Session 4D
Title: Sentence Syntax Grids: Structured Group Writing Exercise for Single & Mixed Ability Classes

Lessons on writing can be difficult to orchestrate for teachers. Essays are marked and returned to students, who may be indifferent to or not understand the corrections made. Grammar point lessons usually produce isolated sentences and don’t allow students to practise English paragraph syntax. Correcting individuals’ paragraphs in class is often time consuming and a teacher is stretched to give every student adequate feedback. Furthermore, analysing the writing needs of a class can be overwhelming, especially in higher level, test preparation, and English for Academic Purposes (EAP) classes, where students have a generally similar level of English, but under-or-over developed knowledge of grammar rules and how to wield written L2. Identifying this need to re-establish a class ‘norm’ for writing skills was the genesis for the Sentence Syntax Grid exercise.

The exercises were formulated during an EAP course by Sam Rodgers, and refined with use in these classes. It combines a grammar point, paragraph structure, linking words, voice, and tense lesson and needs analysis into one. Students report it helps them “see” the structure of an English sentence/paragraph and that the exercise helps build confidence with writing.

Attendees will learn how to implement the exercise into their own classrooms.

Sam Rodgers has taught General and Academic ESL for seven years, with experience at the University of Adelaide English Language Centre and Kaplan International, as well as teaching and developing the EAP syllabus and teaching IELTS preparation classes at Strathfield College, Sydney.