On Fluentify, our theory is that “Speaking, everything changes”. Most of our sessions are speaking or conversation focused, which allows our students to improve their overall fluency and confidence in their ability to communicate and express themselves in English. However, sometimes students want to review a certain grammar topic or you notice that they make the same grammar errors frequently.
So, how can we teach grammar through conversation?
In this article we wanted to propose some ideas and guidelines on how to incorporate grammar topics while maintaining a fluid and productive conversation.
1. Plan ahead
Being able to teach a grammar topic so that your student will understand and truly benefit from your explanation usually involves some preparation. Our first tip is to decide before the session if you are going to address a certain grammar topic. If the student asks you a specific grammar question during a session that you feel confident you can answer clearly off the top of your head, that’s fine, but if you know the explanation would be significantly better if you have a few minutes to take some notes and organize your thoughts, tell the student that you will discuss it during your next session.
2. Find an adaptable material
The great thing about Fluentify is that we aren’t a standard language school. Our approach to grammar should not be taking a lesson directly from an English book and reading it to our students. Rather, we should incorporate the grammar naturally into the session.
For example- If your student wants to discuss the difference between the simple past and the present perfect, try to find an article or a video that uses both of these tenses. With this approach, the student can practice identifying the two different tenses and you can use the context of the material to explain how and why the two tenses are used. Explaining grammar in context makes a huge difference.
3. Let the student practice
Explaining a grammar topic to a student is one thing, but a student absorbing it and being able to replicate it is another story. That’s why it’s important to have a student practice the grammar topic you’ve discussed by instructing them to generate a few of their own examples. This is where you’ll see if they’ve understood the concept or if you need to try to explain it in another way.
4. Send a follow up exercise
For sessions when you focus on a specific grammar topic, it’s always a good idea to send a short exercise or activity focused on the topic in addition to your normal follow up activity. This gives the student the chance to do some more practice and see that they’ve understood the lesson, or rather prepare questions for you for your next session about the things that are still unclear.
There are many other ways to incorporate grammar into your Fluentify sessions. What are some things you guys usually do? What do you find effective? Share in the comments below!