I received a review copy of “How To Write Grammar Presentations and Practice” by Diane Hall and Graham Burton from ELT Teacher 2 Writer. This has been the first time that I have reviewed a book published by ELT Teacher 2 Writer and was very keen to share my thoughts and opinions. Looking at the blurb at the back of the book, it is aimed for teachers who wish to receive a theoretical overview of grammar, considerations towards good grammar presentations and practice, as well as practical tips for writing rules, explanations, and rubrics.
Opening up the book, I notice that there are four key chapters provided within the contents page: 1. Introduction, 2. Which Grammar?, 3. Writing Grammar Presentation Materials, and 4. Writing Grammar Practice Materials. Prior to the Introduction, there is section about both authors, as well as what the book attempts to achieve. Towards the end of the book, there is a Conclusion, followed by References, Commentaries On Tasks is also included (as you start to read the book, there are a total of 16 tasks), this is then followed by a Glossary, with two final Appendixes (Appendix 1: Types of Presentation Exercises and Appendix 2: Types of Practice Exercises).
About The Authors
The book introduces both authors (Diane Hall and Graham Burton): how they were introduced to the English language teaching profession, their experiences within the publishing industry, as well as reference to what they have each contributed towards in terms of publications. Both authors have a wealth of experience to draw upon and are both best placed to publish this book.
The next part of the book looks at what the publication sets out to achieve, on page nine:
- To provide a theoretical overview of grammar and types of grammar presentation and practice material;
- To discuss the considerations one needs to undertake when authoring grammar materials; and
- To examine the various different grammar presentation and practice materials.
Included at the bottom of each page is a footer which offers the reader definitions of particular terms used. This supports those readers that are new to these types of phrases.
The first chapter within the book, provides a overview towards the theory of grammar, with reference to Chomsky’s ‘Generative Grammar’ as well as Halliday’s ‘Functional Grammar’. There are 3 tasks included within the introduction which offers the reader to contemplate their thoughts and reflections about the teaching and acquisition of grammar and language learning. With nine pages dedicated to the theory of grammar and language education, it is brief but a necessary chapter for readers.
2. Which Grammar?
The following chapter progresses naturally from the previous one, with considerations of varying factors when producing grammar materials. There are 2 tasks included within this chapter, with the first task enabling the reader to consider different situations that one may encounter, while the following task provides a variety of grammar exercises with thoughts about aims and particular situations.
Also within this chapter, aspects of grammar that should be followed or incorporated within materials are recommended, such as with the use of third party websites to access grammar for particular levels and contexts. For example, the Common European Reference of Languages as well as English Language Profile website is recommended to readers to better understand grammatical inclusion for particular levels. These sources are recommended for the reader to access grammar which can be incorporated within material and exercises. There are additional sources included within the chapter.
3. Writing Grammar Presentation Materials
The third chapter within focuses initially on the different types of input of grammar (audio, text, etc.) to potentially present and explore grammar through a variety of tasks: option tasks, gapped sentences, or tables (see an example below) to name just a few.
This chapter also includes tips for the reader to consider when writing rules and explanations in relation to grammar. This part of the book is invaluable for those potential material writers that are new to explaining the relevant rules for grammar to students or those teachers that are going to be using the proposed rules. Further within this chapter, there is a consideration towards copyright – a vital area regarding authoring material. There is also a final section towards integrating pronunciation within grammar presentation material, which is usually undervalued to some extent particularly when explaining grammar. The final part of this chapter includes a valuable checklist for presenting grammar which includes presenting within a natural context, presentations do not include the target grammar, or rules are clear and simple.
4. Writing Grammar Practice Materials
The fourth chapter is probably the most interesting for teachers as it covers creating grammar practice activities. Before diving into this area of materials writing, there is some consideration given for the reader towards authoring such practice tasks. Such considerations covered within this chapter include whether practice is controlled or free, an emphasis of form or meaning, or for classroom or self-study. Also included in this chapter are some additional tasks for the reader to complete.
The next part of chapter four includes tips for writing practice material rubrics and includes advice such as keeping introductions short and simple for students, or continuity for rubrics throughout your exercises in case you are writing for different activities for a course book. As with the previous chapter, it includes a checklist for consideration and is a valuable addition for the book.
Conclusion, References & Commentaries On Tasks
After the four main chapters, there is a brief conclusion on grammar and its importance within language acquisition and materials writing. It is a fitting end for readers before commencing the authoring of their presentation and practice materials. The next part of the book, references, includes other six books that readers could consider purchasing to better understand the subject of grammar, language teaching and second language acquisition.
As there are seventeen tasks incorporated within this book, each is accompanied with a commentary at the end of the book which proceeds after the references. It is an important part of the book to allow the reader to compare their thoughts with suggestions or recommendations within the book and provides some opportunity for reflection. Each commentary is numbers as with the tasks within each chapter and easily found within the end of the book.
The final part of the book ends with a glossary. Within the chapters throughout the book, there are a number of footers included which explain particular terms which readers may find unfamiliar. Each footer corresponds to each word within the glossary. All terms within the glossary are in alphabetical order which makes finding particular words a breeze as well as their relevant explanation.
This marks the end of the book review and it was the first time that I have read a “How To …” book published by ELT Teacher 2 Writer, and it would be advantageous for those considering authoring grammar related material to purchase “How To Write Grammar Presentations and Practice”. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the publishers for sending me a review company, it is greatly appreciated.