Today we would like to discuss the topic of ‘How to Teach Transition words‘. This is especially relevant for us, as we’ve just released a new 10-part lesson plan category that you can find on our lesson library. Our linking words category is designed to help you teach transition words to your students.
Teachers often bemoan the fact that students don’t use enough transition words. Yet, for students to learn to use these effectively, teacher themselves need to go beyond teaching transition words, coordinators and subordinators in isolation. They need a basic strategy to teach transition words. Our basic theory to teach transition words in an ESL context: students need to know two things about each transition words they learn. First, what are its grammatical properties and what function does it fulfil in a sentence? And secondly, which category of transition words do they belong to?
For example, student generally grasp the coordinators such as and, but, so and yet with little assistance from a teacher. However, it really does pay to check that a student understands how the transition (or linking) words are used to express addition, cause, contrast, purpose, result, etc. While these categories may seem a little artificial at times… and indeed overlap into other categories, students certainly find such categorization helpful as they advance in proficiency.
As lesser known transition words are introduced, to express condition for example, students really can only learn to use these effectively if they are able to identify a dependent and independent clause, and if they know whether the linking word is an adverb, coordinator, subordinator… or something else.
Teachers who simply introduce a list of transition words without the background grammatical properties are missing the mark. To use transition words effectively, and more importantly, to use them in proficient writing, where they are considered vital, a teacher needs to concept check continuously to ensure the student can produce these words later, independently of the teacher.
If you’d like some help with your approach to teach transition words, be sure to check out our 10-part lesson plan series on our lesson library.