Category Archives: *Inductive Approach & Exercises

• Teaching Gerunds (a discussion from LINCS)

                                  SOME COMMON PROBLEMS

                                              Run is good exercise.
                                          I finished read that book.
                               He made some money by work hard
                                Eating in restaurants are expensive.
                                      They enjoyed to do their work

(This posting includes a handout which you are welcome to use with your students.)

I was invited to participate in a discussion about how to teach gerunds.  You can read the discussion at this linkLINCS discussion of gerunds

I’ll summarize here some exercises that I’ve used to help students at all levels and include a links to handouts that you can use with your students.  Also, below you’ll find brief samples of those exercises.

First handout: Inductive exercises to introduce gerunds to students.
See brief samples of these below.
Here is the link to the complete exercises. Gerunds inductive intro
For more inductive grammar exercises like these, see The Grammar Review Book

Second handout: Listening and writing exercises to help students learn when to use a gerund and when to use an infinitive.   One purpose of the listening exercise is to internalize what sounds right.
See brief samples of these below.
Here is the link to the complete exercises. Gerunds vs Infinitives listening and writing exercise
For more listening/writing exercises like these, see Write after Input

Third handout: Exercises for more advanced students who know what gerunds are.  These will help them understand how to use them as subjects of sentences and to contrast gerunds and participles.
See brief samples of these below.
Here is the link to the complete exercises. Gerunds vs Participles Exercises
For more advanced grammar exercises like these, see Writing Strategies Book 2

Brief sample exercises

Inductive exercises to introduce the concept of gerunds, especially good for ear-learners.

Exercise 1: Circle the nouns. Ignore pronouns such as he. (There are 8 nouns, including candy.)

  1. He likes candy.
  2. He likes eating.
  3. We enjoy music.
  4. We enjoy singing.

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• The Huge Advantage International Student Writers Have Over Their American Classmates (Revised)

An American student writes in his essay, “Every morning, I eat corn flakes for breakfast.”

His English Comp instructor thinks, “Boring.  Many Americans eat corn flakes.”

 An ESL student from China writes on her essay, “Every morning, I eat corn flakes for breakfast.”  Her English Comp instructor thinks, “Wow! That’s interesting! They eat corn flakes for breakfast in China too!”

Please note: I just discovered that there had been some formating problems with this post, so I’ve revised it.

(This posting includes a handout which you are welcome to use with your students.)

YouTube This posting is discussed on my YouTube video  Huge Advantage International Student Writers Have Over Their American Classmates—A Writing Technique

It can be liberating to ESL students to realize that almost anything that they can include in their essays/papers about their culture and country will probably be interesting to their American instructors.  This is a great advantage that they have over their American classmates.

However, just encouraging them to include this kind of information in their essays often results in paragraphs like this one from an essay about raising children:

In addition to teaching skills, parents sometimes need to discipline a child who misbehaves. Some people will spank their children in order to get their attention and redirect them.  However, in my country, parents very rarely do this.

The writer did include information from his country, but he missed an opportunity to exploit this information and make it more remarkable.  After being asked for more details, the writer revised the end of the paragraph:

… However, in my country, parents very rarely do this.  Instead, if a child refuses to listen to his mother or throws a tantrum, his mother will tell him to stand outside the house. The worse thing that can happen to someone in my culture is to be excluded from the group, so this type of punishment can be very effective.

An Inductive Approach to Teaching this Technique

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• Teaching the Most Interesting Type of Essay Introduction (an Inductive Approach)

Essay introduction

    Dan nervously flipped through a magazine as he waited for the other passengers to get into their seats.  Soon, a very large man sat down in the seat next to him.  His shoulders were so wide that they pushed Dan’s elbow off the arm rest.  The take-off and first 20 minutes were smooth.  Dan lowered the tray in front of him and set his lunch and coffee on it.  Suddenly, the passenger in front of him decided to push her seat back, shoving Dan’s tray into him, spilling coffee all over him.  For the rest of the two-hour flight, he tried not to think about how miserable he felt in his tiny seat and wet shirt.

(This posting includes a handout which you are welcome to use with your students.)

Handout Dramatic Introductions

Most people like stories.  And essays that start with a story are often the easiest to enter.  Like these written by a couple of students:

     “A few months ago, in the middle of the night, when I was staying at home, I heard my house’s gate was shaken violently by someone.  There, I saw a woman who was carrying her baby, standing with panic and asking for help. …”

       “The 40-degree Celsius weather was miserable when we were going on the trail to my grandmother’s house in Bucaramanga, Colombia.  We had been traveling about seven hours and were in El Pescadero, which is the curviest and dizziest part of the trip.

These dramatic introductions are not only enticing for the reader, but they are also fun for the students to write; it gives them a chance to use their imagination and creativity.

At the same time, a good dramatic intro isn’t just a story.  There are three characteristics of especially good ones:

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• LINCS Discussion about Grammar (Handout Exercises)

LINCS logo

You don’t have to be a grammar expert to help your students with the grammar in their writing.

During the week of Jan. 15-19, 2018, each day, I was interviewed online at LINCS about teaching grammar.  You can read the discussion at this link:  LINCS discussion about grammar

The topics were:
Jan. 15: Inductive teaching
Jan. 16: Importance of grammar terminology
Jan. 17: Ear-learners
Jan. 18: Leading students to finding grammar mistakes
Jan. 19: The connection between reading and learning grammar

Each day, I mentioned handout exercises related to that days topic, and I made these available in this posting below.

To see the handouts and read more information about the topics, please read below.
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