Workshop Series - Grammar

Topic 1: A Data-driven Approach to Grammar Teaching and Learning

To provide opportunities for teachers to explore new ways of English language teaching and support them to adopt corpus-based approach in their teaching, a Knowledge Transfer (KT) Workshop Series was launched. The Series consisted of language skills covering lexis, grammar, phonology, and translation. The Series also aims at equipping teachers with skills and tools to develop their own corpus-based teaching and learning materials.

DATE: 09-Dec- 2017 (Sat)

TIME: 10:30 am - 12:30 pm

VENUE: B4-LP- 20, Tai Po Campus, The Education University of Hong


Students have been taught a large number of prescriptive grammar rules in English classes. Examples include “you should use ‘few’ before a plural noun and ‘less’ before a mass noun; “the preposition following ‘different’ should be ‘from’; and “you must use ‘between’ for two entities and ‘among’ for more than two entities”. These rules are embraced whole-heartedly by some teachers whose understanding of grammar is based primarily on structure rather than function. If their students do not follow the prescriptive rules, they are likely to be given a big red cross. The workshop will help you distinguish between “deterministic” grammar and “probabilistic” grammar. It will show you how to use corpus data to help students find out what forms are most likely to occur in particular contexts of use, and how speakers and writers make grammar choices to create meanings.

Topic 2: Motivating Students to Learn Grammar through Discovery Learning

DATE: 24-Apr-2018 (Tue)

TIME: 14:30-16:00 pm

VENUE: The Houde Academy (厚德書院), 9 Guansheng 5th Road, Long Hua District, Shenzhen (zip code: 518110)


A common phenomenon of a number of grammar practice books is the adoption of a deductive approach to grammar learning. The target grammar item is studied and rules are presented before exercises, which are usually in the form of: (1) discrete, uncontextualised sentences, (2) gap-fills and (3) manipulation of the base form of a lexical item provided in brackets. This deductive approach caters for analytic learners but not the learners who favour inductive learning and view mechanical exercises as boring. It is important for teachers and grammar book authors to employ different teaching approaches to broaden students’ learning styles and to cater for their needs. In this workshop, we will discuss how to make grammar learning more enjoyable and motivating by engaging learners’ brains more. You will learn how to design consciousness-raising activities with real language data to help your students find out the target language forms and how to create meanings through different grammar choices.


Dr. Jackie Lee is Associate Professor at the Education University of Hong Kong. Her research interests include grammar teaching, language and gender, experiential learning and teacher education. She has had articles published in prestigious journals such as Sex Roles, Gender and Education, Teaching and Teacher Education and System.