The Grammar Club

 In Emotional Intelligence in ESL classrooms

Once upon a time, some students had become so confused with grammar structures that they got completely stuck in the same level without managing to move forward because of their poor command of English Usage. Their communicative skills were improving considerably, they grew more and more capable of getting their ideas through, more fluent and less shy to speak, and at the same time, however, they were falling behind in grammar!


This is when this teacher invited those students to devote some of their free time, after regular English lessons, to sit and focus on:


  • word order,
  • question formation,
  • tenses,
  • suffixes and prefixes,
  • gerunds and infinitives,
  • active and passive voice,
  • and so on
  • and so forth.


There was a slight shift, though, in the way these students would walk into the classroom. A sine qua non of participating in The Grammar Club was to bring a sweet something to eat with their tea while trying to understand the whys of the English ‘-ing’s and ‘-ed’s, no article rules, or double consonants rules.


That is how every Wednesday afternoon, a group of regular students began to meet their English teacher after class, put the kettle on, and start listening to their favourite English grammar storytelling session.  They would deal with one thing at a time in bite-size chunks including a bite of delicious homemade cakes and hot tea.






Associating a smell or taste with the task you want students to learn really works! You can ask them to close their eyes and imagine doing the task whilst smelling or tasting their favourite thing should it not be possible to experience it for real in the classroom.


Our training was made as multi-sensory and creative as possible. Humour was used when some point wasn’t retained. And they always preferred practical, hands-on teaching methods, and learnt more efficiently if they were using all sensory pathways. For online grammar sessions we followed these same trends from a comfortable seat at home.


Here are some tips and references for The Grammar Club sessions:



  1. Create breaks during the learning process to help with concentration levels.
  2. Give a summary at the end of each learning point.
  3. Provide an overview of the next session following the break.
  4. Check understanding of key points.
  5. Consider colour-coding materials relating to different sections/aspects of the training.
  6. Go back to basics: use simple clear material, pure grammar sheets, no fuss (we based our intermediate sessions on activities provided by Oxford English File, and our advanced sessions on Rephrasing exercises from Advanced Language practice.
  7. Be as patient as you can possible be.







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Showing 2 comments
  • Miguel González

    What memories!
    I was one of the people who participated in those meetings. Over time you realize how important they were. Associating smells and flavors with the task we were doing were decisive, at least for me. Studying and practicing English in a relaxed way helped me improve my level remarkably. Every week we brought a cake, which we offered to our colleagues and accompanied with a good cup of tea. I will never forget those moments.

    • Maria Teresa Roura

      Indeed, Miguel! Thank you for your comments !!

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