English prepositions are always fun to teach. It helps if a teacher has classroom teaching aides to assist with examples. Classroom posters are another way for students to learn from and have a reference point
when working with a teacher and fellow students. At Larisa English Ukraine, we use posters everywhere. Teaching content with just about any English information can be helpful to students. We use slide presentations along with audio visual content to teach prepositions. There are a few techniques that I like using when teaching prepositions. Teaching in chunks rather than attempting to teach every preposition known to man is one of the best methods. Chunking or demonstrating small groups of information is a great way to teach prepositions too. English prepositions grammar is all about place, movement and time.
Arbitrary Words in English.
Before getting started with prepositions, there are two important words to teach as thoroughly as possible. Start with the word “Arbitrary”. The word arbitrary is used when we refer to something
when relevance is not exact. In this case, the word’s “something or anything are indefinite. The main objective here is to help students better understand that when describing with prepositions, often there is more than one choice. In other words, examples like “Please sit near the table or by the table” have little difference in meaning. The main idea here is to teach communication. If we both understand what the other is saying; isn’t that perfect English? Or better yet! Perfect communication. English prepositions grammar is a part of speech.
Collocations are important too.
The second important word to teach is “Collocation”. Collocations or colloquial speech is when we use words in a certain order that are common in English. Commonly spoken word combinations are easier
to understand than one might think. Collocations can be used many different ways in English. Common statements, phrasal verbs and the list goes on and on. One of the best ways to teach collocations and common word order is with a list of examples. This is done in order of importance. In other words, start by writing a simple statement with the most popular word combination or collocation. Examples might include, “Please have a seat at the table” or “Please have a seat by the table”.
Although these statements mean two different things, they are used universally. The main idea here is “Which word combination is used more commonly?”. Please sit “AT” the table is more common compared to; Please sit “BY” the table. Therefore “AT” is more common compared to “BY”. Can we use both examples? Yes! Why? Because, I understand you! An important part of language is English prepositions grammar.
Prepositions Place, Movement, Time.
One other important element is the simple fact that we commonly use prepositions three primary ways. That would be for “Place, Movement
and Time”. Generally, it is often easier to keep time prepositions until last. Typical time expressions are all about colloquial speech. Place and movement prepositions are generally specific to places and movement but, many can be interchanged. This is due to the difference between perfect grammar and spoken English. Again, it is often more important to communicate understandably, than to attempt to speak perfect English.
So, which prepositions are the ones we should start with and why teach prepositions in chunks? There are three to start with. Those would be “At, In, On”. These are the three most common prepositions. One of the best ways to teach prepositions is to connect them with understandable words. In other words; Vocabulary that the students already know.
In English, there are many methods of teaching grammar. The main idea is to enlighten your student and encourage him or her to ask questions. Why do we use the word “AT?” “We use the word “AT” with locations or places”. Why do we use the word “IN?” “We use the word “IN” with limits”. Why do we use the word “ON?” “We use the word “ON” when two things touch”. These are common examples and general thoughts.
Choose other preposition words to chunk together and form common ways to describe identical situations. Help students understand that while all speech is important, the main goal should always be understandable communication. If an expression or statement is not perfect English but, the other fully understands your statement, isn’t that perfect English?