Managing the Grammar Classroom

Direct grammar instruction is vital to helping students become effective communicators. The volume of skills and concepts that need to be presented, practiced, and applied, however, can be overwhelming. Good planning and classroom management are important. Voyages in English, a comprehensive writing and grammar program published by Loyola Press, provides an easy-to-use four-step teaching model—teach, practice, apply, and assess—that educators can use to plan and manage grammar lessons.

Before beginning instruction, educators choose an approach to teaching grammar. Possible approaches include direct grammar instruction, integrating grammar instruction with reading and writing, or taking a broader approach and teaching grammar within the context of other core content areas.

The first step in presenting a grammar concept is to teach it in a way that is clear and easily understood by students. As they educate, teachers may wish to incorporate technology or other audiovisuals, such as flash cards or sentence diagrams. The Voyages in English Teacher’s Edition provides ideas for systematic instruction, suggestions for engaging students in interactive learning, and resources for tailoring instruction to teach to multiple intelligences and to English-language learners.

After students have been taught a concept, they should be given an opportunity to practice the new skill. Voyages in English includes ample, rigorous practice exercises in the Student Edition and Practice Book.

After learning and practicing a new concept, it is helpful for students to reinforce learning through practical application. This helps students see how a strong understanding of grammar can increase their ability to communicate effectively. The Apply It Now feature in every Voyages in English grammar lesson helps students make connections between the grammar concept being taught and its real-world application. In addition, the series encourages teachers to point out the grammar concept in other kinds of classroom literature.

Finally, to determine the need for any additional review and reinforcement, it is important for teachers to assess student learning through informal and formal assessment. Methods for informal assessment, which is a quick and casual way to check student comprehension, include observation, student participation in class, and discussion. Formal assessments, which are used to provide official grades, most often include tests and quizzes. Voyages in English provides opportunities for both informal and formal assessment. Teachers can use students’ responses to the practice exercises, Daily Maintenance activities, and the Apply It Now features for informal assessment. Students can be formally assessed through the review and challenge pages of each grammar section, and by using the Assessment Book or EXAMVIEW® Test Generator.

A clear teaching model, such as the four-step model used in Voyages in English, can be used to plan and manage effective grammar lessons in a way that will prevent classroom management issues. More importantly, the model can be used to help students become effective thinkers, writers, and speakers.