So I decided to teach grammar inductively. Now, what is inductive reasoning? This approach involves observing patterns to form a general conclusion. In other words, you notice patterns or and make specific observations and form a rule before practicing.
I gave my grade 6 students a set of 12 words (in the form of a picture) and asked them to make sentences of their own. The list of words were: and, when, next, so, last, after, finally, then, first, because, but and while.
The picture should have given them a clue but I was not sure if they would observe it during a grammar class although they have been exposed to visual thinking strategies.
They eagerly made their own sentences. Then, I asked them to carefully observe their sentences and determine what was the function of the above words in their sentences. At first, they did not understand what I meant by the purpose of the word. I gave them an example that the purpose of the pen is to write. Now, they had to look at the sentence and tell me its function or purpose.
It took them some time to comprehend what was asked as it was challenging and confusing. Zee made the start stating that these words added sentences together. This gave an indication to others as to what information they had to look for. She also analyzed further and came to the conclusion that these words could be added at the start or the middle of the sentence but did not make much sense at the end of the sentence.
Nuha expressed that these words also gave more specific detail about what and when something is happening in a sentence along with joining two pieces of information or two ideas.
Ahmed told me that it gave more clarity to the sentence. Mohamed mentioned that it answered questions why and when something was happening.
Abdus Sami told me that it showed the order of events happening (he meant sequence) and the reason an incident happened (cause and effect).
Ash told me it is comparing two things and also adding two ideas together. I could see Zee’s eyes light up when she said, “Aunty! these are conjunctions.”
I saw the students engage and actively participate in the discussion and found it much more effective in acquiring the rules on their own. Finally, I gave them a presentation on connectives and mentioned that connectives are linking words that hold sentences together giving it meaning. They are essential to understanding English.
It is important that children learn literacy, numeracy and scientific thinking but more pertinent skills include team work, creativity, resilience and initiative.