English: Grammar to GO

by Claudio Muñoz

Mike Tiittanen, the author of a new ESL book, Grammar to GO, has a clear goal in mind. “Over the many years I have taught ESL, I have often found the need to create fun activities for my students that would allow them to practice grammatical structures in a meaningful way,” he wrote in the foreword.

More than a manual, Grammar to GO is a compilation of activities. Aimed at intermediate level students, the book offers a wide range of topics and quite a number of exercises to practice. Divided into 16 chapters, it covers simple present tense to unreal conditionals. Every chapter includes questionnaires, puzzles, sentences to complete, and referrals to games available in other books.

Probably the most interesting and unique activities are those that involve “controversial issues.” As part of chapter 9, for example, there’s a group exercise called “Family discussion questions” that includes questions like “Should parents sometimes spank their kids if they’re bad?” It could generate controversy, discussion and motivation to speak. If you want to defend your values, you’re going to have to do it in English. It is probably here where the book’s strength resides: Grammar to GO is a very Canadian publication. Throughout its pages, readers can find several cultural tips in disguise. For example, there’s a Canadian Culture Quiz including questions like, “In Canada, if you go to a party you’re usually expected to bring your own alcohol if you drink.” True or false? It is not necessarily an ESL task, but the study of a language is much more than words. (The answer is true by the way.) There are no pictures, or images of any kind. Chapters and activities are separated only by subtitles. Not intended for home learners, this book is best for groups and classroom use.

Grammar to GO could be a useful tool for teachers in searching of something new to try with their students.