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23th AGOUST, 2016

Planning a class is one of the first steps for teaching effectively. Although not all
teachers consider this activity necessary, others do prefer to make a plan of the
class especially when a teacher is to be observed as part of an assessment or
performance review.

Having a plan for the class also shows the level of commitment for the teachers, as
Harmen (2007) explains it “shows students that the teacher has spended time
thinking about the class” (p. 156). For teachers, a plan gives the lesson a
framework. It helps them to define where they want their students to reach and
what they are going to do during the class. A plan also functions as a remainder,
as something ‘unexpected’ might happen teachers tend to forgot what they were
doing or what is next, so a plan helps to remain teachers what they intended to do
(Harmen, 2007).

Before planning a lesson, teachers should answer seven fundamental questions

that according to Harmer (2007) are essential to decide what activities to take to a
lesson: “Who exactly are the students for this activity? What do we want to do and
why? How long will it take? How does it work? What will be needed? What might
go wrong and how will it fit with what comes before and after it?” (p. 158)
.Answering those questions will help teachers to have a clearer and wide vision of
the objectives to reach and how they are going to achieve them. Moreover,
planning a lesson effectively also requires coherence and variety. For coherence
we meant, “students can see a logical pattern to the lesson” (Harmer, 2007, p.
157). There should be a consistent connection between each activity, each of them
guiding to the other one logically and assorted. Variety in the lesson period is
needed too as it lets student to different things, more practice on different task
about the same topic (Harmer, 2007).


Before starting to explain why grammar is important in teaching a second

language, it is useful to know what grammar is and what other authors say about
the place of grammar teaching hence that we can get into a conclusion about its

Foremost, Ur (1996) explains that grammar "is the way words are out together to
make correct sentences" (p. 75). To make a correct sentence, the structure of it
should be grammatically acceptable that is: I am a teacher not I are a teacher. An
ungrammatical sentence will be meaningless as the communicative context will be
lost. For that reason, teaching grammar is controversial in the process of teaching
a foreign language mostly since "the knowledge of a language means, among
other things, knowing its grammar" (Ur, 1996, p. 76).
By contrast, Newmark (as cited in Ur, 1996) states, "the important point is that the
study of grammar as such is neither necessary nor sufficient for learning to use a
language" (p. 77). Here, the author says that learning grammar is no needed as for
instance when we learn our own mother tongue without really knowing its
grammar. However, such statement misses the point not whether teaching/learning
grammar is "necessary nor sufficient" but whether it helps or not. We conclude it
does, as the correct use of grammar contributes to express meaningful and
accurate ideas, opinions or long discourses. In fact, Ur (1996) also stands out that
grammar helps "as a means to improving mastery of the language" (p. 78).

While this is true on teaching grammar, Larsen-Freeman (2003) give us another

perspective about grammar within the use if a language introducing the term
‘grammaring’. In short, she defines it as: “the ability to use grammar structures
accurately, meaningfully and appropriately” (p. 143). In order to develop this ability
is necessary to change the way grammar is viewed in traditional teaching, that is,
regard grammar as a fifth skills and not a merely area of study. Nevertheless,
“mindful practicing with grammar structures and using them for one´s purposes will
hone the grammaring skill” (Larsen- Freeman, 2003, p. 143). Furthermore, Larsen-
Freeman (as cited in Brown, 2007,) pointed out that “grammar is one of three
dimensions of language that are interconnected (…) [being the second and the
third dimension semantics and pragmatics, in which grammar gives us the form or
the structures of a language]” (p.420).


Bastone (as cited in Cameron, 2001) suggested sequencing of grammar learning

activities around particular patterns or structures.

 (re) noticing. - Students being aware of structures (they recognize the

connection between form and meaning)
How to plan successful noticing activities according to Bastone (as cited Cameron
in 2001):

 Support meaning as well as form

 Present the form in isolation, as well as in a discourse and a linguistic
 Contrast the form with other, already known form
 Require active participation by the students
 Be at a level of detail appropriate to the learners
 Lead into but not include activities that manipulate language

 (re) structuring. – According to Cameron “involves bringing the new

grammar pattern into the learners’ internal grammar and, if necessary,
reorganizing the internal grammar” (p. 109)

He stated that (re) structuring activities require controlled practice around

form and meaning, and that the students must be involved (actively) in
constructing language to convey precise meaning, moreover, learners
should manipulate the language, changing form in order to express
meaning, also the learners can be giving choices in content that requires
adjustments in grammar to express meaning.

 Proceduralizing. – Cameron (2001) states “that this is the stage of making

the new grammar ready for instant and fluent use in communication and
requires practice in choosing and using the form to express meaning.” (p.


Grammar is fundamental when it comes to teaching and learning of languages. It is

also one of the more difficult aspects of language to teach correctly.

While teaching grammar is important that teachers take all the opportunities that
arise to help students to develop their grammatical knowledge in the foreign
language Cameron (2001) in his book Teaching language to young learners
suggests a few techniques that can make grammar teaching more efficient:

 Working from discourse to grammar

Cameron (2001) mentions that there are many types of discourse that occur in the
classrooms and that have grammatical patterns that occur naturally, therefore they
can be exploited for grammar learning for example; classroom discourse context
and routines can serve to introduce new grammar with access to meaning
supported by action and objects, or to give further practice in language that has
already been introduced in other ways
 Guided noticing activities where students are lead to notice
grammatical patterns in the language.
As it was mention before noticing is a process in which learners become aware of
the structure, notice connections between form and meaning. An example of a
guided noticing activity is for the teacher to give out extracts from texts (magazine
or newspapers, articles, etc.) and to ask students to identify a particular form or
grammatical pattern. Then examine this patterns more closely to observe the
functions they perform at both the sentence and text level.

 Listen and notice.

Students listen to sentences or a piece of talk. E.g. a story or phone call and
complete a table or grid using what they hear in order to complete the grid, they
need to pay attention to the grammar aspect being taught.

Example: “The house was built”



 Language practice activities that offer structuring opportunities

In structuring activities according to Cameron (2001), the goal is to help learners to
internalize the grammatical pattern so that it becomes part of their internal
grammar. The focus is on internal work that happens as a result of activities that
demand accuracy, rather than on fluency in production

 Questionnaires, survey and quizzes

For example, students interviewing their classmates (What’s your favorite food?
What did you do yesterday? etc.).

The teacher needs to plan which language form the students will be using. In this
case the students need to prepare and rehearse the questions to ensure accuracy
and the activity must be managed by the teacher so that the question is asked in
full each time.

To conclude is important for grammar learning to take advantage of opportunities

that arise in the classroom. A grammar sensitive teacher will see the language
patterns that occur in task, stories, songs, rhymes, and classroom talk, etc. and will
have a range of techniques to bring the patterns to the children to notice and
therefore organize a meaningful practice.

Brown, D. H. (2007). Teaching by Principles and Interactive Approach to

Language Pedagogy. (3rd Ed.). New York: Pearson Education Inc.

Cameron, L. (2001). Teaching language to young learners. UK: Cambridge

University Press.

Harmer, J. (1998). How to Teach English. England: Addison Wesley Longman.

Harmer, J. (2007). The practice of English Teachin. UK: Pearson Education


Larse- Freeman, D. (2003). Teaching language for grammar to grammaring.

Boston: Teacher source.

Ur, P. (1996). A Course in Language Teaching: Practice and Theory. UK:

Cambridge University Press.

 Imagine that you are a teacher of beginning level English students. How will
you arrange the following structures in order to teach them? State your

1. Verb to be (present tense)

2. Subject pronouns (I, you, she…)
3. Yes/no questions (with the verb to be)
4. Negative statements with the verb to be
5. Present progressive

 Chose just one topic from the last task and complete the following grammar
lesson plan for planning your class effectively. While doing so, think about
the questions suggested by Harmen (2007).

Stage Activity or Procedure time Materials and Aids Anticipated Problems

Warm up




Wrap up