18/100: Reflecting on Penny Ur’s Teaching Tips – 6. Grammar & Brevity

Avoid obstructions Naomi's Photos
Avoid obstructions
Naomi’s Photos

This is part six of my blogging challenge.

As a veteran teacher it is easy to fall into the trap of doing things a certain way just because I’ve done them that way for years, without remembering the reason why. 

I’ve decided to set myself a blogging challenge – reflect on one tip from each of the 18 sections that compose Penny Ur’s latest book: “100 Teaching Tips”, so as to dust off old practices that may have remained unexamined for too long.

Tip Number 26: “Keep {grammar} explanations short”

Can I have students read this tip about keeping grammatical explanations short and expanding as needed, when needed? Please?

This tip reminds me of what September is always like in my mixed grade learning center. Can you picture the following? I’m sure you can!

Naomi (to a really struggling learner in the 11th grade, T.): “Well done T.! You remembered to use the “ing” because it’s happening now!”

T.  flashes a big smile.

New 10th grader (sitting nearby): “MY teacher in my OLD school called it the Present Progressive, and said we could also use “ing” to express events in the future and for something I think was called Gerunds. Here T. I remember all the rules by heart, do you want me to write them up for you in your notebook”?

T.  Smile is gone. Body stiffens. Expression darkens. Stops working.

Naomi inner voice:  Oh no! How do I get you away from T.?! Now! 

Naomi out loud (to new 10th grader): Your old teacher would be so proud of you that you remembered that information. It’s really nice of you to want to explain it all but T. is doing brilliantly and why don’t we get back to what you were working on? You can use “ing” in your answers and show me how much you know”.

T.  Relaxes. Starts working again.

Can you picture it?






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