The paper deals with one of the possible ways of teaching Russian grammar to beginners. The method is inspired by the cognitive approach to language that assumes that the main function of language is to express reality by means of a particular system of verbal forms and structures. Every language segments reality differently, depending on its language-specific grammatical and lexical forms. However, there are some basic logical concepts that underlie essential sentence patterns even in non-related languages such as English and Russian.
My experience in teaching Russian to English language speakers shows that if students are explained what kind of logical relation is reflected by this or that sentence pattern before they start practicing it in various communicative situations, it will considerably enhance the grammatical accuracy of their communication. It will also build up their confidence in using these patterns in order to elicit all kinds of information about the speech situation.
The paper will focus on an analysis of three most frequent sentence patterns that express identification, action, and state. I will present the analysis of these sentences in the form of comprehesive Orientation Tables and explain the advantages of this method for classroom teaching. The presentation of grammatical patterns in this type of table helps students to visualize the whole system of correspondences between the logical and grammatical structures involved. Moreover, the English equivalents of the Russian sentences included in the Tables allow the students to identify differences and similarities in the ways of expressing the same grammatical concept in these two languages.
In an interactive way, I will demonstrate how grammatical Orientation Tables can be used in classroom teaching as a) a conceptual framework before practicing a certain sentence pattern in narrative, descriptive and interactive communicative contexts, and b) as a reference point for monitoring and self-correction in the process of speech production.