Topics Attitudes toward grammar Definitions Historical Influence of theories and approaches to grammar methods Description of recent approaches and methods Importance of learning grammar Issues about how to teach grammar
Why teach Grammar?
Attitudes against Grammar ‘Knowing grammar rules do not imply effective use of a target language.’ (Stephen Krashen, applied linguist) ‘Grammar is not very important: The majority of languages have a very complex grammar. English has little grammar and consequently it is not very important to understand it.’ (From the publicity of a London language school) ‘Grammar is not the basis of language acquisition, and the balance of linguistic research clearly invalidates any view to the contrary.’ (Michael Lewis, a popular writer on teaching methods)
Attitudes in Favor to Grammar: The study of grammar will help… students score better on standardized tests that include grammar, usage, and punctuation. people master the socially prestigious conventions of spoken and/or written usage. people become better users of the language, that is, more effective as listeners and speakers, and especially as readers and writers. (Constance Weaver. Teaching Grammar in Context)
Definitions of Grammar It means a description of the syntactic structures and “rules” of a language, as well as the actual structures and patterns, that is, the ability to understand and use a language and its structures. It can also refer to the study of the structures of a language. (Constance Weaver, Teaching Grammar in Context) It is the speakers’ knowledge of the rules of a language. (Noam Chomsky)
Basic Definitions What´s an approach? What´s a method? What’s a procedure?
Approach -A theory of the nature of language proficiency. -An account of the basic units of language structure. -A theory of the nature of language learning -An account of the psycholinguistic and cognitive processes involved in language learning. -An account of the conditions that allow for successful use of these processes.
Method The general and specific objectives of the method A syllabus model Types of learning and teaching activities Learner roles Teacher roles The role of instructional materials
Procedure Classroom techniques, practices, and behaviors observed when the model is used.
Historical Perspectives for Teaching Grammar Theories: Comparison of languages with Latin and Greek (From XVI to XVIII century) Structural or descriptive linguistics and behaviorist psychology (From XIX to snd. quarter of XX century) Transformational Generative Grammar and Cognitive Approaches (From s) Methods: Traditional Grammar: Study of eight parts of speech and rules for their translation. Audiolingual method: Formal grammar explanation of sentences. Teaching by drills and repetition. Cognitive methods: Formal grammar instruction with the goal of developing learners’ analytical linguistic skills.
Limitations Traditional grammar: Parts of speech study is not effective to analyze languages where word order and syntax determine grammatical function. Audiolingual method: It did not consider the meaning and use of the expressions, It did not explain the language acquisition process and, It did not consider language creativity.
Limitations Cognitive methods: predominance of syntax over meaning, focus on linguistic competence and, no consideration of the real production of sentences (performance).
Functional Approaches: Contributors Halliday: Systemic-Functional Grammar (1973) Hymes: Communicative Competence (1972) Krashen: Monitor Theory (1980s) Jakobson: Functions of Language (1974)
Communicative Language Teaching and Humanistic Approaches Assumption: Learners acquire the language forms and vocabulary naturally. Communicative activities: Learners receive positive feelings toward the instructional process. Learners are the center of the process. o Meaning is paramount. o Contextualization is a basic premise. o Communicative competence is the desired goal.
Interaction for Grammar Learning L2 output depends on the learner’s linguistic and other communicative skills. L2 entails an ability to comprehend and to produce comprehensible output. The learner’s output is congruent with target language norms.
Focus on Form It combines formal instruction and communicative language use. The learners will be able to recognize the properties of target structures in context and develop accuracy in their use.
Noticing and Consciousness Raising (Focus on Form) Awareness of a particular feature is developed by: Instruction Input enhancement Formal grammar instruction may be more relevant for EFL learners.
Learning Process (Focus on Form) Learner’s consciousness of a target feature Learner’s noticing the feature in subsequent input Learner’s development of implicit knowledge Learner’s use of new form (testing and correction)
Discourse-Based Approaches Discourse analysis examines contextual uses of language structure and investigates what speakers do to express meaning in various interactional settings. Many of these analyses can inform L2 grammar teaching about speakers’ variation of linguistic structures depending on context, and be used in communicative activities.
Whole Language Approach Language should be seen as a whole. Learning requires the four abilities of communication. Language use is always in a social context. Language is used for meaningful purposes. Whole language is in the humanistic and constructivist schools.
Methods Audiolingualism Situational Language Teaching The Silent Way Total Physical Response …..
Importance of Learning Grammar (Celce-Murcia 1991:465) Less importantFocus on formMore important Learner variables Age Proficiency level Educational background Children Beginning Preliterate or no formal educ. Adolescents Intermediate Semiliterate or some formal ed. Adults Advanced Literate or well educated Instructional variables Skill Register Need/use Listening-reading Informal Survival Speaking Consultative Vocational Writing Formal Professional
Issues about How to Teach Grammar Should grammar be taught in separate ‘grammar only’ classes? It is advisable to embed grammatical techniques into general language courses. Conscious or unconscious grammatical information is a component of communicative competence.
Issues about How to Teach Grammar When grammar is set aside in certain class hours, workshops, or courses, consider the following conditions: EExplicitly integrate grammar into the total curriculum. TThe rest of the curriculum controls the content of the grammar course and not viceversa. GGrammar is contextualized in meaningful language use. GGrammatical topics come from the students’ own performance in other classes. TThe ultimate test of success is the improvement of students’ performance outside of the grammar class.
Issues about How to Teach Grammar Should teachers correct grammatical errors? Research evidence shows that overt grammatical correction has little consequence in improving learner’s spoken language.
Issues about How to Teach Grammar Should we use grammatical explanations and technical terminology? They must be approached with care: Use brief and simple explanations. Use charts and other visuals. Illustrate with clear examples. Consider cognitive styles among your students. Do not concentrate on ‘exceptions’ to rules.
Issues about How to Teach Grammar Should grammar be presented inductively or deductively? It depends on the learning context.
Deductive Approaches This model can be used to teach concepts, rules or abilities. It is teacher-centered. In language learning, the rule is explained and then applied to examples. The students practice and receive feedback (rule- driven).
Deductive Approaches: Advantages It is direct, no-nonsense, and can be very efficient. It respects students’ expectations and learning style (if they are analytical). It allows the teacher to deal with language points as they come up
Deductive Approaches: Dangers It can be seen as dull, over-technical and demotivating. Certain learners, including younger ones, may react negatively
Characteristics of Helpful rules Truth: Does it resemblance the reality it is describing? Limitation: Is it clear what the rule covers and what it doesn’t? Clarity: Is it clearly expressed? Simplicity: Is it uncluttered with sub-rules and exceptions? Familiarity: Does it use familiar concepts for the students? Relevance: Does it solve the students’ specific needs and problems?
Teacher’s Presentation In introduction: The teacher checks students’ previous knowledge, share learning goals, and provides reasons for learning the new content.
Teacher’s Presentation In presentation: The teacher gives a clear explanation of the rule and provides examples (mainly in contrastive pairs). Students’ understanding will be checked. The teacher provides students opportunities to practice under his guidance. The teacher provides independent practice so that the students personalize the rule.
Inductive Approaches This model is used to teach specific contents through examples. In language learning, the learner studies examples, and from these examples he derives an understanding of the rule (rule discovery).
Inductive Approaches: Advantages Rule discovery is more likely to fit the learners’ mental structures, so rules become more meaningful. The mental effort ensures greater memorability. Students have an active role in the learning process (learner- centered).
Advantages: Continuation It favours pattern recognition and problem solving abilities. It gives more opportunities for collaborative work which give the opportunity for extra language practice. Independent activities give students greater self-relience and, therefore, encourages learning autonomy.
Inductive Approaches: Dangers Focus on rules may make students believe that rules are the objective of language learning. The time taken to work out the rule may be at the expense of putting the rule into practice. Students may hypothesise the wrong rule if there is no guidance.
Dangers: Continuation It can place heavy demands on teachers in planning a lesson. Some language structures resist to easy rule formulation. It may frustrate learners who have a deductive learning style.
Teacher’s Presentation The teacher provides communicative input that illustrates the linguistic feature. The teacher guides the learner to notice the feature and identify patterns. The teacher provides activities for the learner to unconsciously construct the hypothesis about how the feature works.
Continuation The learners test the hypothesis in communicative activities and verifies if the hypothesis is correct. The learners internalize the rule.
Discourse-Based Approaches Language is context-sensitive. Consider the knowledge of the people’s beliefs, behaviors, and traditions.
Co-text Jane stop smoking. ≠ Jane stop smoking when her dad came into the room. In a text, the sentences loose ambiguity and the implicatures are better infered.
Context of Situation A: Smith doesn’t seem to have a girlfriend these days. B: He’s paying a lot of visits to New York. Elements: Time and place of conversation, roles and relationship of the speakers, and the mode of communication.
Context of Culture. A: Have you seen Peter? B: He’s on jury duty. Knowledge of typical activities in a particular society.
Teacher’s Presentation The teacher provides the text that illustrates the linguistic feature. Sources of text: The coursebook, authentic sources, teacher’s texts, students’ text. (Determine meaningfulness). The teacher makes the learners familiar with the text.
Continuation The teacher focuses on the linguistic feature. The learners apply the linguistic feature in communicative activities. The appropriate use of the linguistic feature is verified.
Exercise Deductive approach Use a rule explanation to teach question formation (pre-intermediate). Example: My mother called her doctor yesterday.
Inductive approach Teach the difference between past simple and present perfect through minimal sentence pairs (pre-intermediate).
Exercise Discourse-based approach Teach the passive by using an authentic text (intermediate). “Dog attack” Taken from Thornbury, Scott. How to Teach Grammar.
Beyond Approaches and Methods An approach or a method may be an essential starting point. While gaining experience, the teacher should develop an individual approach or personal method. The approach or method is creatively adjust to the realities of the classroom and teacher’s personal beliefs.
Teacher’s Principles and Beliefs Consider: your role in the classroom the nature of effective teaching and training the solution of the learners’ difficulties succesful learning activities the structure of an efective lesson
Principles to Consider at Different Times Make learners the focus of the lesson. Develop learners’ responsibility. Be tolerant of learners’ mistakes. Develop learners’ confidence. Practice both accuracy and fluency. Address learners’ needs and interests. ….
Bibliography Brown, Douglas. Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy. 2nd. Ed. New York: San Francisco State University, Hinkel, Eli, and Sandra Fotos, eds. New Perspectives on Grammar Teaching in Second Language Classrooms. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publ., Jakobson, Roman. Ensayos de la Lingüística General. Barcelona, Esp. : Editorial Seix Barral, Odlin, Terence. Perspectives on Pedagogical Grammar. N.Y., USA : Cambridge University Press, Richards, Jack, and Theodore Rodgers. Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. 2nd. Ed. NY, USA: Cambridge University Press, Schmitt, Norbert ed. An Introduction to Applied Linguistics. London : Arnold, Thornbury, Scott. How to Teach Grammar. Ed. Jeremy Harmer. Edinburgh : Pearson Education, Longman, Weaver, Constance. Teaching Grammar in Context. Portsmouth, NH : Boyton/Cook Heinemann, 1996.