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Task 8

Provide a list of reasons why English language teachers need to know about grammar. In doing so, try to give some thought to the learners’ perspective.

You can’t teach something until you understand it. Well, at least to older children and adults. This is because of the way we learn. We need to know why we say things in a certain order, and how we can use grammar rules to make sentences we haven’t learnt yet.

So if you know that you can put a gerund at the end of the sentence ‘I like …’, then suddenly you can make a bunch of sentences, including ‘I like swimming, I like dancing, I like walking’ etc. You can then give the rule, ‘I like to go …’ can ALSO be followed but a gerund, but ‘I like to …’ can’t, and must be followed by the verb stem e.g. run. When students know these ‘rules’, they can practice them, and know when and why they are making errors.

Teachers need to know these rules, and the exceptions. They also need to make sure they are teaching correct English and not colloquial/slang, especially if the students are studying English for the purposes of taking exams. When a teacher doesn’t know the rules, and can’t explain why certain things are they way they are, students can get frustrated and give up.

A personal experience was when I was teaching superlatives, and I got confused which words changed to ‘-i/est’ and which ones we used ‘the most’. A teacher should definitely have an in-depth knowledge of the the grammar s/he is teaching, especially if the lesson is a grammar lesson!!!

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