The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear “teaching grammar” is “boring”. For some reason, both for teachers and for students at all levels this part of syllabus means never-ending struggling through the thicket of rules and exceptions. The system that is supposed to facilitate communication has quite the contrary effect – it makes students believe that grammar’s role is to suppress free speech. Is it because we, teachers, put too much emphasis on explaining grammatical rules or because, just the opposite, we tend to neglect grammar and thus teach it ineffectively? I believe both. To some extent we can put the blame on the educational system, which means numerous tests, large classes and schools’ evaluation based on exam results but I think it is the teacher who is mainly responsible for the painless introduction of grammar. These days, there are many ways to enrich our grammar classes – there are many extra sources we can use: for instance, Youtube videos of good quality or learning platforms like Kahoot! that make lessons more attractive and really involve students in learning grammar. Students are naturally more willing to watch a short programme rather than listen to teacher’s lecture and, in case of online games, they add the competitive factor and simply excitement to grammar lessons. In order to help students to understand how grammar works we can also take advantage of their peers – students themselves often come up with simple and clear explanations that can accompany our teaching. What’s more, we must remember that teaching grammar makes sense only if students see how it functions in real life situations. That’s why we should include in lessons as many authentic examples as possible and resist the temptation to create artificial sentences that reflect grammatical rules perfectly but have little to do with students’ everyday life and interests. Above all, we should never forget about the golden PPP rule and put our effort not only into the presentation stage but also into introducing proper performance activities because that is how we check whether our teaching is effective.
However, as for me, there’s much more that can be done. I think that in order not to make grammar students’ public enemy number one, we should sometimes forget about it completely. In case of speaking activities, for example, whose aim is to encourage students to communicate, perfect or even correct grammar is not completely necessary. In such cases we should focus on free expression and refrain from correcting students even if it means no grammar at all. During frequent international school meetings and exchanges, I noticed that unlike foreign students, for example Germans, Polish ones have much better command of grammar but lack confidence in speaking English. I believe that the main aim of teaching English is to enable students to communicate and for this reason we should occasionally turn a blind eye to the importance of grammar.