Practical Grammar Activities

Here are the abstract, bio data and handout for this presentation given at APAC 2010,  TESOL Spain 2010, IATEFL Harrogate 2010 and ACEIA. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page you’ll find a link to the powerpoint presentation.

Abstract This workshop will focus on the exploitation of mini “grammar” texts in the classroom. We will first discuss the advantages of short texts and the role they can play in training students to notice linguistic patterns and their uses.  We will then look in-depth at how a short text can be used as a springboard for an hour or more of focused, engaging language study and practice.  We will explore a range of strategies and activities for bringing the texts to life and for practising the grammar they present, making it personally relevant, memorable and fun.

Texts and activities from the new grammar practice series from Heinle, Practical Grammar, will be used to illustrate the activities. For more information about the series visit



Texts, whether they be spoken or written, are at the heart of communicative language teaching.  And the exploration, examination and manipulation of these texts is central in the teaching and learning of language systems.

But what texts?  It doesn’t really matter.  In the post method era there is no right or wrong answer to this question.  The answer depends on you, your students, your teaching context, the language area you are focusing on, the need for variety, stimulation and motivation, to name but a few factors in a long list.

In this workshop we will look at the role of short “grammar” texts (texts written or chosen to illustrate a particular language area) and some possible ways of exploiting them.

We will also be considering the importance of the following language learning “pillars” :

  • ownership
  • personalisation
  • visualisation
  • repetition
  • manipulation
  • focus on meaning

And exploring the use of :

  • images
  • student created texts
  • recasting, revisiting and consolidation

The pages which follow show exercises from the first two levels of the new Heinle grammar series, Practical Grammar (series creator, David Riley).

Here’s a link to the powerpoint presentation I used during the workshops. All the images and texts come from Practical Grammar 1 and 2.  The short story, “A Spot of Gothic”, was written by Jane Gardam.

Practical Grammar Activities ACEIA 2010


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