With the new GCSE and A-level specifications, MFL teachers will once again be reflecting on the importance of grammatical accuracy vs. communication. It’s not a question of what to teach, it’s more about how best to teach it.
Each specification has a full grammar list which details exactly what students need to know, but how to make sure that they apply all those rules whenever they use the language? Can they do so when speaking spontaneously? When writing on an ‘unseen’ topic? When translating into English or into the target language? How about long-term, outside the classroom?
Grammar is the backbone of any language and an integral part of all language learning. It’s about finding patterns in language and using key structures in meaningful situations. It’s about learning how to manipulate a phrase - creating a simple sentence and then a more complex one to say what you want to say.
Right from the start, incorporating basic grammar in context gives learners the opportunity to understand how to use the language for their own needs. It doesn’t have to be dull - it can be part of an engaging, memorable learning experience.
Recent research has shown that long-term memory and recall improve when learners are involved in deducing grammatical rules instead of just being told. Even if they are wrong initially, they remember more from the process. So it’s worth encouraging students to ‘find the pattern’ for themselves instead of teaching them the structures first.
It’s all about providing them with fun and structured learning opportunities to work out the grammar for themselves. When they can explain it to each other - and to you - then you know they’ve really got it!
Here are five examples from this resource:
You can see all 20 teaching ideas in the resource below.