Do your students groan when you tell them they are going to study grammar? Perhaps they don't realise that grammar is all about communication. Read our top tips to find out how to make grammar more communicative.
When you do gap fills, use questions rather than sentences. When students have filled in the gaps, they can ask and answer with a partner. Try the following exercise on the present perfect and past simple.
* Present the grammatical structures as normal and drill as necessary.
* Give students the following gap fills:
How long _______________ (you, live) in your current house?
When _______________ (you, move) to your current house?
_______________ (you, read) any books by Hemingway?
_______________ (you, do) your homework last night?
Where (you, go) _______________ last weekend?
_______________ (you, go) to the beach this year?
_______________ (you, have) any strange dreams recently?
_______________ (you, have) a strange dream last night?
* When students have filled in the gaps, ask them to check with a partner and compare answers.
* Check the answers as a class then tell students to ask and answer the questions with their partner.
* Finally, write some topics on the board (e.g. dinner last night, snake soup) and tell students to write questions to ask their partner.
Use pairwork sheets to revise a grammar topic you have taught. Pair work sheets are two lists of questions on two separate sheets. Each student has one but cannot look at their partner's sheet. Students ask and answer the questions then think about the grammar they have been using.
Try the following activity to revise 'will', 'going to' and the present continuous for the future. * Put students in pairs of A and B and give them the following sheets:
Are you meeting your friends this weekend? Are you going to study at university? Where are you going to live when you are older? Is someone collecting you from school tonight?
What is the first thing you will do when you get home tonight? What are you going to do next summer holiday? Will you watch TV tonight? Are you going to buy any new clothes in the near future?
* Tell students to ask and answer the questions on the sheet and to listen carefully to the grammar that their partner uses.
* When students have finished, write the following questions on the board and ask students to discuss:
Which tenses did your partner use in his or her questions? Why did he or she use those tenses?
* As feedback, ask students to explain their answers to you.
Cuisenaire rods are those multicoloured sticks of plastic or wood that come in a box. You can use them for all sorts of purposes. Try this activity for a chaotic but enjoyable lesson (if you don't have any rods, use pens or coloured pieces of paper).
* If you have just taught prepositions, give every student a different question containing a preposition (e.g. What music stations do you listen to?; What would you like to be famous for?).
* Ask your students to read their question and remember it. Now give each student a cuisenaire rod and tell them that the rod represents their question.
* Each student must find a partner, ask their question and answer their partner's question. Then they teach their question to their partner and learn their partner's question.
* When they have memorised their partner's question, they exchange rods and start again with a new partner and their new question.
* It helps to model this process a few times with one of your more able students. Deliberately make mistakes when the student is teaching you their question and students will understand that they have to correct their partner.
This activity gives students personalised speaking practice as well as allowing the students to act as teacher for a while.