**This is a post I made on another forum. I would like to share my thoughts here as well.**
I would like to talk a bit about methods of teaching English that are circulating in the marketplace currently. This is a free and open discussion, and I would like to open it to all parents and fellow educators as well. If I seem to criticize, it is only because I tell the truth with compassion. I am not flaming, or trolling -- I'm here to support.
There seems to be a misconception floating around that learning by grammar is not the ideal way to teach English. I think a balance has to be struck between our distaste for "rote learning", which is understandably motivated by our concern for children with shorter attention spans and underdeveloped powers of concentration, and our recognition that in order to really become good in a language, you simply must know the rules of that language.
Otherwise, the learner will always be perceived by those in the know as a non-native speaker of the language, and while this will not present that much of a barrier in most social contexts (people are nowhere near that close-minded), it will hurt the learner in certain very important situations indeed (think job interviews, large scale presentations, etc.).
The so-called "immerson" method of learning must come under scrutiny. It has resulted in an entire generation, maybe two, of English speakers who misuse "would", who do not fully understand when to use the Past Perfect tense as opposed to the Present Perfect, who regularly use "revert" when they mean "reply", who use "spend" when they mean "spent" -- the list goes on! And even teachers and tutors fall prey to such mistakes!
The key is to find the right pedagogical methods, to impart the rules of grammar in a palatable way to children and new learners, in a way they can digest easily; to incorporate fun learning elements that allow them to utilize what they learn in the classroom in a practical way on a day to day basis.
Equally, though, children need to be encouraged from an early age (and yes, "since young" is a grammatical error that far too many people make) to be willing to apply themselves. There has never been a substitute for hard work and diligence, there is no substitute, there will never be a substitute.
As an educator, therefore, I look to impart the necessary knowledge -- and I confess to being quite indignant when such necessary knowledge is presented otherwise, i.e. not being necessary -- in the most efficient and enjoyable ways possible.
Language is alive: it is one of the most lively things in the entire realm of human invention. Language has changed and evolved through the ages and will always continue to do so, because humans change and evolve through the ages. It behooves us as language educators to apply the best practices in teaching learners, whether they are young or old.
With my editorial out of the way, here's a little bit more about me, by way of introduction:
My learning centre is Future Perfect, located at West Coast Recreation centre. Full details can be found here: www.futureperfect.com.sg
I am conducting a series of free preview lessons for the coming term. Do call me at my centre if you would like to attend, or for more information: 677 677 20.
The theme is "How to boost your vocabulary and write top-scoring essays". It will come in especially helpful for PSLE and O level learners.