Session 3D

Greg Byrne, Kaplan Perth

Session Title:
Grammar=POWERFUL TOOLS. Let the students take control

EAL Students bring with them into the classroom a wealth of exciting, relevant stories. Most are keen to learn English, but not as book examples or lists of grammatical fine print in the backs of books. Instead, they want to see the productive tools that will allow them to transform their mother tongue stories into English, learn how the tools work, practise with the tools, and then learn how to choose the appropriate tool for the appropriate real world situation. They want to know the answers to three questions: what does the tool look like, how does it work and when do I use it?

Strong teaching, therefore, is where skilled teachers deliver these tools carefully, logically, and accurately, and then step back, deliberately relinquishing control and allowing students to use these tools to transform their mother tongue stories into English. After all, it is these stories that they will remember most, and it is this control and internalisation of English that will help them to reach new levels of student engagement and motivation.

At this moment, the teacher indeed relinquishes control. However, this is precisely what students need, the opportunity to experience and use these tools in authentic, relevant daily English, and how to use these forms in their writing and speaking, and recognise them in their listening and reading.

My session will show participants how to teach some of these tools, relinquish classrom control and allow students to take the control they need to effectively learn English.

Greg Byrne is a TESOL teacher at Kaplan Perth, a university B.Ed lecturer and the principal of The Shoebox Group, a grammar consultancy for TESOL and primary teachers. As well as his numerous presentations at primary school Professional Development workshops around WA, he has presented workshops for TESOL teachers and schools, and has also presented at the 2014 WATESOL PD Fest, the 2015 Brisbane UECA PD Fest and the 2015 Southeast TESOL Regional Conference in New Orleans. He specialises in teaching students how to use Bloom’s higher-order thinking and simple, visual tools to convert their own mother tongue stories into English.