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Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by cacienbogui1, Jul 29, 2011.
HOW TO TEACH THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE TENSES
And which language are we talking about..........?
Yeah, I sometimes wonder this too. I know that this is going to open the floodgates to 'heated discussion', but I sometimes despair on 'new' or effective ways to teach tenses..... I know that some people will say, 'let's teach tenses in the traditional way, 'chalk and talk' it, but with MFL still optional at my school (yeap, despite the Ebac and all that!), I don't want to put kids off doing my subject.
I find this really interesting. How do you teach them now?
Each half term, we have a new 'project', which was initiated by the 'new' levels and curriculum launch a few years ago. Tenses tend to be introduced from the last half term of the first year of language learning, which is when the project is to create a children's storybook, which brings together all of the things covered during the year.
Various projects that we do; Produce a travel itinerary (using the future tense) for a visit to the Olympic games. Describe a past holiday. (that one's a bit predictable admittedly.)
The actual teaching of tenses is done through an introductory lesson. This will quite often be a lesson which will encourage the pupils to work out the rules themselves. It might involve puzzles, match-up exercises, lots of mini-whiteboard work. Over the course of several lessons, various elements of vocabulary will then be introduced, but still re-iterating the rules of the tense being learnt. The sequence of lessons will then finish in a project, which will quite often be a creative one such as; produce a weather forecast to be performed in front of the class (including a newspaper article), or 'interview a sportsperson about their lifestyle'
At times I also use the old tried and tested pedagogy to introduce a new tense such as flashcards, using the 'I' form of verbs; so that by the time we look at the theory of the tense formation, the pupils are feeling quite confident to form the tenses themselves.
I hope this helps Otter.
Is this effective?
That's not the tried and tested old style of language learning that I underwent in the 1960s and early 70s!
We were always given all singular and plural parts of a verb tense in one go. We did regular verbs first and then irregular ones.
Sorry I feel mean even writing this but surely you introduce verbs during the first two terms. The present tense ( in the languages I know) is both the most difficult to master and most important. So surely you are teaching a tense from day one.
I agree that the oldfashioned pedagogy entailed teaching all the persons at once. Over time it buils up a pattern of what is regular or not and has the beauty of being a shortcut to accessing many more verbs/tenses quickly.
...and instead of all the faffing about with flashcards etc, where you hope that the pupils all <strike>understand</strike> guess the exact meaning you are trying to convey, the old method of listing the verb and saying/writing 'I will eat/you will eat/he/she will eat/we will eat/your will eat/they will eat'ensures that they see the pattern in their own language too.
We seem to use writing frames so much where the teacher/textbook offers a variety of combinations to make sentences but it is frowned on to use the verb writing frames, a.k.a verb tables, that are associated with formal grammar.
Give the pupils verb tables and watch as they start creating their own sentences instead of the identikit offerings that they (?) come up with currently.
The most dispiriting thing from my time teaching MFL was being made to follow the Communicative method and pupils being encouraged to only use the words and phrases that were drip-fed to them. I wanted pupils to be able to use dictionaries to find a verb that they hadn't come across in class and be able to work out how to adapt it to make it fit their sentence.
Actually, I wouldn't be so surprised to hear that in many places they don't teach tenses till late. In a local college I used to work for their scheme of work for adult evening language courses didn't introduce present tense until level 2. Level 1 was a 20 hour introductory course over 10 weeks. Unsurprisingly enough they are struggling to keep the language courses open due to numbers, when all around the city there are private language schools thriving, who do use grammar and tenses openly as part of their levels and schemes of work.
There must be a wide misunderstanding about what a tense is. From the moment you start teaching Je m'appelle/ me llamo etc etc you are teaching a tense. The present tense, the most important tense there is. Tenses don't just occur when you move on to a past tense or the future. Whatever teaching method you adopt, you can't avoid teaching at least one tense however hard you try.
You're absolutely right - it goes without saying that tense teaching is being introduced from the beginning. I meant that additional tenses are introduced later.
Interesting, I accidentally found myself in this forum and as a TEFL teacher found this interesting. In TEFL Tenses are taught right from the start, starting with the simple present, present continuous, simple past, present perfect, past continous, we also teach modals and conditionals.
I'm teaching teenagers from all round the world at pre-intermediate level, however the tenses are introduced with examples of each, then the grammar is explained.
But using the communicative method does not necessarily mean that you don't teach your pupils how to use a dictionary, or that you can't give them verb tables. The good thing about the communicative method, in my opinion, is that pupils aren't that scared of talking in the TL because there isn't that much emphasis on mistakes.