- Education and Science
ESL Teachers - Using Images To Help With English Grammar Tenses
You can start your lesson with an icebreaker or two. This will help relax your class and get them ready for learning.
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.
This is my new friend Present.
I couldn't get on with Past.
I will try not to be so tense in Future.
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.
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.
I drink water every day
I drank water every day
an action happening now or often
an action happening in the past
I'm drinking water right now
I was drinking water yesterday at home
something is happening now or in the future
something happened in the past or during another action
Present 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
Video - English Grammar Tenses Overview
© 2013 Andrew Spacey