There are a lot of grammar topics to cover, and that can seem overwhelming to students if they view them as disconnected; each topic might seem like something new. But in fact, many topics are related to or extensions of topics the students have already learned. Wouldn’t it make sense to say, “Hey, remember this thing you already know? What if we alter it slightly?” This makes topics easier for students to grasp.
It’s also great review. If it’s been a while since you last talked about a particular topic, maybe you could revisit it to refresh students’ memories. After that, you can move on to the new, related topic. Hopefully, by the end of a year, students won’t feel burdened by a hundred different topics, some of which they last covered several months ago, but will instead have to think back on a score of over-arching topics, many of which were addressed periodically over the last year.
Connections are powerful when it comes to creating new memories and access older ones. That’s why learning vocabulary in groups is a good idea.
Most of the methods we teach through our videos involve patterns, rules-of-thumb, or steps. The more students see each of these, the more readily they can identify them in future topics. In a sense, these methods serve as ‘themes’ that connect different topics.
Then, of course, there are some more clear connections. Our videos come in series, and it’s generally a good idea to work through a full series, even if the earlier videos are at a lower level than what your class is proficient with. For instance, in our Past Perfect video, we reference the Present Perfect tense. This is because if you are already familiar with the Present Perfect tense, there’s a lot less to explain about the Past Perfect tense; they are essentially the same in their function except that they are used for different time periods. That’s why we value teaching tense aspects instead of tense combinations.
As you teach topics yourself, think of what other topics the students know that you can bring up, both for the sake of review and to give them a good starting point for the new topic.