In this vlog post, Damien Herlihy examines the way we teach grammar and writing from a different perspective and discusses whether we should be using a rules- or reasons-based approach to help learners understand grammar concepts. He follows this up with suggestions of some effective writing tasks learners can do online (as part of a class taking socially distancing or hybrid learning into account, or as homework or extra practice outside class time) to consolidate the recommended approach.

In his vlog, Damien mentions a couple of text sources that work well for the activities he describes: Newsela (which allows teachers to create topical/newsworthy texts suitable for the level of their learners and/or can permit learners to select and adapt their own texts) and Ello (which is a free English Listening Library Online, containing natural English conversations, extracts of international speakers and news stories).

This episode forms part of the Pavilion ELT vlog series talking about the concept of using the internet as a virtual textbook (catch up on previous episodes here: The Internet as a Virtual Textbook: An Introduction, Habit Tracking, Reading, Listening and Speaking.

Please let us know how the series is making you reflect on your own teaching and/or what has worked well for you in the comments under the vlog or below our shares on the Pavilion ELT social media.



Norrington-Davies, D. (2016). Teaching Grammar: From Rules to Reasons. Pavilion Publishing and Media: Shoreham-by-sea, UK.

Thornbury, S. (2010). ‘G is for Grammar McNuggets’. The A–Z of ELT. Scott Thornbury’s Blog.