Personal pronouns (I, you, he, me, her, etc.) are key elements of fluent communication, and yet they are easily confused. Students can be overwhelmed if the whole personal pronoun system is presented all at once, especially if the possessives are thrown in. As research by Paul Nation suggests, teaching too many similar language elements at the same time can cause confusion as students struggle to store them together yet differentiate among them. Furthermore, it’s hard to practice the whole system because we rarely use all the personal pronouns in one context.
Practice Makes Perfect
Nevertheless, practice them we must. Students have to keep using them to get better. The exercise in the downloadable below offers a way to ease into the system and practice it in stages. It involves volunteers in a pantomime to create frames to which learners can attach personal pronouns. It promotes differentiated mental storage by employing visual images and narratives in the mime sequence.
The activity is done as a game to increase motivation and speed. Students work in small groups to help each other with the task, and there is a feedback session in which errors are clarified before the practice continues. In addition, because the task is contextualized, students practice with verb tenses and other basic grammatical features.