Teacher Toolkit can be used to check that your lessons are at the right level for your students.