ITTT Unit 2: Parts of Speech

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In Part 1 of the ITTT 120-hour online TEFL course, which was about what makes a good TEFL teacher, the different roles which teachers must play in the ESL classroom, what makes a good learner and the types of ESL students we’re likely to come across in the classroom during our career or time as a TEFL teacher, I mentioned that the first unit seemed a logical and gradual way to start the course. For those thinking that the course would be a piece of cake though, they’ll be in for a bit of a shock!

Unit 2 of the ITTT online TEFL course

Unit 2 of the ITTT online TEFL course is called ‘Parts of Speech’ are is solely concerned with English grammar. The writers of the ITTT TEFL course have assumed that people taking this course will have a ‘zero knowledge’ of grammatical rules and take teachers right back to the beginning. However, for the average native-speaker, who has a perfect command of the English language, being confronted with all the names and rules of grammar can be scary and overwhelming and I think a ‘zero grammatical knowledge assumption’ has to be the only way to go here and it’s the right path to take.

If you’re like me when I first began as a teacher (being a perfect speaker of English, but unsure what a verb actually was!), then you’re going to find this unit tricky and you’re going to need to switch on and be taking notes.

As the unit rightly says, that unless you’re teaching very young children, at some stage, you’re going to need to teach grammar, so this unit on the ITTT 120-hour TEFL course is something you’re going to need to understand and get your head around. Indeed, being a native-speaker on this unit will actually put you at a disadvantage, as a near-native speaker on the course will have an advantage on you as they’ve been through all of this before on the road to learning English as a second or additional language. They’ll know the rules and the names of the grammar; you may not!

How this unit is divided

Unit 2 of the ITTT 120-hour online TEFL course with video support is broken up into eight sections, with each looking at different parts of speech. These eight sections are:

  1. An overview of different types of nouns: common nouns (desk, chair, dog, fork, etc), proper nouns, (China, The UK, Donald Duck, Jupiter - always with a capital letter), abstract nouns (car park, taxi driver, police station, etc), abstract nouns (love, time, freedom, etc - things we can experience but not touch), collective nouns (family, school, herd, etc), countable nouns (pen, coin, computer, etc), uncountable nouns (water, mud, flour)

  2. Adjective order: size, age, colour, material. For example, ‘the big, old, grey elephant came trumping along’. This section of the ITTT online TEFL course also teaches trainees about comparatives (bigger, taller, shorter, slower) and superlatives (biggest, tallest, shortest, slowest, etc)

  3. Articles: how and when to use a/an/the. This may seem very easy to say, but there is a trick to it and students may ask TEFL teachers which ‘a’ is used in this sentence and why ‘the’ is used in another sentence. TEFL teachers need to be able to answer with confidence and in a clear way that English learners can understand. For example: “John took a football to school. A break time, his friend kicked the football through the headmaster’s window!”

  4. Verb forms: transitive and intransitive verbs, infinitives (to go, to play, to find, etc), base forms, past simple, past participle, irregular verbs.

  5. Adverbs and where adverbs are placed within a sentence, also the different types of adverbs we may need to teach about. For example manner, place, time, degree, frequency.

  6. Next up on the online TEFL course was gerunds (the -ing for of verbs, for example, running, skiing, writing).

  7. Pronouns: personal pronouns (I, me, you, him, her, she), possessive pronouns (mine, yours, his hers, ours), reflexive pronouns (myself, yourself, himself, herself), relative pronouns (who, which, that, whose)

  8. Prepositions/conjunctions: Time/date (on, at, by, before), movement (to, from, into, on), place/position (in, at, on, by, above). Conjunctions join sentences, for example, ‘but’, ‘and’, etc.

Don’t let reading the above grammar freak you out!

You may be thinking about becoming an English teacher and have stumbled across this review of the ITTT 120-hour online TEFL course blog as you’re looking to become a qualified English teacher. Perhaps you’ve read the above and thought to yourself ‘what the hell?!! I don’t understand any of that! I can’t do this!’ Just remember that you can already speak English and the hard part of learning the English language has already been done; these are just the different terms and rules for a language we can already speak. It’s like driving a car for the first time, or baking a cake, ironing a shirt or installing software on your laptop - completely daunting and a new thing at first, but second nature after a bit of study and a bit of practice!

If you want to be an English teacher, then there is no way around this; you’re just going to have to learn the grammar rules of English and this online TEFL course explains the above grammar clearly, concisely and in a way you’ll easily be able to follow. After a while, teaching grammar and talking about grammar in the classroom will be second nature to you!

How I’m getting on so far on the online TEFL course

To pass the ITTT online TEFL course with video support, trainees need to get an average score of 75% in the end of unit online multiple-choice tests. After reading through the Unit 2: Parts of Speech PDF on grammar (which was actually a fantastic refresher for me, even as an experienced teacher), I took clicked on the ‘Take the Test’ button and began my test.

Although 75% is the pass mark, I’m aiming for a 90% pass mark overall (Although I’m an experienced teacher, I’m sure I’m going to get some answers wrong over the length of the course!). One of the great things about the ITTT online TEFL course, is that there is a progress tracker, so you can clearly see how you’re doing as you work your way through all 20 units. Here is my progress so far! (I’m sure it’s going to go downhill soon! LOL!)

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So things are looking pretty OK at the moment. I’ve done two units and managed to score 100% in both units, so that’s given me some breathing space in case I mess my next unit up a little! Unit Three on the ITTT online TEFL course is: Theories, Methods and Techniques. This unit takes a look at a variety of different teaching methodologies. It also covers teaching techniques and classroom activities that can help to make your lessons more interesting and productive.

by Stuart Allen, TEFL Lemon.

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