19 Hacks to Help Learners Use the Correct Verb Tenses While Speaking

Are you looking for hacks to help students use the correct verb tenses while speaking? If so, keep reading.

1. Get the student to make corrections for incorrect verb tenses on written worksheets.

2. On occasions where speaking privately with the student, repeat their verb tense error with a rising inflection (e.g., “Yesterday he?”) to assess if the student recognizes errors and spontaneously makes appropriate corrections.

3. Select a peer to model correct verb tenses for the student.

4. Boost the student’s understanding of the problem by recording the student while they are speaking with another student who uses verb tenses correctly. Play the recording back for the student to see if they can find the correct/incorrect verb tense.

5. Create a list of those verb tenses the student most commonly uses incorrectly. This list will become the guide for discovering the verb tenses that the student should practice each day.

6. Get the student’s hearing reviewed if it has not been recently reviewed.

7. Make headings entitled “yesterday,” “today,” and “tomorrow” under which the class can list learning activities they “were doing,” “are doing,” or “will do.” The following day, change the “today” heading to “yesterday” and the “tomorrow” heading to “today.” Place emphasis on appropriate verb tenses throughout this learning experience.

8. Get the student to make up sentences with given verbs in the past, present, and future tenses.

9. Make sure the student knows the concept of verb tenses by demonstrating what “is happening,” what “already happened,” and what “will happen” through the use of objects, images, and/or written sentences (depending on the student’s abilities).

10. Praise the student for using verb tenses properly : (a) give the student a concrete reward (e.g., privileges such as leading the line, handing out learning materials, 10 minutes of free time, etc.) or (b) give the student an informal reward (e.g., praise, handshake, smile, etc.).

11. Provide the student a sequence of sentences, both written and oral, and have them find the ones that demonstrate appropriate verb tenses. Get them to make appropriate modifications for those sentences that demonstrate unacceptable verb tenses.

12. Get the student to finish worksheets in which they must supply the correct verb tenses to go with the sentences (e.g., “Yesterday I to school.”).

13. Record the student’s speech to point out errors in verb tenses. With each successive recording, reinforce the student as their use of verb tenses improves.

14. Ascertain whether the student knows the concept of time, which influences the comprehension of verb tensing (e.g., Can they answer questions using “yesterday,” “today,” “tomorrow,” “before,” “later,” etc.? Do they use such vocabulary when speaking even though the verb tense is incorrect?).

15. Video the student and their classmates performing several actions. Play back the video without the sound and have the student narrate what is occurring in the present tense, what happened in the past tense, and/or what will happen in the future tense. (This learning experience could be altered by using a prerecorded videotape.)

16. Jot down specific verb tense errors made by the student during the day. Provide the written sentences to the student and have them make appropriate corrections. (At first, mark the errors for them to correct. As the student becomes more proficient with this task, have them find and correct the errors independently.)

17. Make the conjugation of verbs a daily learning experience.

18. Consider using a language arts app. Click here to view a list of recommended apps.

19. Consider using a language development app. Click here to view a list of apps that we recommend.

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