Do you know your auxiliary verbs from modal verbs, or your past perfect simple from past perfect continuous? Unless you’re a non-native speaker of English or have learnt another language yourself, chances are you’ve never really studied English grammar beyond the basics. You know what sounds right and wrong but you probably don’t have the terminology to explain why that is.
“Turns out there’s a lot about my own language I don’t know,” said a student on one of our classroom courses. It’s a comment we hear all the time from our students. Especially if you’re a native speaker, it might just surprise you how much you don’t know about the English language.
As an EFL teacher it’s essential that you have a good understanding of how the language you’re teaching works. It’s not enough to just say to a student that something is wrong, you need to be able to explain why that’s the case – and in order to do that you need to to first understand it yourself.
This is why a grammar module is a core component of any TEFL course worth its salt. Unless you have a degree in linguistics or have extensively studied grammar already we wouldn’t recommend taking a TEFL course that doesn’t cover grammar!
Studying English Grammar
Our 30-hour grammar course, included in all of our 120+ hour courses, is designed to equip TEFL students with a solid grounding in grammar rules and terminology. The course covers everything you can expect to come across as a first-time EFL teacher and you can work through it at your own pace. Help is always at hand from our team and there’s a forum and an active Facebook group where you can discuss ideas with other students!
Learning about grammar can be tough at times and there are some areas you might struggle with more than others. While everything you need to complete one of our courses is included in the course fee, we do recommend a couple of grammar books that will serve you well throughout your teaching career. These are Practical English Usage, which is what most teachers use and, for those new to grammar, English Grammar in Use by Raymond Murphy.
One of the benefits of having a grammar book while you study is that you’ll learn how to consult it just as you would in the classroom when a student asks a tricky grammar question.
5 websites to help improve your English grammar
Below are five great grammar websites for when you’re struggling to get your head around certain aspects of the course and would benefit from some extra study. These are also incredibly useful sites to share with your students, so make sure you bookmark them!
Grammar Monster is a comprehensive and easy-to-navigate site. You’ll find a glossary of grammar terms, quizzes, and a list of commonly confused words (‘affect’ vs ‘effect’, for example). The look of the site might be a bit dated but its simple approach to grammar and clear explanations might just help something you’ve been struggling with click at last.
Grammarly is a fantastic writing tool – and one of the most popular with 30 million users. Not only will Grammarly flag up when something’s wrong, it will also explain why it’s wrong, which means you’ll be learning as you use it. You can copy and paste text into its grammar checker or download it so that whether you’re writing an email, creating a word document, or sending a message on social media, it’s always checking your grammar.
Mignon Fogarty, otherwise known as Grammar Girl, has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show as a grammar expert and her book “Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing” was a New York Times bestseller. Her blog has been about for over a decade, so you’ll find a trove of useful tips to help you master English grammar here.
These lessons are tailored towards English learners but their clear and simple approach is great for TEFL teachers in training. Make sure to check out Teaching English from the British Council as well, where you can find lesson plans and lots of helpful tools for professional development.
This site is full of great exercises and quizzes. You can browse everything by topic, so if you’re needing to brush up on prepositions, for example, you can easily find all the site’s content related to the topic in the one place.
It also has a great collection of downloadable grammar lessons, which you can print off and use with your students!
Looking for more grammar help? Check out our top 5 tips for improving English grammar!