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What Works in Grammar Instruction

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A friendly and practical guide for teaching English grammar in the context of real, lived language.

As most teachers of English now know, research shows that teaching grammar in the traditional way—through worksheets, memorizing definitions, and diagramming sentences—doesn’t work, and that teaching grammar in the context of reading and writing is a better approach.

People who understand language can make things happen. That is the point of grammar/language teaching. Not definitions. Not terminology. Language.

Veteran teacher educator Deborah Dean addresses the realities and challenges of grammar instruction with practical examples and experiences, including:

  • Vignettes of classroom conversations to show what teaching in context can look like in action
  • Classroom practices to help teachers try out the ideas with their own students 
  • Issues such as helping English language learners and native speakers navigate formal, academic English, especially in the context of testing

Dean’s straightforward approach uncomplicates the task of teaching grammar in context, allowing her—and us—to share the excitement and wonder to be found in the study of language.

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