Skip main navigation
We use cookies to give you a better experience, if that’s ok you can close this message and carry on browsing. For more info read our cookies policy.
We use cookies to give you a better experience. Carry on browsing if you're happy with this, or read our cookies policy for more information.

Skip to 0 minutes and 1 secondHello, and welcome to Week 5. We're now in the last third of the course. Nearly over. And we're going to start this week by answering questions from last week, as usual. And one of the most frequent questions was should you teach grammar formally, formal lessons on grammar? Now Manolo, I think it was, said, you don't have to sugar coat the pill all the time. If your learners want to learn grammar, if they're interested in grammar and discussing tenses, go ahead and do it. Now there was a contribution from Rebecca, who made a comment about her learning Spanish and the way her son had learned.

Skip to 0 minutes and 39 secondsAnd she said that when she learned Spanish many years ago, she used to conjugate verbs by chanting them out loud, as, in fact, we did at school, I think, as well. Amo, amas, amat-- Yes, Latin, that's right. But by the time her son was learning 25 years later, he was taught that 'Tengo una hermana' meant I have a sister. But he did not know that 'tengo' came from the verb 'tener' or that he needed to change this to 'tiene' to say he has a sister. Chanting verbs aloud seems really dated now. But at least I understood the grammar behind what I was saying. And I think she's got a real point there. I do, too.

Skip to 1 minute and 13 secondsI think we need to make people aware of the patterns and how the language that you're teaching fits in. Whether you then give the tense a name and say this is the present tense, past tense, past perfect is another issue. But I think people need to be aware of patterns. But I think also there's an in between. There's a medium point. There's a middle point between the chanting and the not knowing what 'tengo' means. So we were talking last week about presenting language in context. So if you've done the work of presenting the language in context, showing the students what they mean, I think you can then find a stage in the lesson where you then focus on the form.

Skip to 1 minute and 53 secondsBecause last week, we talked really about focusing on meaning. And we talked about pronunciation. But we didn't really-- so if you dealt with the meaning and you've provided the students with examples, and they know how to say it, I think you can then break it down and have a focus on form. So that students-- so I would probably be teaching the tengo... hermana-- I've got a sister-- what is it? I've got a sister. Yeah, I've got a sister. Or he's got a sister. I have a sister. I think I would probably be teaching that.

Skip to 2 minutes and 20 secondsBut then, I would then have a stage in the lesson where we discussed, perhaps, the other forms of 'tengo', the other forms of 'have', and what would happen if it was a brother and that sort of thing. So you've got your pattern to take away. But you've also had the practise in using the language. And you could use people in the class. Couldn't you say, have you got a sister? Has he got a sister? Exactly. Bring in the he and she. I think finding out the name of the tense can be important, especially if your students have learned language before, they've learned English, maybe, in a different setting. I think they'll remember. You know, I remember I learned French.

Skip to 2 minutes and 57 secondsI can-- passe historique, passe compose. I couldn't give you an example, but I know the names of the tenses. So they might be the same. They might know past perfect, present perfect, and not be able to give you an example. So when they're learning it, you could make that penny drop. You could make the two things connect from their previous learning to the present. But I think with kids it's different. Because I think kids are learning, especially very young kids, are learning English as a second language at the same time as they're learning their own first language.

Skip to 3 minutes and 25 secondsAnd so I don't think they need to be bothered by rules and applying rules and all of that sort of thing, because it's not how they're learning their first language. I think another point for older learners in teaching the terminology is that very often the course books have little sections, don't they, where they say present perfect, past tense. So you want them, actually, to be able to revise at home, do exercises in the course book, and understand the terminology in the course book. So I think that that's another reason. OK. But I love grammar. And I love analysing grammar. So if your learners want to be grammar detectives and research the language formally, go ahead and do it.

Skip to 3 minutes and 59 secondsAnd there's loads of stuff on the internet. Lots of stuff. And you can do games, as well, with grammar, can't you? I'm sorry, I interrupted you, what did Manolo say-- Oh, Manolo said you don't have to avoid sugarcoating it. You don't have to sugarcoat the pill. And students feel they're learning something as well. If you are giving them nuts and bolts, they feel, oh, right, I'm learning grammar. This is really important. Yeah. Next question? Let's move on now to talk about translation. Now lots of people have made comments that a student's first language was a kind of barrier.

Skip to 4 minutes and 26 secondsAnd that's why they make mistakes, and that's why they can't learn a new language because of this barrier that their first language is causing. Now I actually feel you can make good use of the learner's first language. I agree totally. Because for one thing, if it's very different. You can say well, you know, in Spanish we say it like this. In English, we say it like this. Or in China, we say it like this. And in this language there are auxiliaries. And in this language there aren't auxiliaries. So you can compare. So use the first language as a tool. Obviously, you don't want to be talking in that first language all the time.

Skip to 4 minutes and 57 secondsIt's very good, you know, for the students to get models. But I think, actually, some things would be more efficient in the first language. I agree. Like, if you're giving an explanation of something that's quite tricky to explain, and maybe the teacher herself can't explain it because they find it tricky to use English, just quickly explain it in the home language. Obviously difficult if your learners have all different languages. But I'm talking about contexts where you share a language with the learners. Yeah, and I think teachers can be really kind of fussy about it as well. It's a bit like switch off your mobile phones.

Skip to 5 minutes and 30 secondsWe had a comment, actually, last week from a student-- teacher who's teaching on the course, teaching business English to students. And she can't persuade them to do homework, and she can't persuade them to turn their phones off. Why does she-- if they don't want to do homework, don't give them homework. I mean, what-- anyway. What were we talking about? Let's move on now, Marie Therese. We were talking about translation. Yeah, I think it's because teachers think, oh, I must speak English all the time. I must speak English all the time. But I mean, I think it's normal. It's normal to loop in and out. Yeah. And it can, like you say, it can be more efficient.

Skip to 6 minutes and 6 secondsIf the student says is this-- whatever the word is in English, you could say oh, no, do English only. Or you could just say yes. Yeah. And that solves the problem. So just a sensible approach-- people wanted to know about more approaches to grammar. And last week, we talked about inductive and deductive. Now one approach that was mentioned on one of the steps was about guided discovery. OK. Can you give an example of a guided discovery approach? OK, so guided discovery means that the guiding and the discovering-- the discovering is done by the students. So students discover the rules of grammar through your guidance. And the guidance is often a text. So you'd have a text about-- so let's think.

Skip to 6 minutes and 46 secondsFor example, I have a text that I use to teach past perfect, which we were talking about last week. And in the text it's a story of a man who gets on an aeroplane and he thinks he's arrived in Rome, and in fact, he hasn't. Anyway, that's the story. And in the text, there are multiple examples of past simple, past perfect, past continuous. So the idea would be that the students would read the text for kind of gist, general understanding, and do some kind of task for content, understanding content. And then they would do a task which focused them specifically on the examples of the grammar in the text.

Skip to 7 minutes and 25 secondsSo for example, you would have a sentence where it says he got on the plane. After he had left home, he got on the plane. Or after he'd left the airport, he got on the plane. And they would examine that, and do detective work, as you said before, about that one sentence. So they would answer questions. How many verbs are there in the sentence? What time are they-- past, present, future? Do they happen at the same time? No. Which one happened first? Yeah. That's the guided discovery bit. OK. And then you would provide practise, obviously. They would make up their own sentences. They would maybe have a similar context or something where they would do something like that.

Skip to 8 minutes and 4 secondsSo what you're saying is a reading text could be used in two ways. So what we were talking about in Week 3 when we were talking about skills, you are using that text to develop reading. And then one approach, actually, that we didn't mention, which we usually do mention is talking about KWL, which-- Somebody mentioned it. What do I know? Already, before you read? What do I want to know? And then you read, and then what did I learn? So that's one way of dealing with a text. What I've just talked about is using that reading text to provide a context for the language and then to lead into discoveries.

Skip to 8 minutes and 36 secondsAnd the reason you have to give that kind of content, gist reading task first is that it's impossible to do the detective work-- If you don't understand. -- if you haven't understood the whole thing. Exactly. So first, you need to deal with the content, and then you do the detective stuff. OK. Just want to make that clear, that you're using texts in different ways. And then lots of people wanted ideas for resources they could use to improve their own grammar. And in fact, I mean, I often will have a grammar book. Absolutely. Absolutely. There are things that you-- you suddenly think well I'm not quite sure how to describe that. No.

Skip to 9 minutes and 8 secondsOK, so grammar books-- Martin Parrott has a book called Grammar for Teachers, which is, I think, quite accessible. The Raymond Murphy series, English Grammar in Use. That's for learners, isn't it? That's for learners. But actually, I think it's a really useful resource for teachers, especially new teachers. Because it's written for learners, it's quite easy to understand. And of course, there's a lot of online stuff. I think I put in a link, actually, I think it was in Week 1. I don't remember the gentleman's name. But he was asking about improving his grammar. And I put in a link to the Cambridge-- Cambridge English have a grammar course, an online grammar course that costs 10 pounds.

Skip to 9 minutes and 50 secondsAnd I put in a link to that earlier in the course. Maybe we'll put it again on this page. But there are also other kind of online courses, grammar courses that you can do. And actually, I find them a lot more accessible than grammar books. Than books, OK. And somebody mentioned Michael Swan as well. Yeah. That's a real kind of-- yeah. I mean just go online, and you can put what's the difference between 'that' and 'which' and you can get answers online. Or you have to be careful that they're not-- The BBC website has a lot of stuff on different kinds of grammar for teachers. So lots of advice there. And the British Council as well.

Skip to 10 minutes and 23 secondsAnd finally, Marie Therese, if I want to do CELTA, how much grammar and stuff do I need to know-- Oh somebody asked that-- --up front? Yeah, well, you don't actually need to know a whole lot. You need to know some. But the most important thing that you need to know is how to analyse language and how to access it. So you need to be able to use one of those grammar books that I talked about. So you need to be able to go to the grammar book and find out what is the form, what is the meaning, what's the use, so that you can then turn that around to the students in the class.

Skip to 10 minutes and 55 secondsAnd I think most-- you know, all CELTA courses have teaching practice. And in the time, how many-- 40 hours of teaching practice-- you get to see people teaching so much grammar that you learn it as you go along as well. Yeah. So basically a sort of sensitivity to language, a little bit of a sensitivity. I mean, because most people that-- I mean, the requirement to start a CELTA course is C1 level. So everybody that does a CELTA course has the knowledge, because they're using the language. They just might not know the labels, and that will come. Yeah, OK. So this week, we're going to? This week, we're going to do resources, all kinds of resources. Yeah.

Skip to 11 minutes and 31 secondsAnd actually, we've had a lot of people asking can you tell me resources for such and such, and can you tell-- and I've not answered any of them. Because I hope you'll find out the answers this week. And you'll be overwhelmed with resources by the end of the week, we can promise you. So enjoy the week, and we'll see you at the end of Week 5. Bye bye. Bye.

Introduction to Week 5

Monica and Marie Therese start the week by answering the question we asked you to think about at the end of last week. They also answer some popular questions from Week 4 and introduce this week’s topic: resources. This video will appear here on Friday 2nd March at around 3pm (UK time).

There’s quite a long list of things teachers can use as resources, isn’t there? This week we’re going to explore some of the different resources teachers use in the classroom. We’ll hear from learners and teachers about the resources they use and you’ll see some teachers using different resources in class.

As in earlier weeks, there’ll be quizzes and polls; we’ll invite you to make a podcast and and we’re going to be asking you for your views on using different online resources.

We look forward, as always, to seeing your contributions to our tasks and reading the comments and ideas you share with us this week.


Why do teachers talk so much about different resources? Why are they so important? Write your ideas in the comments section. Say also what you hope you’ll learn in the course this week.

As you work through the week, remember to mark each step you finish as complete by clicking the button at the bottom of each page. This will help you qualify for a Certificate of Achievement if you choose to upgrade your course.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Exploring the World of English Language Teaching

Cambridge Assessment English

Contact FutureLearn for Support