Spoken Grammar: a Guide for English Language Teachers
What you'll learn
- At the end of the course, you will be able to teach 15 key items of spoken grammar that learners can use in natural spoken English and online interaction.
- You will also be able to design your own custom-made/localized course in spoken English grammar, using the materials and advice provided.
- You will be able to describe spoken grammar in coursework for TEFL or TESOL qualifications, or show your colleagues (in talks or presentations) how to teach it.
- You will be ready to use 15 lesson plans on spoken English (with materials) in the classroom or online.
- You will be able to extend your students' range in spoken English.
- You should be a teacher of English as a Foreign or Second Language to students anywhere in the world at intermediate level or above.
Modern English Teacher, May/June 2022: "It will help teachers develop the skills needed to understand and teach an evolving language field. Most importantly, it should go some way to helping language learners have a more realistic understanding of how authentic conversations take place and how they can have a place in them." (Mark Rooney, Monash University)
TESOLANZ Newsletter, July 2020: "Overall I found this a highly interesting course which opened my eyes to many lexico-grammatical points I hadn’t thought about before. In my opinion, taking this course would benefit all teachers of ESOL at Intermediate level and above, enriching their teaching of both grammar and speaking." (Dr Katherine Quigley, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, Victoria University of Wellington)
IATEFL Voices, July/August 2019: "I was truly impressed by the author's knowledge of the subject matter and his clear explanations in the videos. ... I think the information in this course would be great for providing teachers with the 'meat' to design a conversational speaking course that would be both practical and engaging for higher-level students." (Hilary Livingston)
ELT Planning blog, July 2019: "Other things I like about the course: Everything! I think this course is essential for anyone taking, or thinking of taking, a Dip TESOL. It is a great way to enhance your subject knowledge and offers some nice practical ideas to integrate the teaching of spoken grammar into your lessons." Rating: 5/5
EL Gazette, January/February 2019: "This guide would be useful on the electronic devices of all language teachers I know, and at any stage of their career, who have a distinct interest in teaching English as it is really spoken." (Wayne Trotman)
‘Spoken grammar’ is the term for new items of conversational English recently described for the first time by grammarians processing vast amounts of spoken English by computer. It includes features such as ‘tails’:
It’s a great place to visit, Barcelona.
‘vague category phrases’:
Shall we go for a walk or something?
and ‘spoken discourse markers’:
Listen, can I call you back? We’re about to have dinner.
If you want to learn more about ‘spoken grammar’ (as an aspect of spoken English) and teach your students a range of useful items in this recently-researched area, where few materials are currently available, then this is the course for you.
By the end of the course, you’ll have the classroom techniques and all the materials you need to teach the following fifteen items of spoken grammar: heads and tails; declarative questions; ellipsis; hyperbole; interjections; cleft structures and binomial phrases; vague categories; vague placeholders and quantities; vague lexical bundles; spoken discourse markers; response tokens and questions; special uses of ‘so’ and ‘do’; synonymous language and dependent clauses.
After a brief introduction, describing the rationale for the course and how it works in detail, three of the fifteen items above are covered in each of the next five sections of the course under these headings:
Word order and ellipsis
Marking spoken discourse
The fifteen lectures that focus on these items act as lesson plans for teaching spoken English grammar. What I do is to take you through each stage of the lesson, showing you the material you can use with your students on the accompanying slides (or ‘pages’ ), including dialogues, exercises with answers, explanations of key language, and activities such as role plays and simulations. With longer dialogues and exercises, I show you the beginning and you can download the rest in the ‘lesson planning resources’ at the end of each lecture.
You don’t need to copy anything down as you watch, in fact, because all of the material you see on the pages (as well as the endings to longer dialogues etc.) is available in the downloadable, adaptable ‘lesson planning resources’ for you to use in a way that suits your own physical or online classroom: copying key language onto a whiteboard, for example, or printing it off for your students, or displaying it by computer.
As you progress through the course, you can use the knowledge you gain in three immediate ways:
1) by checking your own understanding of the grammar items by trying the student exercises that you see on the slides (or their longer versions in the resources) before you look at the answers;
2) by watching an individual lecture, and immediately using the resources to create a lesson plan that will work for your students;
3) by teaching some of the items to your students before you complete the course - the experience you gain may be helpful when you come to watch the next new lecture.
At the end of each section of the course, you'll find a downloadable document titled REVISION (Section 2, 3 etc.). This document tests your ability to identify and name the grammatical features you have covered in each section. And, after the last lecture in the course, you'll also find a document titled Test Yourself! This gives you the chance to think how you might use three dialogues in your classroom (followed by suggested answers).
At the very end of the course (after Lecture 22), you’ll find, under ‘Resources’, two documents titled ‘Spoken Grammar Presentation’ and ‘Spoken Grammar Presentation notes’. The first is a PowerPoint presentation on spoken grammar. You are welcome to use/adapt this to give your own presentation to teaching colleagues in your institution or at local conferences/staff development events. (After downloading the document, click on ‘enable editing’ to make changes.) The ‘Spoken Grammar Presentation notes’ document gives you all the information you need to talk about the slides.
1) this course doesn’t deal with other aspects of grammar - verb tenses, for example - that are important for conversation but already well covered in traditional teaching materials;
2) learners using the material in the course should be at intermediate level or above.
Who this course is for:
- This course is for teachers of English as a Foreign or Second Language who want to learn about the new, evolving area of spoken grammar, and teach a range of items to their students in the classroom or online.
After a twenty-year career at the University of Westminster in London, where I held a number of posts, including Chair of Professional Education, Chair of English and Linguistics, and Director of the Centre for English Learning and Teaching, I am currently a freelance author with a back list of popular grammar practice books for students, including the co-authored 'Oxford Grammar for EAP' (Oxford University Press, 2013), ‘A Handbook of Spoken Grammar’ (DELTA Publishing, 2011), 'Oxford Practice Grammar Basic' (Oxford University Press, new edition, 2019) and 'Improve Your Grammar' (Bloomsbury Academic, 2022). I have given talks and workshops at international conferences in the UK, Hong Kong, Belgium, Spain and Uzbekistan, and have designed courses for universities and colleges in Japan, Singapore, China and Oman.