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Move, act, speak!
by Jerry Thekes
- 3

Grammar McNugget: both…and, neither…nor
Level: intermediate
Material: slips of paper, pictures, duct-tape, chair,

Before the lesson, the teacher sticks the words 'both','and'(later in the lesson 'neither', 'nor'); on two chairs. The teacher has to set up these chairs in front of the class with a minimal gap between them.
During the lesson, pictures illustrating people and objects are handed out to the students, who are supposed to find a logical connection between them. For example: Ferrari and Fiat are Italian; David Beckham and Cheryl Cole are British, etc. Every student has a picture in their hands and they are expected to find their partner. One couple will be one student having the Ferrari logo, the other one having the FIAT logo. Once they have found each other's partner, teacher has them take turn in standing in front of the class. One student stands between the two chairs with the 'both', 'and' cards stuck on them and holds up the Ferrari logo; the other stands next to the 'and' chair and holds up the FIAT logo. Thus, a fragmented visual sentence is presented to the rest of the group. One student is called to read out this sentence: 'Both Ferrari and FIAT are Italian.' All couples perform the same activity as the entire class practices this grammatical structure and the teacher always has one students read out the fragmented visual sentence.

Grammar McNugget: going to
Level: elementary
Material: pictures, duct-tape, realia

The teacher sticks pictures of different types of travelers (lonely tourist, family going on a package tour, beach girls, etc.) on the white board. Sentences are elicited from students with questions with regard to where they think these tourists are travelling. After students are engaged in the activity, they are given realia such as Agatha Christie books, tube of sunscreen, lipstick, map, etc.)
The students are instructed to go to the whiteboard with the objects and symbolically put them into the bags. They are supposed to match the items with one type of tourist. The teacher expects them to say sentences with 'going to' and give a reason for their choice; for example: 'The beach girls are going to take a tube of sunscreen because they are going to spend a lot of time under the sun.'; The business tourist is going to take a car rental brochure because he is going to rent a car.'

In the first section of this paper I have tried to find assertions, views and notions supporting the concept of the importance of teaching grammar through games. I have cited Krashen, who contemns the conscious teaching of grammar rules. I have also used Rinvolucri's view, according to whom grammar is only an umbrella term and every point has to be approached in a different way when teaching them is at issue. I have found Thronbury's notion of grammar inevitable in this article. Through the description of three grammar McNuggets I have intended to prove that teaching grammar with fun and games is crucial in the facilitating process of teaching the TEFL learners. The purpose of the'Battleship' game has been to substantiate that the power of traditional games can be exploited. The'Intercity' game has been targeted at showing that students acquire grammar easier once they are in motion. The 'Luggage' game has been aimed at showing that any type of realia can be used for the sake of transferring a message to make it comprehensible.

Bruton, Anthony 'Grammar is not only a Liberating Force, it is a Communicative Resource.' ELT Journal Volume 63/4 October/ 2009 pp. 383-386 2009
Franciosi, Stephan J. 'Making ESL/TEFL Classroom Activities More Game-Like.' The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. XVI, No. 2, February/2010 pp.1-5 2010
Maffione, Lucia 'Keeping them Interested.' English Teaching Professional Issue 58 Sept 2008 pp. 22-23 2008
Mumford, Simon 'Picture This!' Modern English Teacher Vol 17 No 2 pp. 40-42 2008
Thornbury, Scott 'G is for Grammar MacNugget.' 2010 Cited from
Hadfield, Jill Classroom Dynamics. Oxford University Press 1992
Krashen, Stephen D. Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition. Pergamon, 1982
Prabhu, N.S. Second Language Pedagogy. Oxford University Press 1987
Rinvolucri, Mario Grammar Game. Cambridge University Press 1995
Richards, Jack C. The Context of Language Teaching Camridge University Press 1987
Tarone, Elaine; Yule, George. Focus on the Language Learner Oxford University Press 1996
Ur, Penny Grammar Practice Activities A Practical Guide for Teachers Cambridge University Press 1991
Widdowson, Henry G. ' Grammar, and, nonsense, and learning' in W. Rutheford and M. Sharwood Smith (eds.) Grammar and Second Language Teaching Newbury House 1988
Wright, Andrew; Haleem, Safia. Visuals for the Language Classroom. Longman 1991
Wright, Andrew; Betteridge, David; Buckby, Michael Games for Language Learning. Cambridge University Press 2009


Jerry Istvan Thekes is Director of Studies at IFF Iskola Hungary-Romania (the largest central European private language academy) He holds an MA TESOL and has received his TEFL Certificate in Barcelona. He has been involved with TEFL for 11 years. He has just completed his 6-week teaching project in Saudi Arabia. Jerry has been invited as a presenter to TEFL conferences in Timisoara, Sarajevo, Izmir and Athens this year.

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