In this unit we are going discuss how to each grammar. Although grammar is usually integrated with the teaching of other language components, we still consider it necessary to introduce ways to “focus on form”. We will mainly talk about the following:
1. The role of grammar in ELT
2. Materials for grammar presentation
3. Methods for grammar practice
Definition of grammar and grammar knowledge.
Grammar is a system of language. It is also one of the most difficult aspect to teach well. We can define grammar as a description of rules for forming sentences including any kind these forms convey.
T F D
1. Grammar describes the rules of how the language produces sentences;
2. Grammar describes the mainstream language norm;
3. Grammar studies the construction of written sentences;
4. “ Academics”, “teachers” and “Learners” grammars are the same
5. Sentences can be either grammatically correct or not;
6. Bi- lingual exercises have no place in teaching grammar
7. In teaching grammar the rules should come first and the examples should follow;
8. Rules explain the language in the best possible way;
9. Drill is the way to mastering grammar.
Grammar knowledge is divided into:
2. procedural knowledge
Declarative - Is what can be demonstrated as the knowledge of rules and/or examples.
Procedural knowledge - is what can be applied in the process of communication.
2) Deductive approach:
A)notion of the rule;
ü Deductive teaching is a more traditional form of teaching.
ü In deductive teaching you typically provide information (lecture), share specific examples of the concept or skill being taught, then, allow students to practice the skill being taught.
ü This is a more teacher-centered model of teaching that is rule driven.
ü Some of the positives of this method are that it is time saving and gets to the point of the lesson easily.
1. Time - saving;
2. Respects the intelligence;
3. Confirms learner’s expectations;
4. Allows teacher to deal with language points as they come up;
Advantages of a deductive approach:
1. It gets straight to the point, and can therefore be time-saving. Many rules — especially rules of form — can be more simply and quickly explained than elicited from examples. This will allow more time for practice and application.
2. It respects the intelligence and maturity of many - especially adult -students, and acknowledges the role of cognitive processes in language acquisition.
3. It confirms many students' expectations about classroom learning, particularly for those learners who have an analytical learning style.
4. It allows the teacher to deal with language points as they come up, rather than having to anticipate them and prepare for them in advance.
1.Maybe off – putting for students;
2.Learners may have not sufficient metalanguage;
3.Teacher – centered; at the expense of student involvement;
4.Explanation is seldom memorable;
5.Belief: language is a case of knowing rules;
Disadvantages of a deductive approach:
1. Starting the lesson with a grammar presentation may be off-putting for some students, especially younger ones. They may not have sufficient metalanguage (i.e. language used to talk about language such as grammar terminology). Or they may not be able to understand the concepts involved.
2. Grammar explanation encourages a teacher-fronted, transmission-style classroom; teacher explanation is often at the expense of student involvement and interaction.
3. Explanation is seldom as memorable as other forms of presentation, such as demonstration. Such an approach encourages the belief that learning a language is simply a case of knowing the rules.
Notion of the rule - Rule is a principle or order which guides behavior.
A good rule:
Truth: Rules should be true. While truthfulness may need to be compromised in the interests of clarity and simplicity, the rule must bear some resemblance to the reality it is describing.
• Limitation: Rules should show clearly what the limits are on the use of a given form. For example, to say simply that we use will to talk about the future is of little use to the learner since it doesn't show how will is different from other ways of talking about the future (e.g. going to).
• Clarity: Rules should be clear. Lack of clarity is often caused by ambiguity or obscure terminology. For example: 'Use will for spontaneous decisions; use going to for premeditated decisions.' To which a student responded, 'All my decisions are premeditated'.
• Simplicity: Rules should be simple. Lack of simplicity is caused by overburdening the rule with sub-categories and sub-sub-categories in order to cover all possible instances and account for all possible exceptions. There is a limit to the amount of exceptions a learner can remember.
• Familiarity: An explanation should try to make use of concepts already familiar to the learner. Few learners have specialised knowledge of grammar, although they may well be familiar with some basic terminology used to describe the grammar of their own language (e.g. conditional, infinitive, gerund). Most learners have a concept of tense (past, present, future), but will be less at home with concepts such as deontic and epistemic modality, for example.
• Relevance: A rule should answer only those questions that the student needs answered. These questions may vary according to the mother tongue of the learner. For example, Arabic speakers, who do not have an equivalent to the present perfect, may need a different treatment of this form than, say, French speakers, who have a similar structure to the English present perfect, but who use it slightly differently.
b)classification of the rule.
Types of rules:
Prescriptive rule– says how things are to be done.
Descriptive rule– the usual way that something happens.
Pedagogic rules– they make sense to learners and provide them with the means and confidence to generate language with a reasonable chance of success.
Examples of prescriptive rules:
Do not use different to and never use different than. Always use different from.
Never use the passive when you can use the active.
Use shall for the first person and will for second and third persons.
Examples of descriptive rules:
You do not normally use the with proper nouns referring to people.
We use used to with the infinitive (used to do, used to smoke etc.) to say that something regularly happened in the past but no longer happens.
Example for rule of form:
To form the past simple of regular verbs, add –ed to the infinitive.
Example of a rule of use:
The simple past tense is used to indicate past actions or states.
3) Inductive approach:
ü Inductive teaching is a constructivist model of teaching that is more student-centered.
ü In inductive teaching first provide examples, then have students practice and figure out the rule themselves.
ü This method of teaching is more experiential and based on a guided discovery learning philosophy.
1) More likely to fit into existing mental structures.
5) Favours pattern – recognition abilities, problem – solving abilities.
6) Extra language practice if done collaboratively.
7) Conductive to learner autonomy.
What are the advantages of encouraging learners to work rules out for themselves?
o Rules learners discover for themselves are more likely to fit their existing mental structures than rules they have been presented with. This in turn will make the rules more meaningful, memorable, and serviceable.
o The mental effort involved ensures a greater degree of cognitive depth which, again, ensures greater memorability.
o Students are more actively involved in the learning process, rather than being simply passive recipients: they are therefore likely to be more attentive and more motivated.
o It is an approach which favours pattern-recognition and problem-solving abilities which suggests that it is particularly suitable for learners who like this kind of challenge.
o If the problem-solving is done collaboratively, and in the target language, learners get the opportunity for extra language practice.
o Working things out for themselves prepares students for greater self-reliance and is therefore conducive to learner autonomy.
1) Rules are not the objective of LL (language learning).
3) Danger of hypothesing the wrong rule.
4) Heavy demand on teachers- select and organize data.
5) Sometimes there is no rule formulation.
6) Often frustrating.
The disadvantages of an inductive approach include:
o The time and energy spent in working out rules may mislead students into believing that rules are the objective of language learning, rather than a means.
o The time taken to work out a rule may be at the expense of time spent in putting the rule to some sort of productive practice.
o Students may hypothesise the wrong rule, or their version of the rule may be either too broad or too narrow in its application: this is especially a danger where there is no overt testing of their hypotheses, either through practice examples, or by eliciting an explicit statement of the rule.
o It can place heavy demands on teachers in planning a lesson. They need to select and organise the data carefully so as to guide learners to an accurate formulation of the rule, while also ensuring the data is intelligible.
o However carefully organised the data is, many language areas such as aspect and modality resist easy rule formulation.
o An inductive approach frustrates students who, by dint of their personal learning style or their past learning experience (or both), would prefer simply to be told the rule.