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Hello,

Yesterday i asked my students to make a question from the following sentence.

"The steady stream of fossils discovered during the 60's dazzled the scientific world"

I asked them to make a sentence to which "the steady stream of fossils" would be the answer

And they asked the flollowing questions which are grammatically incorrect

1 - what was dazzled the scientific world?
2 - what made the scientific world to be dazzled?
3 - what did dazzle the scientific world?

I also know why they are wrong. But I don't want to tell them about object, subject, passivisation and and the rest of the frightenning grammatical terms.

is there a way of making them aware of their mistakes in the above questions without having to discuss grammar directly? I mean,may be, with the help of siuations only .....

can anyone plz help?

thanks
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Comments  
Bubu,
Did you ask them why they chose those questions and not others?
This isn't, of course, any wonderful or new technique, but I'm always asking my students "why", to almost everything they say, poor souls!
Amazingly, it does work. I don't ask for grammatival explanations or technical terminology; I simply ask them to tell me the reason for their choices in their own words. Most of the times, a simple "why" will lead to very interesting debates. I'm always trying to make help develop critical thinking, I want them to be sure of what they say and also to know why they say A instead of B or C.
I usually get very interesting answers, and even the wrong answers are interesting. These answers mean the students are actually thinking, and that they are trying to account for their choices. Often, while analysing what they've said, they will spot the mistake themselves, without my help. That's the first step; then, the correction will come either from me or from the students themselves.
Usually, when I ask for examples of something I'm explaining, as soon as I get the first example I'll ask the rest of the class something along the lines of "do you agree?", or "is that a good example?".
Admittedly, it takes time, and surely it would be easier for us teachers to spot the mistakes and provide the correct versions ourselves. But I think this is worth trying; it helps the students develop new learning strategies and it helps them become autonomous learners. In my experience, even the weakest students take part in these debates. I make them appear like 'casual' conversations. There's no grade involved, there's no test or trick. And most students enjoy it.

Just my two cents. Emotion: smile

Miriam
What an excellent approach takes courage. I prided myself in appearing to be totally vulnerable when teaching mathematics so if I unwittingly slipped up the students and i would work out the answer together. Fortunately they realized I knew my subject and were happy to explore possibilities with me. Not the right approach for all subjects. I am a great believer in bringing humour into a classroom and approaching students not as a group but as individuals. Iloved teaching as I think you do.
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Yes Miriam,
I do ask "why" and it helps the answer come on it's own. I have also tried the technique david uses in his class. But you know, these techniques have their limitations.

I need to explain to them why they were wrong.

Can you plz mirium'ise the style of explanation?
Miriamise the explanation? ~chuckles~

Bubu, I'm not sure what to tell you. It's sometimes too easy to give advise when we're not involved in the situation ourselves. I don't know why your students made those mistakes. Did they have enough practice before you gave them that activity? In what way/s do you deal with grammar in your classroom?
To many teachers, and perhaps to even more padagogists, "grammar" sounds like a taboo word. To me, on the other hand, grammar is a great tool. What do you do when the problem is grammar? Explaining grammar doesn't necessarily mean that you have to get too technical.
I agree that it's not necessary to "overuse" grammar explanations, but then the grammar of a language is as important as any other aspect of it. Teachers have been, for many years, claiming that communication is the goal, the beginning and the end. Well, in my opinion, in order for a person to communicate effectively in any language, grammar is important.
Many students are taught "fixed" constructions according to their function so they will be able to ask "How old are you?" or "Can you tell me if there's a post office near here?", but they will have problems when they have to build their own sentences.
Teachers' taboos only hinder learning. I'm not saying that every single lesson should be based on grammar, but the other extreme isn't "healthy" either.
Sometimes a grammar explanation is the only thing that will work. Sometimes translation will work; sometimes things not favoured by the communicative approach to teaching will work wonderfully. I think we have to use anything that will help our students. It doesn't matter if it goes against this or that approach. The question is "Does it work?". If it does, then it can't be that bad.
Have you tried giving your students the right question to ask, perhaps together with a question along the lines of "Who did the steady stream of fossils discovered... dazzle?". You can make them compare both questions and call their attention to the difference in the form of the verb in each question. That will be working with grammar and still not using specific or complicated terminology.
"What dazzled someone?" contrasted to "Who did something dazzle?" will surely bring up interesting responses from your students.
But, if that doesn't work either, then why not give them a grammar explanation? A simple one if you wish. I can't tell if that's the best thing to do with your group of students, but I think that exposing learners to grammar rules and to grammar terminology can be a plus.

I hope someone with a different view will post a response here, and I'm sorry I can't be of help. Emotion: smile

Miriam
do you mind if i continue disscussing on the subject?
Now after reading your writing I decided to write to you about the way I explain grammar to students. and I would like to know what you think of it.

Is that ok with you?
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Of course I don't mind! Actually, I'd love to hear how you explain grammar to your students.
I'll surely learn something from you. Emotion: smile

Miriam
Thanks Mirium,

You r an extremely nice person. But you r trying with all your might not to show it. Humble. you will learn from me??? Do you belive in miracles? Not even in my dreams can i imagine to be able to write english the way you do.

By the way let me tell you how i would tell the students the difference between the followings:

1. Who helped you?
2. who did you help?

First of all i will write both the sentence on the black board and read them aloud a couple of times with proper intonation and mood.Then i will say to my students:

"Let's forget both the "WHO"s
and saying this I will erase the 'WHO's.
So now we have got these two.

1 ..Helped you?
2 ..did you help?

and then repeating the phrase several times and showing relevant body language [1] i will ask them

"Tell me what does the first sentence mean? are you receiving or giving help?"and wait for their answers. i will continue to ask questions until i get an answer which will serve my purpose. And then i will ask them to put the word "who" before it. And the rest..Mirium you can understand.

I will do the same with the second sentence and get them to answer whether they are "receiving" or "giving" help.

And finally, in the course of all these discussions i think they will have understood the diference.

well that's how I teach. I always try not to use grammartical terms because they are so frightenning. It becomes a challenge then to teach grammar.

I have given you an example which have thought of right now. As i write, more ideas are coming up.

Could you please show me a similar way or a better way to solve "MY PROBLEM"

THANKS
BUBU
Bubu,
that wasn't a very happy choice for an opening paragraph. I don't need humbling, I meant exactly what I typed. I've learned great teaching techiques even from people who are not teachers! Please relax, and accept compliments for what they are.

What you've described is interesting, and I think it should work. Have you actually put it into practice? If so, I'd like to know if you got good results.
I do things a bit differently, though. I don't teach everything through grammar but, at the same time, I try to show my students (and I mean students of any level of English as long as they are no younger than pre-adolescents) that grammar is not a huge ogre that will eat them raw. Rather, I try to introduce it as a tool they can profit from.

I'm afraid and I'm sorry I can't show you a similar way to solve your problem, Bubu. My teaching is different in several aspects. Again, though, I think the technique you've described here should bring good results.

I have a question: what level of English are you teaching? The sentence you posted in your first post doesn't have the type of vocabulary I would use with beginners. On the other hand, the two structures you've posted now are fairly simple, and in my country they are taught at a beginner level (I'm still talking about pre-adolescents or older).

Thank you.

Miriam
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