Double Check the Grammar Materials You Find Online

If you’re a tutor you know how hard it is to find good material online. Sometimes you could be excited to discover exactly what you need, only to realise after studying that particular subject, that the files you’ve been using for months or even years are actually missing some crucial points, or even worse, written incorrectly to begin with. The problem with much material online these days is it hasn’t been peer reviewed. So there are thousands of sites showing home-made exercises teaching simple grammar techniques that are actually incorrect, or correct for one country and not for another, or correct for spoken English and not for written English. It is a nightmare for the average tutor who teaches privately and designs their lessons around their students, and doesn’t have access to thousands of peer-reviewed documents that colleges and universities have.

I recently found that a few lines of my present perfect material, sourced from a website five years ago, actually contained incorrect examples. The worst thing is, I’d given these materials out to thousands of students over the past 5 years. I’d also handed them to other tutors who had also used them without checking the examples. As the students that were taught didn’t know to ask, and the papers seemed legitimate, no one actually questioned them. It wasn’t until I sat down and began updating my materials for 2014 that I discovered that a few of the examples were incorrect. Obviously horrified, I went to the original website and, lo and behold, the online material had been corrected!!!

So, if you’re using online material because you’re unable to create your own and you’re not sure of that particular grammar rule, go back over your notes after awhile, after you’re familiar with the grammar, and see if it needs updating. You’d be surprised how much is actually incorrect online.

Until next time.