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How do you teach the Present Perfect?

 
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Privateer



Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Location: Easy Street.

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:53 am    Post subject: How do you teach the Present Perfect? Reply with quote

Teaching the concept of 'Have you ever...?' questions is a breeze and it works naturally as a conversation starter.

Teaching other uses of the Present Perfect isn't quite so straightforward. Grammar exercises aren't too hard to find or come up with, although even there I still find the concept confusing (for unfinished time...but also for finished activity?). But how do you work the contrast between Simple Past and Present Perfect into a good naturalistic conversation activity?

I'm ashamed to admit I've been teaching a long time but still don't have this down - it just doesn't come up much with most of my classes being low intermediate level. And to raise them to intermediate, they really need to learn it.

Ideas, anyone?
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YTMND



Joined: 16 Jan 2012
Location: You're the man now dog!!

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is it finished or not? If finished, past, if not present perfect (add flavor).
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edwardcatflap



Joined: 22 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most course books deal with biographies of living people. E.g. Steven Spielberg has directed 50 films, he made jaws in 1974 etc....get them to make notes about famous Korean celebrities and tell their partner about them using a mix of tenses. Park Ji Sung has played for two English football
Teams, he joined QPR in 2012. Or combine the ' have you ever'? questions with further questions in the simple past to get specific details.

A) Have you ever.....?
B) Yes I have/no I haven't
A) When did you......?/ Where did you etc....?
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The Cosmic Hum



Joined: 09 May 2003
Location: Sonic Space

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:08 am    Post subject: Re: How do you teach the Present Perfect? Reply with quote

Privateer wrote:
Teaching the concept of 'Have you ever...?' questions is a breeze and it works naturally as a conversation starter.

Teaching other uses of the Present Perfect isn't quite so straightforward. Grammar exercises aren't too hard to find or come up with, although even there I still find the concept confusing (for unfinished time...but also for finished activity?). But how do you work the contrast between Simple Past and Present Perfect into a good naturalistic conversation activity?

I'm ashamed to admit I've been teaching a long time but still don't have this down - it just doesn't come up much with most of my classes being low intermediate level. And to raise them to intermediate, they really need to learn it.

Ideas, anyone?

Just a quick question.
Are you specifically referring to the contrast between Simple Past and Present Perfect Simple?
I made sandwiches. (The are ready to eat.)
vs
I have made sandwiches before. (I have done this at least one time in my life)
vs
I have made the sandwiches
( perhaps just 5 minutes ago and now they are ready to eat.)
This difference?

Or do you also mean the to include the contrast between Simple Past and Present Perfect Simple and Continuous?
I made sandwiches. (finished activity)
I have made sandwiches before. (ability - experience)
I have been making sandwiches all day. (I have been making sandwiches all day, but still haven't finished yet.)
vs
I have been making sandwiches since I was a child. (experiential referencing)
That kind of thing?

This is actually quite a complex topic and well worth bringing up.
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T-J



Joined: 10 Oct 2008
Location: Seoul EunpyungGu Yonshinnae

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Explaining the difference between simple past and present perfect can be tough especially to Korean students because they don't have an equivilent in Korean and really have to rely on just understanding the English.

I start by explaining this to get them into an acceptance state rather than a translate one.

Next I explain that one of the times we use the present perfect is when the state of things is more important than the when or how they were completed. For those details we revert back to the past tense. Can we just use the past tense? Yes, but present perfect places emphasis on the situation.

Examples: Have you eaten lunch? (Asking what the present situation is, when and what aren't important). Contrast with, When (What) did you eat?
* I contrast this with the past tense in this situation and show the have roughly the same meaning.

Other uses of p.p. are easier.

Something we have done many times or continuously and continue to do.

Examples: I've studied English for (since)...
* I again contrast this with the past tense in this situation to show they have different meaning.

Something we have (not) experienced in the past.

Example: I've (never) been to Jejudo.

Again the last two are easier to explain. The first is what I believe you were asking about.
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scorpiocandy



Joined: 27 Feb 2008

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I start with the basic instance in which we use the tense to explain the structure.
I draw a timeline of my life from age "zero" to age today. On the timeline I mark certain times with a year and place the event there. "I went to Spain in 2008". Simple past.

Then I remove the dates but leave the events. "I have been in Spain" (some time in my life but nobody knows when exactly).
Once they understand the basic concept and structure, I add the details.

I've found this to be the most effective way to get them started on it.
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SMOE NSET



Joined: 25 Feb 2010
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

scorpiocandy: That is a great idea! I will use that the next time I teach the P.P.

I would then follow up with the "Have you ever..." icebreaker game. The students try to find as many students that have done the experiences on the worksheet in 5 minutes. "Have you ever gone to Europe?" "Have you ever gone scuba diving?" etc.
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YTMND



Joined: 16 Jan 2012
Location: You're the man now dog!!

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem I encounter with students is they can imagine an event and when you ask, "Have you ever___?", they will say "yes" regardless if they have done it before or not in their personal life.

So, I ask "Did you ___?" which is a intermediate step to "Have you ever___?"

It finished. Then you ask several questions to show contrast.

Did you eat breakfast today? (change to lunch if they are not breakfast eaters)

Did you eat breakfast yesterday?

So, you have eaten breakfast (1 time / 2 times) this week?

If they look up when you say "this week" go over other days to get a total.

Add word cards like: drink coffee/tea, classes (in a day), work (hours / days), brush teeth (in a day or week)

Add other words which relate to longer periods: movies (in the past few months, travel (within the past year), shopping (maybe something expensive like a cell phone)
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scorpiocandy



Joined: 27 Feb 2008

PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SMOE NSET wrote:
scorpiocandy: That is a great idea! I will use that the next time I teach the P.P.

I would then follow up with the "Have you ever..." icebreaker game. The students try to find as many students that have done the experiences on the worksheet in 5 minutes. "Have you ever gone to Europe?" "Have you ever gone scuba diving?" etc.


Thanks Smile
It's actually one of my favourite sections. I found a really fun exercise online and I've modified it a bit to practice the distinction between simple past and PP.
They love it too
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Privateer



Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Location: Easy Street.

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:22 am    Post subject: Re: How do you teach the Present Perfect? Reply with quote

Thanks for the responses. Like the idea, scorpiocandy. The only thing is that's basically responses to the 'Have you ever...?' question, referring to past experience at no specific time, but I want to move from that to other (albeit related) uses of the Present Perfect.

The grammar books most often say it's used with unfinished time (e.g. 'this week' as pointed out) or when there's a connection between the past and the present or for finished action. It's also used with 'since' or 'for' to express duration of time of an activity or state, but I feel that's reasonably straightforward, whereas this idea of 'connection between past and present' seems a bit too vague to me.

For instance, if you arrive a bit late at the cinema you would naturally say 'Has the movie started?' rather than 'Did the movie start?' (or would Americans would feel equally comfortable with either, the way they're fine with saying 'Did you have lunch?' that same afternoon?). Is this because the beginning period of the movie (previews, ads, opening credits, actual start) is assumed to be an unfinished time period at this point?

If a student doing an exercise raises their hand and says 'I've finished', it's completed action within a time period that started in the past but is not yet over. If a ticket seller says 'The movie has started', it's completed action, but what about the unfinished time period? Are we conceptualizing this as an allotted time within which the movie could have started or might not have if there had been a few more ads perhaps?

Once this concept is straightened out, it needs to be turned into an accuracy practice exercise in which students can clearly distinguish between two kinds of situations. And then they need a meaningful conversation activity in which to use it.

The Cosmic Hum wrote:

Just a quick question.
Are you specifically referring to the contrast between Simple Past and Present Perfect Simple?
I made sandwiches. (The are ready to eat.)
vs
I have made sandwiches before. (I have done this at least one time in my life)
vs
I have made the sandwiches
( perhaps just 5 minutes ago and now they are ready to eat.)
This difference?

Or do you also mean the to include the contrast between Simple Past and Present Perfect Simple and Continuous?
I made sandwiches. (finished activity)
I have made sandwiches before. (ability - experience)
I have been making sandwiches all day. (I have been making sandwiches all day, but still haven't finished yet.)
vs
I have been making sandwiches since I was a child. (experiential referencing)
That kind of thing?

This is actually quite a complex topic and well worth bringing up.


I'm referring to the contrast between Present Perfect Simple and Past Simple to begin with, but we can certainly get into Present Perfect Continuous after that. I actually feel PPC might be easier to teach, since it's used when the effect of the continuous activity is still clearly visible or felt.
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I'm With You



Joined: 01 Sep 2011

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

T-J wrote:

Explaining the difference between simple past and present perfect can be tough especially to Korean students because they don't have an equivilent in Korean and really have to rely on just understanding the English.

I start by explaining this to get them into an acceptance state rather than a translate one.

Next I explain that one of the times we use the present perfect is when the state of things is more important than the when or how they were completed. For those details we revert back to the past tense. Can we just use the past tense? Yes, but present perfect places emphasis on the situation.

Examples: Have you eaten lunch? (Asking what the present situation is, when and what aren't important). Contrast with, When (What) did you eat?
* I contrast this with the past tense in this situation and show the have roughly the same meaning.

Other uses of p.p. are easier.

Something we have done many times or continuously and continue to do.

Examples: I've studied English for (since)...
* I again contrast this with the past tense in this situation to show they have different meaning.

Something we have (not) experienced in the past.

Example: I've (never) been to Jejudo.

Again the last two are easier to explain. The first is what I believe you were asking about.


Good ideas here.

Such threads are always useful and interesting to see how others teach these concepts.
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OneWayTraffic



Joined: 14 Mar 2005

PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This thread needs dating tips or something to keep it on the front page.

Good advice. I struggled with the various perfect tenses for ages. Koreans just don't get them naturally. I once told my advanced students that it's like the many distinctions that they have about family members and relationships. We got into an interesting conversation about relative importances between cultures.
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