Don’t let grammar be a big problem

Grammar: don’t let it be a big problem
Lower intermediate to advanced level (B1-C1) 

Learning English outside the UK, the US, Australia etc can often be about learning ‘grammar’. This makes people think you need to know ‘rules’ before you can speak or write. However, in my experience, a heavy focus on a grammar problem can stop people learning and communicating.

Rather than expecting a lesson to be all about new grammar, it often helps to concentrate on a grammar problem after a lesson. Sometimes you will say something in English and your teacher will correct you (hopefully). This can be a good time to briefly discuss what was wrong with your English but, for example, talking about tenses in detail is not always very productive and can be pretty boring. However, it can be very useful for you to read about the area of grammar you had problems with after your lesson. This way you can take your time, think carefully and not be under pressure.

The best experiences in a lesson are usually when you are helped to express an important or interesting thought. This allows you to communicate as a person rather than a student who does not have enough English! And this gives you a real sense of progress!

I think it is important that teachers point out significant or repeated common grammar problems a student has so that they know what their problems are, but this can usually be done rather briefly. You can spend more time researching your grammar issues in your own time. After that, you are ready to ask your teaching some really usefully questions in your next lesson. So, in summary, studying grammar is fine but don’t fill a lesson with it. This rarely works.