Alternate Methods for Teaching English

To learn good grammar, you have to read and hear good grammar. Find old books with eloquent language, read them aloud, and discuss how language patterns have changed and individual words have changed meanings.
For the Auditory Learner
Listen to audio books, but start with interesting books and save the boring classics for high school and college literature classes.

Shortcut for high school literature: Sometimes we did use videos to get through a classic quickly, so that the story-line could be absorbed without losing precious hours getting bogged down in a not-so-interesting book. The student was then required to read a portion of the book to get a feel for the author’s writing style. The portion could be a page, chapter, or even the entire book, depending on the student’s interest. A supplemental discussion topic from this approach was “the variations from book to movie” and how/why those variations took place. This technique helped a disinterested student explore many types of literature that would not have been read voluntarily.

For the Visual Learner
Correspond grammar rules to numbers, shapes, and colors.
Examples:
— Highlight nouns in blue, verbs in pink, etc.
— When writing a compound sentence, mark the comma with a tiny, subscript “1”; for listing things in a series, mark the comma with a small “2”, etc.
— Draw three lines beneath every letter that should be capitalized
— Mark parts of speech with stars or circles
— Use colored pencils or highlighters
Be creative. It is your school: you get to invent a system! Just remember your system for consistency — perhaps make a chart and add to it each time you expand the scope.

NOTE: Some students respond especially well to colors, so instead of underlining nouns and circling verbs, allow those students to write or highlight the verbs in orange, etc. Allow the student to choose what colors to use — occasionally, some people are extremely sensitive to colors and can see them as representing only certain things. My own daughter does not do well at a number game she owns because she is a color-conscious person who perceives “the numbers are printed in the wrong colors.”

 

Many more suggestions are available in our book Taking the Mystery Out of Learning Styles.

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