In a traditional grammar class, the teacher explains the grammatical concept. However, students learn more when they are actively engaged. The following dialogue illustrates how a teacher may explain the present perfect tense.
“Today, we are going to learn the present perfect tense. Joachim, please read the sentence on the slide.”
“Lisa has taught English as a Second Language for 15 years.”
“Joachim, is Lisa still teaching English as a Second Language?”
“The verb taught is in the past tense.”
“Maria, read these two sentences.”
“Lisa taught English as a Second Language for 15 years. Lisa has taught English as a Second Language for 15 years.”
“What is the difference between the two sentences?”
“I’m not sure. Is the word has used for emphasis?”
“Victoria, how many years have you studied English?”
“I studied English for three years.”
“So you are no longer studying English?”
"No, I'm still studying English."
“I’ll repeat my question. Listen to the words I emphasize.”
“Victoria, for how many years have you studied English.”
Victoria thought for a moment. “I have studied English for 3 years.”
“Very good. Class, what is the difference between the simple past and the present perfect?”
“The simple past describes an action that happened and ended in the past. The present perfect describes an action that started in the past and continues to the present.”
So, what is going on here?
The teacher elicited the grammar point instead of providing the students a definition. She did this by asking Joachim if Lisa was still teaching English as a Second Language. She then involved other students in the discussion.
Eliciting grammar is a better way to teach students instead of having the teacher lecture. It engages the students in the process and they learn through discovery.