Ways & How

how to teach verbs

how to teach verbs

Teaching language and grammar may pose a bit of a challenge for some, given that we use language so often that we have developed a subconscious use of grammar. At one point or another, you might have experienced being asked a seemingly simple grammar question, such as ‘what is an adverb?’ or perhaps ‘what are determiners for?’ Despite using those in virtually all your sentences, you struggle to explain. Verbs for example, seem simple enough. But if you were asked to teach what they are and how to use them, how would you go about it? This article will discuss how to teach verbs in a manner that will follow our natural thought processes. Using the common methods of exposition will help you recall your grammatical knowledge to the conscious forefront of your brain. An important consideration in teaching is to design your methodology based on the type of student you have. Whether you are teaching children, college students or adult beginner learners, pattern your methodology based on their learning styles and intellectual levels. Here are the simple steps one can follow in teaching verbs:

  1. Define.

    trong>Start off with a simple, comprehensive and functional definition of a verb. Choose a standard definition (or two) that is understandable to the kind of student you are teaching. Some definitions will try to cover so much that they end up too convoluted. Using these overly complex definitions will cause you to confuse your student before you have even started.

    For example, a good standard definition you can use would be ‘a verb is word that is often used to describe or indicate action’. This seems overly simple, but the intention at the start of every lesson is to just give them a basic idea and not to overwhelm them.

  2. Outline the types.  Next explain that verbs belong under different categories. Enumerate and describe each. Different references may offer varying labels and even the number of categories may differ. Again, offer standard categories to minimize confusion later on.

  3. Compare and contrast. One way of defining something is to show students what it is not. Compare verbs with other parts of speech. State similarities and dissimilarities in form and function.

  4. Give examples. One very useful means of exposition is exemplification. For every method of exposition you use, it is often best to compliment it with examples that are familiar to ensure that the students grasp the abstract ideas more concretely.

  5. Discuss the functions. After thoroughly explaining the definition, it is now time to discuss the functions or uses of the different kinds of verbs. Be consistent in using the categories or types of verbs you used earlier in associating them to the functions. Again, use plenty of examples.

  6. Visual reinforcement. Bombarding students with text and too much spoken or written information might lead to an overload. Break the monotony with visual reinforcement. This is a good method, especially for children and beginner learners. An aesthetically sound powerpoint presentation will help deliver the lesson better.

  7. Use games. Another good strategy is to use games. This may work not just for the young ones but for adult learners as well. Again, make sure that you use games that are appropriate to your students in terms of age and intellectual level.

  8. Sentence Construction. Finally, allow students to construct sentences using verbs. Encourage them to form varied constructions to see if they have really understood the lesson.

In knowing how to teach verbs, the essential thing is to ensure that students do not get confused with concepts similar to verbs, such as verbals (i.e. infinitives and gerunds). You can include this in your comparison and contrast discussion.


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