A comprehensive review on Grammar for English Language Teachers


Grammar for English Language Teachers Second Edition                                     

Title: Grammar for English Language Teachers

Author: Martin Parrott

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Reviewed by: Alex Warren, Academic Director, British Study Centres, Bournemouth                     

© Copyright BEBC REVIEW PANEL 2014 – this review may be reproduced but only with this acknowledgement

For anyone setting out on their journey into the world of TEFL there are certain books which help make the ride less bumpy, especially when tackling the treacherous twists, turns and potholes of English grammar. In this respect Martin Parrott’s Grammar for English Language Teachersis a travelling companion of the highest order and one which should be firmly packed away to help guide you safely through. As such it’s a must for all CELTA candidates and undoubtedly no staffroom should be without a reference copy.

The reasons for this are varied, but essentially the answer lies with the primary aims of the book – to help teachers develop their overall knowledge and understanding of English grammar and to provide a source of reference in planning lessons or clarifying learner’s problems – and it does this with aplomb. The nuances and peculiarities of the English language are enough to bring any language learner out in a sweat, but what Parrott does so well is to take down these barriers and break the grammar down into understandable and accessible chunks. By looking at key considerations, examining form, usage and meaning as well as making relevant comparisons, light is slowly shed on what can, for the novice teacher, be the hardest part of the job. Not that it should be regarded as reference material for novice teachers only. Far from it. Split into four parts, Part A looks at the basics of word class, including nouns, articles, adjectives, while Part B looks at verbs and their related forms (including, present, past, future and modal verbs). Part C explores sentence constituents and word order in detail (inc. discourse markers and ellipsis) and Part D takes on complex sentence structures, taking in the sights of adverbial, noun and relative clauses among others. So, all in all, it takes a very in-depth examination of grammar all while being careful not to blind the reader with science.

From a practical point of view just as useful as the grammar explanations for the novice teacher, if not more so, are the Typical difficulties for learners sections which accompany each point. The reason why these are so useful is that it allows for the recently qualified teacher to see the issues from a student’s point of view, a point of view which, if they are a native speaker, they would otherwise be unaware of. This understanding is then followed up by a variety of useful consolidation exercises. These include Language in context which allows the teacher to analyse and test their understanding of the grammar from a model text while Learners’ English encourages the teacher to analyse why a student has made an error, thus developing their awareness of the causes of errors. Together they help consolidate understanding in a practical way, thus preparing the teacher for the ‘real’ world of the classroom.

To sum up, by no means is Grammar for English Language Teachers your average light reading material, but it is insightful, helpful, educational and practical and when there’s no one else around to explain the present perfect that’s just what you need.

Overall rating                            4
What outstanding strengths/ weaknesses do you feel this title possesses?

Strengths

In depth coverage of the main grammar issues

Excellent support for all teachers

On which courses do you envisage being able to use this material?

CELTA and DELTA and other teacher training courses.

Reference tool for all teachers’ rooms!

© Copyright BEBC REVIEW PANEL 2014 – this review may be reproduced but only with this acknowledgement

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