Friday, 4 November 2011

Problems with the verb to Be

My experience as a teacher is not that big, but during these years I have noticed many aspects about the English language. One of the things that calls my attention is how much difficult is to learn the verb to be for my students. I have already said that it is really an important and basic verb, but for some reasons, after many years of trying to learn this verb, it seems that even at the end, students still can't memorize this verb.
Let's see some important facts.
For a spanish speaker (I dare to say), English is really easy to learn, considering that Spanish is richer in vocabulary. But it seems, that when you already know something so difficult, then it is so hard to learn something so easy.
There must be an explanation for this: after many years or teaching and teaching, and learning and learning the verb to be. students don't learn it. The problem is that after many years of trying to learn it, they assimilating the pronoun and the verb as one. So, if you ask them to create a sentence like "Yo juego" (I play), they will end writing "I am play".
Other problem is that, we mention the word "to be" so much, and really so much, that they will end writing "I be", instead of "I am".
Students can get the idea of "He is" or "She is", but it is still hard to get the idea of "It is". When I was a students, my teacher always taught me that I must use "It" when I want to talk about "animal or things". But it is more than that, for instance, when you want to say "IT is cold". What is it cold? The weather. Is the weather an animal or a thing? none of them. That is a problem.
Most of the verbs need an auxiliar, but the verb to be doesn't need it.
Probably a poster would help the students to learn the verb to be, so in such a way, they can see it everyday.

But do you know any other, more effective and creative to teach this important verb???
If you know any other interesting  way to learn this verb, you can share it. It would be nice to know it.

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