Presentation on theme: "Teaching Grammar in the Communicative Classroom:"— Presentation transcript:
1 Teaching Grammar in the Communicative Classroom: Tips and Practical ActivitiesATER Conference 2015Hannah MurphyEnglish Language FellowMekelle, Ethiopia
2 Opening DiscussionHow is grammar taught at your school/program? As a part of other courses? Stand-alone grammar course?What kind of activities do you use when teaching grammar?What are some challenges teachers face when teaching grammar?What are some challenges students face when learning grammar?
3 Presentation Overview Review of grammar teaching over timeGrammar methodologiesCommunicative approach tipsActivities for the classroom
4 Grammar Teaching Through Time Pre 1960sGrammar as the basis of language proficiencyDirect instruction, repetitive practice and drills1970s – 1990sCentrality of grammar questionedFocus on skills needed to use grammarPre 1960s:-Gave priority to grammar as the basis of language proficiency-Belief that grammar could be learned through direct instruction-Methodology made use of repetitive practicing and drilling70s – 90s:-Centrality of grammar in language teaching and learning was questioned-Attention shifted to the knowledge and skills needed to use grammar and other aspects of language appropriately for different communicative purposes such as asking questions, describing wishes, discussing needs, etc.-View that communicative skills not simply grammatical skills should be the goal of language teaching
5 Grammar Teaching Through Time 1990s – PresentFocus on communicative language teaching (CLT)Linking grammar development to ability to communicateGrammar taught as part of a communicative task – creating a specific need for grammar1990s – Present:-Communicative language teaching implemented in many classrooms-Student’s communicative skill is developed by linking grammatical development to the ability to communicate-Grammar is not taught in isolation but rather through a communicative task, thus creating a need for specific items of grammar-Activities conducted in class are communication oriented
6 Grammar Methodologies Traditional/Explicit ApproachCommunicative ApproachInductive Grammar TeachingDeductive Grammar Teaching-Two main methods/approaches to teaching grammar, which have been popular at different points in time-Explicit approach deals with the explicit teaching of grammar-Communicative approach deals with the more communicative uses of grammar and includes two methodologies: inductive and deductive grammar
7 Traditional/Explicit Approach Explicit teaching of grammar rulesPractice and repetitive drillsLearners are in control during practice – less fear of an incorrect answerExplicit instruction results in improvements in learning the targeted structuresPractice drills have little relevance to using grammar effectivelyExplanation of Approach:-Explicit teaching of grammar rules including learning technical vocabulary for nouns, adverbs, adjectives-Taught grammatical rules in order to master sentence patterns-A grammar rule is explicitly presented to students followed by a practice exercise to apply the ruleAdvantages and disadvantages to this approach:-Adv: learners are in control during these practice drills and have less fear of drawing an incorrect conclusion related to how the target language is functioning-Adv: Studies have shown that this type of explicit instruction results in important improvements in learning the target structures-Dis: a precise focus on a particular form leads to learning the form, but it doesn’t mean that practice drills or diagram sentences have relevance to using grammar effectively
8 Communicative Approach Goal is communicative competence (ability to speak a language with linguistic proficiency and to use the language appropriately in different social contexts)Purpose is to learn the language, of which grammar is a partGrammar forms are taught in relation to meaning and useMakes real communication the focus of language learning-Goal of the communicative approach is communicative competence – ability to speak a language with linguistic proficiency and to use the language appropriately in different social contexts-Overall purpose is to learn the language and how to use it, of which grammar is a part-Grammar forms are taught but in relation to their meaning and use, not on their own as a part of practice drills-Makes real communication the focus of language learning instead of grammatical perfection
9 Communicative Approach Inductive TeachingLearners discover rules for themselvesActively involved and collaborativeTime consumingDeductive TeachingSaves time as rules as explained by teacherRespects maturity of learnersEncourages a teacher-fronted explanationOften less memorable than other forms of presentationAdvantages to both inductive and deductive teaching for grammar within the communicative approachInductive:Provides learners with examples from which a rule is inferred-Adv: Learners discover the rules for themselves – so they are likely to fit their existing mental structure compared to rules being presented to them – creating their own understanding-Adv: students are actively involved in the learning process and are working collaboratively with other students to problem solve and discover rules-Dis: time consuming and requires lots of energy spent working out the rules – takes up valuable class time and may mislead students to think that rules are the objective of language learning-Time taken to work out a grammatical rule may be at the expense of time the could be used to practice that ruleDeductive:Presentation of rules and some examples in which the rule is applied-Adv: straight to the point and saves class time-Adv: respects intelligence and maturity of learners – especially adults – they can apply their critical thinking skills to language learning-Dis: encourages a teacher-fronted classroom, where it is transmission-style; teacher explanation is often at the expense of student involvement and interaction-Dis: teacher explanation is often less memorable than other forms of presentation such as a demonstration
10 Example: Traditional & Communicative Teach –ed forms, pronunciation and doubling ruleList of irregular verbs to memorizePattern practice drills for –edSubstitution drills for irregular verbsCommunicativeDistribute two short narratives (A & B)Teach regular –ed forms using verbs from the textTeach irregular verbs that occur in the textStudents read narrativesIn pairs (A & B), students interview each otherBecause the goal of the communicative approach the purpose of learning grammar is to learn the language, of which grammar is a part. Instructors therefore teach grammar forms and structures in relation to meaning and use for the specific communication tasks that students need to complete.Here is an example of the two different approaches used to teach the past tense –ed formsTraditional – teaching the rules, followed by patterned practice and drillsCommunicative – the examples are coming from the narrative the students have, where they can see the rule applied in different contexts throughout the story, teaching it in the context of a narrative also provides the grammatical form with purpose and meaning, the lesson ends with a communicative activity where students are using the –ed form to tell their partner what happened in the story
11 Which is Most Effective? Easy answer – a combination of methodsSome learners have the ability to “pick up” linguistic features from exposureFew learners are capable of doing so efficientlyEspecially is post-pubescent or if exposure is limited to the classroom, as in many EFL contextsA combination of both methods – the “communicative competence model” – is a balance of extremes. The model recognizes that overt grammar instruction helps students to acquire the language more efficiently, but incorporates grammar teaching and learning into the larger context of teaching students to USE the languageBeneficial for students because while some have the ability to “pick up” linguistic features from exposure and purely communicative/inductive tasks, few learners are capable of doing so efficiently, especially if they are post-pubescent or if their exposure is limited to the classroom, as is the case when English is taught as a foreign langauge
12 Combination ApproachCommunicative Competence model combines or balances explicit and communicative methodologiesProvides students with a clear, well-explained theoretical framework (explicit)Provides students with a contextualized and natural environment to use the language (communicative)This combination or “communicative competence” approach combines methodologies from the traditional/explicit approach with methods from the communicative approachThis combination provides students with a clear, well-explained theoretical framework of grammar rules and forms (explicit) while also providing them with a contextualized, natural environment to use the language appropriately (communicative)
13 Aspects of a Combined Approach Makes real communication the focus of language learningProvides opportunities for experimentation and try what they knowRequires tolerance of learners’ errors as they are a part of the process to achieve communicative competenceProvides opportunities for both accuracy and fluencyThe combination approach accomplishes some specific goals, like making real communication the focus of language learning and providing opportunities for experimentation with the language and to try what they know.Making a communicative classrooms does however require tolerance of learners’ errors as they indicate that the learner is building up his/her communicative competenceA combined approach also offers opportunities and activities to target both accuracy and fluency when using the language.
14 Aspects of a Combined Approach Combination of structured output activities and communicative output activitiesTo create activities that will encourage communicative competence:PurposeInformation gapMultiple forms of expressionSo how do we do this? How do we combine these two approaches in our classrooms?We must have a combination of structure and communicative activities to accompany explicit grammar instruction. These structured output activities allow for error correction and increased accuracy while communicative activities give students opportunities to practice language use more freelyFor activities to encourage communicative competence, they must have:-Purpose – the purpose of real communication is to accomplish a task (e.g. conveying a telephone message, obtaining information, asking questions, expressing an opinion).-Information gap – authentic communication involves and information gap – each participant has information that the other does not have-Multiple forms of expression – real communication involves managing the uncertainty about what the other person will say and have to clarify their meaning or ask for confirmation of their own understanding
15 Aspects of a Combined Approach Structured Output ActivitiesMost common: information gap and jigsawStructure comes from activities set up to practice a specific item of the languageBridge between instructor modeling and communicative outputCommunicative Output ActivitiesMost common: role plays and discussionAllows for students to practice using all of the language they know in situationsCan encourage creativity and innovationStructured Output Activities-information gap and jigsaw-In both of these activities, students complete a task by obtaining missing information, a feature the activities have in common with real communication-However, the activities are also set up to practice a specific item of the language-This can form an effective bridge between instructor modeling and communicative output because they are partly authentic and partly artificial. Like authentic communication, they feature information gaps that must be bridged for successful completion of the task. However, where authentic communication allows speakers to use all of the language they know, structured output activities lead students to practice specific features of language and to practice only in brief sentences, not extended discourse.Communicative Output Activities:-Role plays and discussions-Communicative output activities allow students to practice using all of the language they know in situations that resemble real settings. In these activities, students must work together to develop a plan, resolve a problem, or complete a task.-Through well-prepared communicative output activities such as role plays and discussions, you can encourage students to experiment and innovate with the language, and create a supportive atmosphere that allows them to make mistakes without fear of embarrassment.
16 Larsen-Freeman Grammar Chart Diane Larsen-Freeman proposed this pie chart as a way to think about the complexity of grammar in order to better effectively teach grammar to our students.Three dimensions of grammar are of concern to us as teachers – form or structure, meaning, and pragmatic conditions governing use.Within the form/structure wedge – tells us how a particular grammar structure is constructed and how it is sequenced with other structures in a sentence or text.Within the meaning wedge – we deal with what a grammar structure means. Meaning can be lexical (dictionary definition for a preposition like down) or it can be grammatical (the conditional states both a condition and outcome or result)Within the pragmatics/use wedge – we deal with the study of those relationships between language and context – when or why does a person choose a particular grammar structure?
17 Example Here is an example of a grammatical form within the pie chart Form of Possessive:This way of forming possessives in English requires inflecting regular singular nouns and irregular plural nouns not ending in s with 's or by adding an apostrophe after the s' ending of regular plural nouns and singular nouns ending in the soundMeaning of Possessive:Besides possession, the possessive or genitive form can indicate description (a debtor's prison), amount (a month's holiday), relationship (Jack's wife), part/whole (my brother's hand), and origin/agent (Shakespeare's tragedies)Use of Possessive:Filling in this wedge requires that we ask when the 's is used to express possession as opposed to other structures that can be used to convey this same meaning. For example, possession in English can be expressed in other ways-with a possessive determiner (e.g., his, her, and their) or with the periphrastic of the form (e.g., the legs of the table).
18 Developing Activities For curricula that introduce grammatical forms in a specified sequence:Describe the grammar point (form, meaning and use), give examplesPractice the grammar point in communicative drills (structured output)Communicative task with opportunities to use the grammar point (communicative output)So how do we take all of this information and use it in the classroom? It depends on the curricula you are currently following. In both cases, the Larsen-Freeman pie chart can be used as a guide for developing activities.Many courses and books use a specified sequence of grammatical topics as their organizing principle. When this is the case, classroom activities need to reflect the grammar point that is being introduced or reviewed. Instructors will need to create activities that relate form to meaning and use.In that case:-describe the grammar point, including form, meaning and use, and give examples.-ask students to practice the grammar point in communicative drills, your form of structured output-have students complete a communicative task that provides opportunities to use the grammar point, your form of communicative output
19 Developing Activities For curricula that follow a sequence of topics:Provide oral or written input that addresses the topicReview the point of grammar using examples from the materialHave students practice the grammar point in communicative drills (structured output)Have students complete a communicative task (communicative output)In contrast, when a course curriculum follows a topic sequence, grammar points can be addressed as they come up. Instructors will need to develop activities that relate the topic discourse (use) to meaning and form.To do so:-provide oral or written input that address the topic being discussed-review the point of grammar, using examples from the material-ask students to practice the grammar point in communicative drills that focus on the topic (structured output)-have students complete a communicative task on the topic (communicative output)To better understand how these features all come together in a lesson, let’s look briefly at two examples
20 Example Activity #1 – Modals for Polite Requests Begin by testing student knowledge – give groups a slip of paper with a situation where you would need to make a polite request (asking for a glass of water, borrowing a pen, etc.). Together students will work together to write a request.Solicit answers from the groups, making a list on the board of modals for polite requests.Provide students with a model dialogue where they will see examples of the correct usage, as well as be required to fill in requests in the dialogue.Provide students with examples of requests to help them differentiate between levels of politeness required based on context.Have students role play situations where they will need to politely request objects or favors in different contexts.
21 Example Activity #2 – “Used to” Begin by providing students with two pictures of the same person, taken 20 years apart. The old picture shows her playing a guitar, while the new picture shows her painting.Teacher models the form “used to” – She used to play the guitar, but now she paints pictures. She used to have long hair, but now it is short.Write the rule on the board (Subject + used to + V1)Ask students clarification questions about the pictures.Have students write about their lives as a child and now, using “I used to ____ but now I _______” (structured output)Role play in pairs – old friends meeting after a long time, discussing their past and current hobbies (communicative output)After reviewing this slide – DO ACTIVITY WITH THE GROUP
22 Resources - PDFsESL Grammar Games – competitive games, collaborative sentence-making games, awareness activities, grammar through drama, and miscellanyBeginning Communication Games – 40 games dealing with specific grammar structures, with rules, explanations and materials already createdIntermediate Communication Games - 40 games dealing with specific grammar structures, with rules, explanations and materials already createdAdvanced Communication Games - 40 games dealing with specific grammar structures, with rules, explanations and materials already created
23 ReferencesLarsen-Freeman, D. (2014). Teaching grammar. In M. Celce-Marcia, D.M. Brinton, & M.A. Snow (Eds.), Teaching English as a second or foreign language (4th ed.). Boston, MA: National Geographic Learning.The National Capital Language Resource Center (2004). Developing grammar activities. Retrieved from:The National Capital Language Resource Center (2004). Developing speaking activities. Retrieved from:The National Capital Language Resource Center (2004). Goals and techniques for teaching grammar. Retrieved from:Praise, S., & Meenakshi, K. (2014). Importance of grammar in communication. International Journal of Research Studies in Language Learning, 4(1),Rama, J.L., & Agullo, G.L. (2012). The role of grammar teaching: From communicative approaches to the common European framework of reference for languages. Revista de Linguistica y Lenguas Aplicadas, 7, 179 – 191.Taras, A. (2013). Teaching communicative grammar: including a practical approach to teaching future notion.
24 English Language Fellow Questions?Hannah MurphyEnglish Language FellowMekelle UniversityMekelle, Ethiopia