Episode Transcript
Ixchell Reyes
The DIESOL Podcast

Brent Warner
Digital Integration in English as a Second or Other Language

Ixchell Reyes
Episode 24 Verb Tenses

Brent Warner
Welcome to the DIESOL podcast. This is episode number 24. We are your hosts I am Brent Warner,

Ixchell Reyes
and I’m Ixchell Reyes

Brent Warner
Ixchelle, how are you?

Ixchell Reyes
Hey, back to school that school you are? Yeah.

Brent Warner
Well, I’ve been back to school for a little bit now already. But we’re meeting again quite quickly because we just had our drinks with DIESOL. Yes, we did. We can or so. So we’re back together again. You wanted to break sorry, you have to see me see my mug one more day. But you’ll deal with it. I’m sure you’ll survive. So let’s talk about today’s topic. What are we talking about?

Ixchell Reyes
Verb tenses, verb tenses.

Brent Warner
That’sright, we thought we get a little bit like a little bit more deep on a topic. Not not crazy, but like really talk about it a little bit and, and focus in so we thought, let’s dig deep a bit on verb tenses.

Okay, so Ixchell I think when we talk about verb tenses, a lot of teachers really start off in the basic classes, just saying, Hey, there are 12 verb tenses in English,

Ixchell Reyes
oh my gosh, then you just want to quit and you don’t want to study anymore?

Brent Warner
And so it’s like, Okay, I have to learn these 12 different things and and then I’ll be good. And the answer is no. That’s not really how it works, right. And so then you get into slightly more sophisticated teachers who break it down into the three tenses and the four aspects, right, you remember all of this. So the the tenses themselves are past, present, and future. And then the aspects are simple, progressive, perfect and perfect progressive. And then, you know, that chart where four on the top, and three are on the side? And how do they link together and all of those things, right. But we need to kind of talk about this a little bit, because linguistics, linguistics, linguists have a tendency to break it down in quite a few different ways. And a lot of ESL is kind of linked to this traditional chart and this traditional structure and the way that teachers teach it, even if they we kind of know better, we’re still kind of like, Yeah, but still this kind of gets you there, right? And so we just wanted to share a few different ideas to help you better be prepared to understand students questions, right? Because especially there are times, I’m sure you’ve had this issue, when a student asks a question, they say, Well, what about this? And you got a Yeah, it’s kind of sex. But it’s Yeah, you go, Well, in this case, it’s that but and then your student kind of leaves unsatisfied and you leave unsatisfied. And, you know, there’s some of these parts to it. And so I think we can’t really explain everything going on today, we’re just kind of trying to give an overview, but we wanted to talk a little bit about, you know, just approaching verb tenses with your students a little bit more. So. So Michelle, what’s the first thing that comes up for you when we’re talking about verb tenses?

Ixchell Reyes
Well, usually, it’s like, what order should we teach them in? Right? What are we going to be teaching them in and I know that generally speaking, we tend to follow a pattern, right? We, we, we tend to be taught or we, the books tend to have, first, the simple present and the simple past simple future and the present progressive, right? Those are your, your basic,

Brent Warner
right? They kind of go in like a chunk together. Right? Right. So that right.

Ixchell Reyes
And then the second chunk is the past progressive, the future progressive in the present perfect. And then you start sort of getting tongue tied with all those, the terminology, right, because this is where it gets trickier for students. And then finally, you’ve got the remaining tenses, and it’s usually start starting with the past perfect. But if our students have not already nailed down the second, the second, or the progressive center, present perfect, and they’re going to be lost, because that’s where they get, they tend to get stuck,

Brent Warner
right? So there’s this kind of false sense that it’s really easy with like, hey, there’s just 12 you just have to learn them. And in fact, they’re in this chart, and that’s how they go

Ixchell Reyes
in this order. Yeah,

Brent Warner
but it doesn’t really work that way. And so I think, you know, what you’re saying here is like, yes, they kind of work and so we have to kind of balance that like, Hey, there are other ways and there are other things too. To talk about this with but also at the same time, we also know that students have been traditionally taught with this kind of structure. And so when most of our students at least from intermediate to advanced level, they are they’re relearning this or they’re kind of they’re, they’re cycling back into the things that they’ve already learned. And so it’s a little hard to just say just slap them with a totally different way of approaching things, right. And so I think what we’re going to be talking about a little bit here is blending these ideas and kind of introducing teachers to kind of consider some different ways to think about how the tenses work. So

So let’s talk a little bit about your arm.

Ixchell Reyes
Okay, so the article I looked at was by Diane Larson, Freeman, Tom kuin. And then I think it’s mark, hack seus, or has he is I don’t know how to pronounce his last name. But it’s, yeah, I’m sorry. That was helping students make appropriate English verb tense aspect choices. And from this is from 2002. Of course, we’ve had, we’ve discussed Diane Larson Freeman, stuff before on episodes. And this time, one of the one of the one of the things that she argues is that tenses should be discussed in relationship to other events. And not just as a flat action or a an event and time because we tend to get used to those timelines that we draw on the board. But then, and then, you know, examples are introduced to students as a single sentence, right and not in relationship to other events. So that means teachers have to give enough examples to students to contrast and see how tense aspect combinations work together, because usually what’s going to happen is that students, once they finish a grammar course, or whatever it is that they’re studying, they’re going to have the long term challenge of knowing when to choose one verb tense over the other. And, for example, and many other languages, there’s a true feature tense, right, but in English, we have models, and that can change everything, right? And so they can be quite confusing. And then finally, Diane, and her colleagues talk about just understanding and coming to the classroom with the insight that oftentimes, because the students have been taught tenses as individual sentences, it’s going to make it much harder for students to see the cohesion of this course as related to tense aspect combinations. So coming to the classroom understanding that’s already it’s already, they maybe have seen examples of single sentences, just like you said, they are coming with some kind of basic understanding, that’s going to make them really hard. And I think there’s a there’s a part where she says, understanding this, as a teacher will help you to be to not just simply say, oh, why don’t they just get it? Right. Right.

Brent Warner
Yeah, because a lot of times as teachers, we’re like, Wait a second, this is that weird version? And how am I looking at it? So I think this article kind of helps you understand this a little better and recognize some of the maybe the positions that we take as default try and and haven’t really considered the the other, the other parts to it, or the other ways of looking at language outside of that, that grid that we get stuck in, right. And then I think this is really important here to the point that you’re saying, which is

that

the individual sentences, it’s like, okay, say a past sentence, say a future sentence, right? And it’s like, well, what’s the relationship between those things because that’s, they all intersect and they’re part of a bigger, a bigger hole, and not just individual little pieces,

Ixchell Reyes
right? And then we tend to see what happens when those skills transfer or don’t transfer or transfer in the way that the student learned them into writing. Right? And then they’re, they’re writing about the past, but they’re not sure why they’re supposed to use a present simple as opposed to something else and or, or simply all in the past and they it just becomes so difficult for them right. Yeah.

Brent Warner
So, so her article there is one great one and then we also looked at this one from

Excuse me.

Sorry, got my my whole throat is caught up here. So

Ixchell Reyes
Frankie

Brent Warner
His name is Kostas grace. Gabrielle,

Ixchell Reyes
Gabriela to us, right cost us that’s got to be Greek. All right.

Unknown Speaker
So that article is a great one. And then we’ve also got one from kosis, Gabrielle latos, that we were looking at, kind of in the pre show, and this was a really interesting one, Ixchell, I was like, wow, I really want to spend more time kind of processing this one, because it’s very, a very different approach to understanding. So first of all, he goes straight into the argument, and he says, Hey, there are not, there are not three tenses and four aspects. There are two tenses and two aspects. So he’s just like, for First things first, like, it just gives you a little nose punch right there to start off with everything. But it’s really interesting. So he gets into this idea, and he says, quote, the system of 12 tenses is actually the formal realization of the interaction between tents, grammatical aspect, and modality. Right. And so. So he’s, he’s going in and deconstructing the way that we’ve always thought about it, or at least the way that we’ve kind of, we’ve been trained to think about this. And then many of us know this too, right? That, as you mentioned before, English doesn’t really actually have a proper future tense. And so even though there’s futures marked on that little chart all the time, it’s not really properly future. It’s not, it’s not gotten, it’s not built in the same way, linguistically that our past and present are so. So he points out and again, this is a quote, futurity is expressed either by tense aspect combinations, and contextual information. For example, the plane is leaving at 235, right, the plane is leaving at 235 or bi modal verbs and the infinitive, so for example, must plus the progressive infinitive, so the sentence might be, we must be leaving soon, right? And then it says, continuing, the forms presented as future tenses in ELT materials are the combinations are the combinations with will, right, so so we kind of have to understand a little bit of how he’s approaching this as a totally different look. And so what I would say here is, this is something we can’t explain very well over audio, but what it does is a very cool visual representation on grammar. And I was I’m just like, staring at the thing going, Oh, yeah, this is really interesting way. So what he does is he breaks down the traditional chart, and he breaks it down in a different way, where he has four different parts, he has the speech time, right, so the time at which the statement or question is actually expressed. And then he has the event time, which is the the time when the event took place, right. And then he has a reference time. So he says, the time or the point of the period where the which the user is concerned with, and this is the same thing, you were just saying Ixchell, which is that it’s not a flat point in time, right? It’s it’s the reference time versus the speech time versus the event time. And then also the view of the event, which is he marks it out as the visual representation of the grammatical aspect. And then he’s saying that, based on these choices, your the way you’re talking about these sentences might be objective or subjective. And so it’s a little bit confusing to just to listen to and go, Wait, wait, what does that all mean? But we will have the link to this article in the show notes. It’s not very long, it’s only it’s only three pages or so. And it’s definitely worth having an understanding. Because basically, what he does is he starts breaking down the way that we talk about something versus the way that we are viewing it referentially versus when it actually happened with the event time and then, and then how we’re overall looking at this event can change the way that we talk about it. And he gives these two different examples of sentences, which is I tried snails three years ago, and versus I have tried snails. And they, when you can see these points all together on a chart together with this, you’re like, Oh, yeah, that doesn’t make sense that that’s actually how we’re talking about it. So I’m not going to go much deeper in terms of that. But this article is worth looking at. And then it’s very cool because what he does is he gives activities right inside of there to practice and working with these things. So. So this article is called teaching the expression of a concern, sorry, teaching the expression of time, a concise framework, really worth looking at. And even if it doesn’t totally change your teaching, it’s worth kind of having it in your head because I think this is something that I’ll be processing for quite a while. Right.

Unknown Speaker
So finally, I wanted to talk last time in the The drinks with these. So we talked a little bit about Swan and Smith, I am not going to get into the depth of it. But I do think that it’s useful for teachers to have a reference like this, because things that we can understand about the other languages help us to make better understandings of how we’re trying to teach our students about different verb tenses. So the basic example that I tend to give is, you know, hey, Chinese itself is simplifying, but Chinese doesn’t have a past tense. So how do we as English teachers recognize and reconcile that in order as a way to help them learn how to use a tense that doesn’t even exist in their language? Right. And so I, depending on, you know, where your students are from, Swan and Smith is a great guide to at least help you customize your decisions and your focal points in your class, in order to share a little bit more with them about how verb tenses work in English. Very cool.

Unknown Speaker
Okay, so we have a winner for one of our enamel pins.

Unknown Speaker
Yeah.

Unknown Speaker
Yeah, we got Lj Taylor msad. So let’s take a look at this. This review says, When you listen to this podcast, it feels like you’re having a conversation with the hosts. Because it’s enjoyable to listen to, I stay engaged and absorb more of the content and the content. It’s useful and relevant, not overly theoretical or technical. So sorry about all the last stuff today. So you know, they’re gonna give you tips and tools you can apply to your classroom, we will do that in the next section. But But yeah, so that’s great. That is a I believe that’s also from our previous colleague. Right?

Unknown Speaker
Yeah. I think that’s Laura. Laura Taylor, Laura. You listening out there, you get a pin?

Unknown Speaker
Yes. Laura, we will send one out to you. Wonderful to, to hear from you. We miss you. And

Unknown Speaker
we’ll get to the practical parts in just a moment.

Unknown Speaker
Okay, so

Unknown Speaker
who’s gonna talk first, I’ll talk first. So now here’s we’ve got a little bit of a conflict here a conflict of interest, because we’re just talking about all these things, saying, Hey, you know, maybe there’s some different ways to approach these. And the first thing that I’m going to do is take you back to the, the, the classic charts here. And I hope that’s okay. Because again, I don’t think that there’s any one perfect answer. So it’s not to say throw everything out in the past. And you know, those types of things, there’s there are still really useful. Parts of those old charts that we’ve we’ve used traditionally in the field. And a couple of years ago, I put together this slideshow for my students, which talks about the different charts. And it’s kind of a well, it’s actually very strongly using the Azhar timeline chart to help students understand what’s going on. But what I’ve done here on this time chart is an E shell, I can I can show this to you on the screen, but everybody else can go grab either the gifts that will put into the show notes or, or the slideshow itself, you can make a copy for yourself to share with your students and to use. But basically, what I’ve done here is I’ve broken it down into different sections, so that the progressive forms all go together on that traditional timeline chart with the T line right with the arrow pointing to the left and the arrow pointing to the right. But what happens here is when the students can look at these together, and when I click through on the you know, on the slides to go from one slide to the next really quickly, then they can see that for example, in the progressive aspect. They’re all the exact same thing just slid down the line from one direction to another. So when I’m talking about the present progressive on the traditional timeline axis, you’ve got you know, the the exes marking the time is right now and then you might say something like Professor Warner is grading papers right now, you’ve got another x in the past and that and then you’ve got an arrow that kind of moves along and helps the students see okay, that started in the past, it’s going through now and it might continue into the future, right. And so that’s my my present progressive form. But then you can take that same exact shape, right, that same exact arrow the two markers of time, and you can drop it down into you can drop it backwards in the line, and you can say, Hey, now the sentence becomes Professor one Was grading papers when his students knocked on the door. But everything shifts exactly in the same way, it just slides left on the timeline. And so you can see that there’s a relationship either between now and the the, the progressive event, or the the second activity and the progressive event. Or if you move into the future, the same thing, you can slide it all the way up, and you would say, hey, you would mark it between the future imagined activity and the the progressive activity that’s happening there. So all of this is to say, this is not new, new information for any teachers. But when students can see that visualization of the arrows and the and everything sliding along the chart, and not really changing anything, but just just moving, then it becomes easy for them to visualize what the aspect itself in this case, progressive actually does. Because they can see the language, they can see the colors, I highlight the verb in orange, for example, and I highlight the secondary verb in green so they can see where that’s moving, and where that language is changing. But the rest of it is pretty much the same. Does that make sense?

Unknown Speaker
It made really good sense when you showed it to me when, because I had never conceptualized it that way. I’m been very traditional with my whiteboard and, you know, drawing the timelines. But when you see the movement, the actual movement, and that that’s like almost automatic movement, right? The students can see that they can understand it better. So yeah,

Unknown Speaker
yeah. So if you’re listening, what are you talking about Brent, just jump over to the show notes. So you can go take a look at it. Like I said, we’re putting up some stuff. So you can quickly see how those move. And then you can show that you can steal the slideshow, and you can show your own students how they move in relationship to one another.

Unknown Speaker
Yeah. So I think, to add a little bit of video to that. I thought that it would be great to have students recreate the timeline. So we’ve all done done those timelines, right. But maybe have the students recreate the timeline events with something that they’re describing. And then they’re recording it on spark video. So now they’re not only just recreating the timeline, but they’re also creating sentences, but not just synthesis, an event like a whole event right from start to finish. That’s one way to incorporate their speaking. And also, of course, they’ll be practicing and writing it over and over before they record.

Brent Warner
You know, I’m going to stop you here Ixchell because you’re talking about this. And I agree, spark video is a great way to do that. And there could be a lot of fun things in there. But I’m also thinking about thinglink might be a cool thing to do it with right? Have you know,

Ixchell Reyes
I’ve only seen people’s thinglink. But I’ve never used it myself.

Brent Warner
So basically what it is, is you can upload an image, and then you choose hotspots on that image. And then you can do interactive materials with that, right? So you could say, hey, if it’s going to be on somebody’s eye, and you click on the eye, then it could open up to a website that talks about the eye or it could open up to a YouTube video that explains what the eye is, or whatever it is. But you could also do this theoretically, you could create a timeline and just say, hey, past, present future or whatever, yours or whatever that information is. And then you could have students go in and they could create different points on the timeline. And they could record their voice as the actual thing. Like.

Ixchell Reyes
Okay, I’m sorry, you want

Brent Warner
to run this at you blind right now?

Ixchell Reyes
Well, no, I just don’t know. thinglink

Brent Warner
didn’t know No, I’m just throwing it out as an idea. And just, you know, you got me thinking about that. Because the idea of a timeline. There’s just different ways with all these cool technology. And it doesn’t you know, thinglink is not a new thing, right? It’s been?

Unknown Speaker
I know, Susan Gaer’s been using it. And that’s all I know, because she always shares her thing links.

Brent Warner
Yeah, it’s great. And so, uh, so it’s, it’s got a lot of potential for isolating ideas inside of a bigger idea, which is a lot of what verb tenses and what we’re talking about today kind of line up with. So sorry to steal your, your, your, your idea, yourwhat’s your next idea.

Ixchell Reyes
Another thing that teachers can do is, is give students a photo of an event. And this could be a real event, like a news story, or it could be a made up event. So it could be an image from a textbook, or just, it could even be a GIF of sorry, a GIF. And then you could have — you can have the students report what’s going on in the event using flipgrid. And now you can have an Of course with the new flipgrid integrations or the new flipgrid update. You can have students do a news report where we’ve had do that right? summarize this article and tell us about it in the past, because of course, we’re wanting them to practice the past. But now you can have them report it in several tenses using flipgrid. And of course, you can, you can go in many directions with this.

Brent Warner
Yeah, there’s all sorts of cool things that you could do inside of flipgrid, for sure. And I was thinking, I’m not sure if we could do this in flipgrid. Or if you would do this with just a screen recorder of some sort. But the idea of like having students riff where you provide them with a clip from a TV show, like a sitcom, some kind of silly looking clip, right, and then they could basically narrate what’s going on in different verb tenses, too, right? So you could say, Hey, here’s a, here’s a clip from, you know, whatever it is, they’re beans for being Yeah. So. So you give them a blank clip from Mr. Bean, and then their job is to narrate what’s happening, but you could choose the tenses that you want them to talk in, right. So you could say, okay, talk about this in the past, right. And then, and then they could actually just talk about this, oh, he was, you know, sticking his head in the oven when a or he stuck his head in the oven, and they, you know, a turkey landed on his head or something like that, right. But then you can also shift those around and talk about, okay, now, she talked about the relationship between those two things. So you could, you could continue to have them record over and over on top of that, they would narrate on top of the video actually happening. So as a screen recorder could do that, pretty straightforward. And I think that that would be a lot of fun for the students too. And then you could also say, you know, challenge them to go find great clips on YouTube, that they are going to share with their classmates and say, you have to make one for this. And I’ll make one for one that you make or something, you know, so again, that student engagement, where it’s like they’re doing the work, not you doing the work, but they they understand what the the framework of the language is around that.

Ixchell Reyes
Yes, that sounds like a lot of fun.

Brent Warner
Yeah. And then one other one that I was thinking about too, is like podcasting or audio recording where with storytelling, you know, so many people have their classic stories from their countries and from their cultures. And it’s a really good opportunity with verb tenses to tell those stories in English, right? So if they’ve got their classic, you know, in Japan, like the story of Momo toto or something like that, it’s like, just tell us that story and tell it to us in past tense, right? And and what is that story? And what is the traditional story and we learn a little bit about the culture, we have an opportunity to practice with the language. And then you know, you could turn that into like, a cool class podcast where you get to hear a little bit of the cultural history of over Yeah, from your, from your, from your classmates, and things like that. So I thought there might be a lot of fun ways to play with that as well. And get them engaged, especially if you’re dealing with more like intermediate or lower levels, because they’re more comfortable with those stories from their language. But they they’re starting to practice being able to talk about them in English, too.

Ixchell Reyes
Right? Right.

Brent Warner
So there’s a handful of things. Hopefully, they’re practical, hopefully useful for you guys. Again, check the show notes and we’ll have links to anything that we can have there for you.

Ixchell Reyes
All right, it is time for our fun finds. And today I have a non tech item. Okay. These are the cinnamon Jolly Ranchers. And I don’t know if you knew that Dolly renter’s came in cinnamon flavor, but they do and I love spicy things. So I bought a giant bag of cinnamon dollar enters and instead of drinking coffee on my long drives, I just pop like three or four in my mouth. They keep me awake, but they’re cheap and they’re not very high in calories. So cinnamon Jolly Ranchers.

Brent Warner
So you ate a whole bag of cinnamon Jolly Ranchers?

Ixchell Reyes
Say like a third of the bag

Brent Warner
all right so mine is the soda stream. This is not a new thing that’s been around for a while but I’ve been wanting one for a couple of years and never really wanting to buy it for myself. And then my birthday came up recently and the only way I forgot about it the only person who remembered my birthday was my wife. So thank you, darlin’.

Ixchell Reyes
Happy belated Birthday, Brent!

Brent Warner
But I got I got a I got a SodaStream but I love it. It’s great. So you know it’s it’s again, it’s not a new thing but you put the water in it. You push a button and it carbonates the water for you. So if you like those drinks like Lacroix or whatever, it just gives you a bubbly water right away and I’m great with just the plain or nothing special but you can also like drop in action. have pieces of fruit into it to make it a little bit more flavored and things like that. And so SodaStream is a much healthier choice. Yeah, it’s much, much better than, you know, going and buying a 12 pack of coke or anything. So cool. So to stream it is.

Ixchell Reyes
All right, thank you so much for listening to the show. If you’d like to have a chance at one of our one of a kind DIESOL pens, leave us a review on Apple podcasts. And if you’re giving us a shout out any other way, tag us on social media, and we’ll we’ll maybe you might win,

Brent Warner
right? So if you want show notes or to listen to other episodes, please go check out diesel.org and of course we are happy to be part of the voice Ed Canada network. And so if you want to check out other shows that are similar or education based, go to vo ic ed.ca. You can also follow us on Twitter. We are on actually we’re on many different things, but Twitter is one of them. So you can find the show at @DIESOLpod. You can find me at Brent g Warner.

Ixchell Reyes
And you can find me shell at Ixy underscore Pixy that’s I x y underscore p i x y

Brent Warner
and Ixchell I guess we should mention this too, because you’ve opened up a couple other places

Ixchell Reyes
TikTok! we got a TikTok! We got a TikTok!

Unknown Speaker
We’re also on Facebook, too right? So, Facebook. TikTok a few other places. Yeah, we’re we’re there. You’re so unexcited Why are you only excited about TikTok

Ixchell Reyes
TikTok… cuz you’re finally on there and you said you would never I’m not on there at all. You’re on there.

Brent Warner
Anyways if you want to see Ixchell. flossing, you can go watch her talk in Vietnamese Thank you Is gum in so gum for tuning into the DIESOL podcast.

Ixchell Reyes
Thank you. See you next time.

What are some of the challenges students face when learning verb tenses? In what order should teachers present the tenses? In this episode, we explore what some experts in the field recommend and we offer some practical ideas as to apply them.

RESOURCES

Tech Applications

Brent’s Slides:

Notice the “progressive” part of the chart moves equally up and down the timeline, showing students that it serves the same functional purpose regardless of *when* you are talking about it.

View the whole slideshow:

Want a copy of this slideshow?

Adobe Spark

Thinglink

Flipgrid

FUN FINDS

Ixchell: Cinnamon Jolly Ranchers

Brent: Soda Stream

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