Help! Grammar topics that require knowledge of parts of speech....
Submitted by Evonne Bradford on September 10, 2018 - 3:24pm
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Newbie here! I teach a biweekly community-college ESL class. Most of the students speak at an intermediate level, with writing and reading perhaps a bit lower than that.
Here's my problem: I find it difficult to teach certain grammar topics when students don't know the concept of parts-of-speech. For example, one textbooks describes gerunds as "verbs that are used as nouns." That's correct, BUT the students aren't familiar with the concepts of "noun" and "verb" (had never learned this in their native language and may not have had much formal education, although all are literate.) In addition to gerunds, other concepts that seem (to me) to require some knowledge of parts-of-speech include pluralization, past tense, and subject/verb agreement.
My solution has been to back up a little...and start teaching parts of speech. We are working on reading stories and identifying nouns and verbs. We'll move on to pronouns next. It's slow going but really fun -- and the students are very interested. And yet, I don't know if this is the right approach to eventually learning gerunds etc. I'm NOT an experienced ESL instructor.
And so, I've chosen this topic for a project that I'm working on as part of my Instructional Design coursework. I would love to tap into the LINCS community of instructors for needs assessment. If you are willing and able, please answer any or all of the below three questions
1.) Do you use the parts-of-speech words ("verb" "adjective" etc) when you teach certain grammar rules? And if so, do you sometimes need to teach the concept of parts-of-speech first?
2.) Do you feel that your students are hindered by not knowing these part-of-speech terms and concepts, or do you find that they really don't need to know?
3.) If your students don't know parts-of-speech and have nonetheless learned more advanced grammar concepts (e.g. gerunds), how did they do this?
If it's worthwhile, I'd like to create a learning object to help with parts-of-speech...but don't want to do so if it's not a good strategy to learn them in the first place.
Thanks so much in advance. Evonne