Pop-up grammar must be short. Like, really short. “This means that” kind of thing. Otherwise, the story is interrupted and the kids, who are focused on the story, see the pop-up as an intrusion. Their brain has to shift into another gear momentarily and then back. 

And if I talk more than just a few seconds about some pop-up grammar point, I can be guaranteed that few of my students will actually remember it. They just won’t.

I get the idea – if we repeat a grammar point over and over in the form of pop-ups, the kids are supposed to eventually get it, but I haven’t really seen this yet, even in my better students. It is a great idea but I don’t know how effective it is.
I don’t know if the answer is to just take 20 or 30 minutes a week to  do full-on grammar. I wouldn’t do that – my priority is on stories, readings and songs.

I don’t know what the answer is. I dream of the day, hopefully not too far off, when intelligent professionals get together to put off the study of grammar until the third year of study, after a rocking two years of engaging the kids in such a way that they really want to learn grammar.

Like the way little kids learn grammar – much later, after they have learned the language. Even if they never learn the grammar, it seems like 100% of them can speak the language.

So what are we doing when we teach grammar? I don’t quite get it. Someone, some grammar teacher, please deconfuse me on this point. Meanwhile, I guess I’ll keep doing pop-ups, but I am going to keep them ever so short, like Susie says.

One Response to “Pop-ups”

  1. Fábio Carvalho Says:

    Hey, Ben. I’m an English teacher here in Rio, Brazil. I’ve been a teacher for 25 years now and for the past months have fallen deeply in love it professor Krashen’s idea on language acquisition. I totally agree with pop-up grammar. Students – I mean kids, teens and grown-ups – don’t want to see grammar. They want to speak the language, and pop-up grammar works as that final tuning that enables better comprehension whenever necessary. Thanks for explaining this issue so well. If you even feel like getting in touch: queroadquiriringles@gmail.com . See you around. Cheers.

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