Advanced Grammar and Scratch at EF – Education First by Jasmin B. Cowin


Advanced Grammar is a University Preparation (UP) course offered on a rolling basis at the University Preparation Program. The UP program prepares students for successful entry into US Universities and Colleges.


Course Description
Advanced Grammar and Scratch: 2 blocks at 80 minutes per week plus 15 minutes/monthly individual conferences.

This course introduces students to Advanced Grammar and Grammar-Based Teaching (GBT) and Scratch, block-based coding with a focus on the concept that the English language consists of predictable patterns of what we see, hear, speak and read. GBT helps learners discover the nature of language where students gain an understanding of Grammar concepts such as subordination and coordination; nouns and adjectives, subjects and verbs, clauses and phrases. Scratch, a block based, free coding program introduces computational and pattern thinking, analyzing subroutines, debugging, working in sequence, and creating unique projects. It is the most accessible tool teaching computational thinking for the modern problem solver. The Scratch component will introduce fundamental concepts of block-based programming, including variables and assignment, sequential execution, selection, repetition, control abstraction, and data organization.

Grammar is important not only for exemplary TOEIC, TOEFL, and SAT scores but also for “native” fluency and expression.

Course Goals
Learning Objectives
By the end of this course, students will be able to:

Think critically and analytically about language, rather than simply memorizing rules and lists
Analyze grammatical structures already studied
Recognize peripheral and borderline cases that are “exceptions to rules.”
Learn the procedures by which one can test one’s own grammatical hypotheses – or guesses – about language
Determine and understand the source of personal language difficulties
Make effective language choices
Parse and/or diagram sentences to prove that use dictates meaning
Identify the class to which a word belongs by using its form and function
Describe and explain a particular element of contemporary English in such a way that it is understandable and accessible to a universal audience by developing an online Scratch game.
Differentiate between the surface and deep structure meanings of word groups and parts of a sentence
Use fundamental concepts of block-based programming, including variables and assignment, sequential execution, selection, repetition, control abstraction, and data organization.
Create a unique Scratch presentation focused on one grammar point

Special Teacher Resources:

Grammar for the REAL classroom

Azar teacher resources



As a teacher and facilitator, I establish learning communities where we come to learn with each other and from each other in a collaborative process. Collaborative processes give rise to vibrant cultures of growth and development with the result of a harvest of student achievement filled with a growth mindset, mental flexibility, curiosity, risk taking and intrinsic motivation.  My approach to teaching is student-centered with the aim to open the doors of knowledge not only empirically but emotionally as well.  

By integrating Scratch and computational thinking into my Grammar course, I believe students will gain metacognitive process thinking which transcends route learning. Through computational thinking and exposure to Scratch students will learn to think recursively; reformulate a seemingly difficult problem into one which they know how to solve; reduct, embed, transform, and simulate; abstract and decompose by tackling a large complex task.

The notion of “literacy” was originally used to designate the ability to read and write, but its meaning was gradually extended. For example, UNESCO has used a wider definition, redefined by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) Consortium in 2006 (focusing on scientific literacy) to introduce the idea of knowledge use and transfer and its applications to life situations, problem solving, and influencing decision-making processes as an indispensable part of subject competence. This knowledge application is not limited to subject-internal questions and not even to school-related issues, but extends to any future problem in life and any new learning situation.”  

Technology is changing the context of education. Cultivating digital literacy is an important part of any L2 course. In today’s workplace, digital literacy is essential. But teaching and learning should go beyond access to basic tools. Students must learn to apply digital resources to creatively solve problems, produce innovative projects, and enhance communications to prepare for a career in any field. This grammar course encourages a dialogue between technological tools, computational thinking – Scratch and students to achieve grammatical and scientific literacy.

Scientific Literacy  

“is composed of at least three different areas of competence, namely knowledge (linked to language and epistemological competence), action (in terms of learning competence, procedural, communicative and social competence) and evaluation (aesthetic and ethical/moral competence). Based on this understanding of scientific literacy, the notion has developed across all subjects of a basic set of knowledge in a certain domain, of knowledge application, and a willingness to appropriate and follow the logic of each domain respectively. In that perspective, subject literacy becomes part of what is called Bildung in German, because the knowledge, skills, and attitudes, once acquired, can be linked and used in many different ways, while at the same time forming the material basis for individual development. This generalized notion of literacy in all subjects can help us understand the broad scope of what is meant by a “quality education” and particularly the role of language as a constitutive part of subject competence.”

The Experiential Learning Philosophy and authentic learning in a student-centered classroom are the cornerstones of my educational approach.  My primary goals in teaching writing are:  First, increasing students’ metacognitive awareness so that they better understand themselves as learners and enable students to take responsibility for their learning. Second, providing a clear lesson structure with objectives and aims for students. Third, improving students’ understanding of, and ability to use English accurately in speaking, writing and reading. My overarching goal is to develop communicative competence and modern problem-solving skills.

Author: drcowinj

As an Assistant Professor for TESOL and Bilingual Programs at Touro College, Graduate School of Education Dr. Cowin’s focus is on the Responsibility to Touro Students (Teaching), Responsibility to the Discipline (Scholarship), Responsibility to Touro College and Community (Service). Dr. Cowin strives to inspire students to be creative and to model the love of lifelong learning by inculcating the habits and attitudes that create agile mindsets. 21st-century learning extends well beyond the classroom, and Dr. Cowin incorporates takes full advantage of online learning technologies for L2 language acquisition and current global trends in teaching English as a Second Language She represents high levels of scholarship and participates fully in the larger world of TESOL academic discipline. Ongoing research, expressed in scholarly contributions to the advancement of knowledge is demonstrated through publication, presentation and participation in academic conferences, articles in Education Update, blogging and other scholarly activities, including public performances or exhibitions at conferences and workshops such as the Plekhanov University of Economics keynote address in 2018. Of special interest to her are The Blockchain of Things and its implications for Higher Education, Current Global Trends in Teaching English; Developing Materials and Resources in Teaching English – Methodology; E-learning & Micro-Methodology in Teaching English; and E-Resources Discovery and Analysis.

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