What would be the pros and cons of teaching the Present Continuous before the Simple Present of main verbs?
As every teacher and foreign learner of English knows, courses and course books usually introduce the Simple Present of main verbs before the Present Continuous. In other words, students learn to speak first about regular habits, repeated actions, general truths and actual facts long before they can describe a concrete scene.
Here are some arguments:
ONE very strong argument in favor of Simple Present FIRST:
- The Simple Present has more social or practical relevance than the Present Continuous: It helps in initial basic conversation when we introduce ourselves and listen to others do so.
What speaks in favour of Present Continuous FIRST:
- 1) The Present Continuous can build on a grammatical structure that students are usually taught explicitly from the very beginning: the Simple Present of the verb "be".
From a learner's point of view, the transition from Simple Present "be" to Present Continuous structures is a lot easier. All they need to do is learn new verbs and add "-ing" to their base form.
- 2) Presenting an actual, present situation is a lot easier than eliciting the concepts of habitual and repetitive action as well as general truths - especially with young learners. You simply present scenes.
- 3) You avoid learners from mixing structures and being confused as they learn the Simple Present. Many automatically translate from their L1 simple tense (where the present tense very often allows to talk about a present situation - unlike English)
Do you know of good arguments that would support such an inverted approach?
Has this been tried in the past?
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find out anything about this.