Grammar and Lord Voldemort


Yes, it is a fact. Grammar is perceived by students as Lord Voldemort-this villain character- coming to deprive them of all their creativity, imagination and suck all their mental energy. Endless grammar exercises bore them out of their heads and who can blame them?

It is impossible to shove every grammar rule into our students’ brains. That is why we should aim at something totally different. I am not a proponent of discarding grammar books but we should teach grammar in a totally different way in a student-centred environment.

Text by: Dimitra Dougekou

Personally, I do not like my students to be like robots reciting grammar rules mechanically without being able to use the language constructively. We should all ponder and find channels that propel real learning. I believe that the holistic approach can make wonders in teaching grammar. We need to view language as a whole; because if we break it into pieces it is not language anymore. The teacher should instead create experiences that the students live in and thus will use the specific grammatical phenomenon in real-life situations. Our aim should be to teach grammar in a way that facilitates comprehension and production of language and more importantly engage students in practicing grammar meaningfully.

Immersing students in the learning process does wonders. This can be achieved by using art, gamification, and my favourite drama activities.  Drama is a teaching tool that allows students to express themselves either by undertaking a role or by simply being themselves. As they express their thoughts and emotions they become active participants and confident participants in a nurturing environment. What better way for students to learn the conditionals through hypothetical situations? With questions like ‘What would you do if…’  students can work in groups and make up stories and then act them out.  Enhancing student autonomy is of quintessential importance.

Is there a student who would not be interested in solving the mystery and finding the perpetrator? Describing what you see in a crime scene and how each clue is connected to each other is an excellent way to practice the tenses. If you also use drama props and realia you have created a memorable experience that is both beneficial as a teaching tool and also enjoyable to the students.

To recapitulate, the more assertive a student is the less he thinks about grammar rules because they are inherent in him.

Let’s not intimidate students with voluminous grammar books expecting them to learn by heart every grammar rule but instead feel content with students being able to use grammar constructively.

Then Lord Voldemort will have disappeared and we, as a new Harry Potter, will have experienced the magic of teaching.



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