ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

ESL Teachers - Using Images To Help With English Grammar Tenses

Updated on February 23, 2015

Remember!!

You can start your lesson with an icebreaker or two. This will help relax your class and get them ready for learning.

Introduction

Using visual images can help your students learn about tenses in English grammar. At some stage in your teaching you'll have to introduce this topic to your class. Oh no! Not grammar. How horrible. How boring. How difficult.

Not so. In this hub I've laid everything out in a clear, simple fashion to help you deliver an interesting lesson on this most sticky of subjects.

Photographs are in my experience one of the best tools for helping students learn the basics. Having an image in front of you seems to help get rid of nerves and make learning a more friendly experience.

You can use these as examples or choose and use your own.

Whilst grammar can be tricky there's no disputing it's importance. If your class can pick up some essentials of grammar it'll enable them to understand just what they're reading,speaking and writing.

_____________________________________________________


Hi.

This is my new friend Present.

I couldn't get on with Past.

I will try not to be so tense in Future.

Lead In

Native English speakers often don't know much about grammar because they're brought up with the language. They pick English up from a very early age and there's no need for them to study the grammar. They use it instinctively. Lucky for them!!

But for your students things are much different. Learning the structure of English, where verbs are placed, how they're used and so on can be a great help. It need not be scary!

For example, if I say to you, I see the cat, this is happening now, in the present. Therefore I see the cat is present tense in grammar-speak.

What about I saw the cat? Yes that's right. This is past tense because I'm not seeing the cat now! I saw it some time ago.

Present. Past. That's two tenses tackled already!

You'll find more useful tips and advice in this hub. Don't forget, grammar is not that scary! If you enjoy it, so will your students.

________________________________________________________

Teaching Grammar

With grammar it's best to have a flexible approach. Don't try to teach too much at one go. You may leave too many students behind and have to do catch up later on.

Some teachers prefer to concentrate on one tense for one lesson and build up class confidence slowly but surely.

If your students already know the basics you could attempt two tenses in one lesson. It all depends on your learners and how far you can realistically take them up the grammar ladder without them falling off!!

Many teachers are not that keen on grammar themselves! If this is the case I suggest you proceed very carefully, learn as the class moves along and be honest with your students if you make mistakes or don't know answers to questions.

Have a grammar guide beside you for reference.

________________________________________________________


Progressive = Continuous

In grammar you will see the words progressive and continuous used. Don't worry too much, they mean the same thing!

You'll find :

  • Past Progressive or Past Continuous
  • Past Progressive/Continuous
  • Past Progressive (Continuous)

6 English Grammar Guidelines


1. The Present Tense - uses one main verb e.g. I drink water.

2. The Past Tense - uses one main verb e.g. I drank water.

3. The Future Tense - uses will and shall followed by a verb e.g. I will drink water.

4. The Future Tense - uses going to followed by verb e.g. I'm going to drink water.

5. The Perfect Tense - uses have followed by past participle e.g. I have been drinking water.

6. The Continuous Tense - uses to be followed by infinitive e.g. I am drinking water.

_________________________________________________________

Using The Photographs

After your introduction and lead in you can start to use the photographs. Show the first one as an example to your class and ask -

What is happening in this photograph?

What are the people doing?

Can you tell me what is going on here?


When your students respond, write down their answers on a white board, or better still, invite each student to write their answers down for everyone to see. Get your class involved with the initial response then hand out individual photographs to each student and get them to quietly write down or explain what they see in the photograph.

You can also encourage small group work by giving 2 or 3 photographs to each group and asking them to use the different tenses to describe the actions in the photographs.

_____________________________________________________________

Tense
Present Simple
Past Simple
Example
I drink water every day
I drank water every day
Use
an action happening now or often
an action happening in the past
We rehearse the play every Thursday.  Present simple
We rehearse the play every Thursday. Present simple | Source
I went to the Pyrenees in Spain last year. Past simple.
I went to the Pyrenees in Spain last year. Past simple. | Source
 
Present Progressive
Past Progressive
Example
I'm drinking water right now
I was drinking water yesterday at home
Use
something is happening now or in the future
something happened in the past or during another action
I'm relaxing with a coffee now. Present progressive/Continuous
I'm relaxing with a coffee now. Present progressive/Continuous | Source
They were leaving the stadium at 5pm yesterday. Past Progressive or Continuous.
They were leaving the stadium at 5pm yesterday. Past Progressive or Continuous.
Present Perfect
Present Perfect Progressive/Continuous
Past Perfect
Perfect Progressive/Continuous
I have lived in this house for many years
I have been living in this house all my life
I had lived in 3 houses before I reached 50
I had been living alone for twenty years before they turned up
It has been a hard night and I am tired now. Present Perfect.
It has been a hard night and I am tired now. Present Perfect. | Source
She has been working all afternoon.Present Perfect Progressive/Continuous
She has been working all afternoon.Present Perfect Progressive/Continuous | Source
I had performed as the Mad March Hare 3 times that day. Past perfect.
I had performed as the Mad March Hare 3 times that day. Past perfect. | Source
He had been sitting for hours when, all of a sudden, his friend turned up. Past perfect progressive/Continuous
He had been sitting for hours when, all of a sudden, his friend turned up. Past perfect progressive/Continuous | Source
I think I'll make potatoe and carrot soup. Will plus infinitive.
I think I'll make potatoe and carrot soup. Will plus infinitive. | Source
I think it's going to rain. Going to plus infinitive.
I think it's going to rain. Going to plus infinitive.
The sun was shining and the birds were singing. Future progressive/continuous.
The sun was shining and the birds were singing. Future progressive/continuous. | Source
I'll have visited five countries by this time next year. Future perfect.
I'll have visited five countries by this time next year. Future perfect. | Source
I'll have been sitting on this bucket for three hours by lunchtime. Future Perfect Progressive/ Continuous.
I'll have been sitting on this bucket for three hours by lunchtime. Future Perfect Progressive/ Continuous. | Source

Video - English Grammar Tenses Overview

© 2013 Andrew Spacey

Comments

Submit a Comment
New comments are not being accepted on this article at this time.

  • chef-de-jour profile image
    Author

    Andrew Spacey 3 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Thank you for the visit and comment. I wish you well with the class. keep the good hubs coming!

  • Muttface profile image

    Muttface 3 years ago from Portugal

    Great hub! I actually like grammar myself, it's just finding a suitable fun activity or game to go with the level takes a lot of time. I'm off now to look for something fun, but not too childish for some medical students.

  • searchinsany profile image

    Alexander Gibb 3 years ago from UK

    This is an excellent Hub, it is both interesting and helpful. I will continue to refer to it because I have wrestled with this subject while writing my Hubs . Thank you for sharing.

Click to Rate This Article