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Practical Strategies for Developing Secondary Students’ Grammar Knowledge for Communication 18 November 2011 09:30 – 17:00 English Language Education Section,

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Presentation on theme: "Practical Strategies for Developing Secondary Students’ Grammar Knowledge for Communication 18 November 2011 09:30 – 17:00 English Language Education Section,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Practical Strategies for Developing Secondary Students’ Grammar Knowledge for Communication 18 November 2011 09:30 – 17:00 English Language Education Section, Curriculum Development Institute, Education Bureau

2 Rundown of Today’s Programme 09:30 – 10:00Setting the Scene: The Place of Grammar in the English Language Curriculum and Public Assessments 10:00 – 10:30Emphases of Grammar Learning & Teaching 10:30 – 10:45Break 10:45 – 11:20Grammar Activities – From Form-focused to Meaning-focused 11:20 – 12:30Presenting Grammar in Context 12:30 – 14:00Lunch Break 14:00 – 15:30Activities for Learning, Teaching and Assessing Grammar in Context (I) 15:30 – 15:45Break 15:45 – 16:50Activities for Learning, Teaching and Assessing Grammar in Context (II) 16:50 – 17:00Q & A

3 Setting the Scene: The Place of Grammar in the English Language Curriculum and Public Assessments

4 Objectives of the Seminar-cum-workshops To raise teachers’ awareness of the place of grammar in the English Language curriculum and public assessments To develop teachers’ capacity to enhance transition in the development of students’ grammar knowledge across key stages To develop teachers’ competence and confidence in teaching grammar for communication through a range of methods or approaches To develop teachers’ skills in designing, selecting and adapting resources and activities for the learning, teaching and assessment of grammar

5 Emphases of Grammar Learning & Teaching

6 Consolidation and Extension of Communicative Functions and Language Items at JS and SS Levels

7 Communicative Functions across Key Stages Source: CDC Syllabus for English Language (Secondary 1-5) (1999), p.18. The Communicative Functions listed for Key Stages 1 & 2 should be consolidated and extended to a greater degree of complexity at Key Stage 3. The Communicative Functions listed for Key Stages 1-3 should be consolidated and extended to a greater degree of complexity at senior secondary level.

8 Consolidation and Extension of Communicative Functions at JS & SS Levels I’m Joe. I am six years old. I like apples. Introduce oneself to the class e.g. Introduce oneself I am a senior secondary student in a school that mainly adopts Chinese as the medium of instruction. My experience in the last four years has told me that it is more effective to learn non-language subjects in Chinese. Introduce oneself in a letter to the editor Hi, I am Andy. I am a 13- year old boy who loves blogging. My friends call me Smarty because I like to make people laugh with clever jokes. Introduce oneself on a personal homepage KS1SS

9 Consolidation and Extension of Grammar Items at JS and SS Levels Items learnt at earlier Key Stages should be consolidated and extended to a greater degree of complexity at later Key Stages Passive voice at JS To focus on the receiver of the action, rather than the doer of the action, e.g. The man was released from prison yesterday. Passive voice at SS To use the subject it with the passive voice (It + verb be + past participle + that + clause) to convey an objective and formal tone, e.g. It is believed that this rise in the Earth’s temperature is caused by the rapid build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

10 Consolidation and Extension of Communicative Functions and Grammar Items & Structures Communicative functions are consolidated and extended to a greater extent of complexity through the use of different language forms in a variety of contexts.

11 Grammar as Resources and Choice

12 Grammar as Resources The same communicative function can be expressed by different grammar items and structures: e.g. suggestions can be made by using: –You must / have to… –You had better / You’d better… –You should… –Why not… / Why don’t you…? The same grammar item and structure can be used to express different communicative functions: e.g. the modal “will” is used: –to talk about intention –to express certainty –to talk about the future

13 Grammar as Choice Language varies according to contexts. Language, rather than being a set of rules, is a set of resources for making meaning. Meaning arises from the grammar choices that are made. “ Candidates must be able to make such adjustments to their English based on the context and the relative roles of the author and audience. It is this flexibility with their English that distinguishes a candidate who can perform fairly straightforward tasks from those who are moving towards a more sophisticated command of English.” HKEAA English Language The Chief Examiner’s Report 2010

14 Grammar Activities – From Form-focused to Meaning-focused

15 A Framework for Activity Design in the Learning, Teaching & Assessment of Grammar From Form-focused to Meaning-focused – A Continuum Non- communicative Pre- communicative CommunicativeStructured communication Authentic communication controlled free Adapted from: Littlewood, W. (2000). Task-based Learning of Grammar. Hong Kong: HKBU. practice communication exercises tasks Focus on form Focus on meaning Focusing on the target language item/structure, how it is formed and what it means Practising the target language item/ structure with some attention to meaning, but not communicating new messages Practising the target language Item/structure in a context where it communicates new information Using language to communicate in situations which elicit the pre-learnt language item/ structure but with some unpredictability Using language to communicate in situations where the meanings are unpredictable

16 The Guiding Principles for Grammar Learning and Teaching in the Classroom Context In order to learn [grammar] successfully, learners need a judicious combination of tasks and supporting exercises in which they focus upon and practise specific elements of knowledge… Exercises should be sequenced systematically and integrated with each other to support a task. Source: CDC Syllabus for English Language Secondary 1-5 (1999), p.44.

17 The Guiding Principles for Grammar Learning and Teaching in the Classroom Context These exercises and tasks should provide students with opportunities to produce oral and written output.

18 Presenting Grammar in Context

19 The purpose and context of the Main Task are examined and the grammar items / structures to be learnt are identified by the teacher. The target grammar items/structures are presented in a meaningful context. The rules are either explained by the teacher or worked out by the student. Theexplained by the teacher worked out by the student target grammar items / structures are then practised. A cluster of sub-tasks is designed by the teacher for students to further practise the target grammar items / structures. Knowledge of the target grammar items/structures gained from the sub-tasks is applied when the student works on the Main Task. Presenting Grammar in Context Using a Task-based Approach

20 Teaching Grammar from Rules - The Deductive Method The target grammar items / structures are presented by the teachers in terms of their forms and functions. Examples are provided by the teachers to illustrate the forms and functions of the target grammar items / structures. In the context of the task-based approach, these examples can be relevant to the task to be completed. The target grammar items / structures are practised.

21 Teaching Grammar from Examples - The Inductive Method With teacher support, the target grammar items/structures are identified by the students from the text. The target grammar items/structures are analysed by the students according to their forms. A hypothesis is made by the students about the forms and functions of the target grammar items/structures, using previous knowledge and contextual clues. What has been learnt is confirmed and consolidated by making reference to dictionaries, grammar books, textbooks, etc by the students. The target grammar items/structures are compared with similar ones, and the differences, if any, are highlighted by the students.

22 Presenting Grammar in Context Using an Inductive / Deductive Method Study the following sentences. Group them according to the function the present continuous tense performs. The school is having an English week this week. Listen! The bell is ringing now! Look at this photo! Your classmates are playing basketball. During the English week, the tuck shop is giving you a 20% discount on all drinks. In this photo, Ms Chan, the principal, is talking to Ms Wong, your form teacher. Our school choir are singing lovely English songs in the hall every day this week. Jack is making faces at his classmates now. Joey is not paying attention. He is looking out of the window now. Look at Ada in the photo! She is finishing first in the 100-m sprint final! Throughout this week, even Chinese teachers are speaking English.

23 2) Jack is making faces at his classmates now. 10) Joey is not paying attention. He is looking out of the window now. 6) Listen! The bell is ringing now! 5) Look at Ada in the photo! She is finishing first in the 100-m sprint final! 4) In this photo, Ms Chan, our principal, is talking to Ms Wong, your form teacher. 7) Look at this photo! Your classmates are playing basketball. 3) The school is having an English week this week. 1) Throughout this week, even Chinese teachers are speaking English. 8) During the English week, the tuck shop is giving you a 20% discount on all drinks. 9) Our school choir are singing lovely English songs in the hall every day this week. The Present Continuous Tense (Deductive Method) To talk about things that are happening now To describe photos or pictures To talk about temporary situations 2) Jack is making faces at her classmates now. 5) Look at Ada in the photo! She is finishing first in the 100-m sprint final! 3) The school is having an English week this week. 1) Throughout this week, even Chinese teachers are speaking English. 4) In this photo, Ms Chan, our principal, is talking to Ms Wong, your form teacher. 6) Listen! The bell is ringing now! 7) Look at this photo! Your classmates are playing basketball. 8) During the English week, the tuck shop is giving you a 20% discount on all drinks. 9) Our school choir are singing lovely English songs in the hall every day this week. 10) Joey is not paying attention. He is looking out of the window now.

24 The Present Continuous Tense (Inductive Method)Inductive Method Jack is making faces at his classmates now. Joey is not paying attention. He is looking out of the window now. Listen! The bell is ringing now! Look at Ada in the photo! She is finishing first in the 100-m sprint final! In this photo, Ms Chan, our principal, is talking to Ms Wong, your form teacher. Look at this photo! Your classmates are playing basketball. The school is having an English week this week. Throughout this week, even Chinese teachers are speaking English. During the English week, the tuck shop is giving you a 20% discount on all drinks. Our school choir are singing lovely English songs in the hall every day this week. To talk about things that are happening now To describe photos or pictures To talk about temporary situations

25 Grammar Rules! – To Teach or Not to Teach Do’s –EXPLAIN grammar rules after exposing Ss to the use of the target language items / structures in context. –PROVIDE opportunities for Ss to internalise grammar rules through meaningful communication. Don’ts –TEACH grammar as a system of rules or a standalone body of knowledge –EXPLAIN grammar rules in isolation

26 Presenting Grammar in Context Source: Ellis, R. (2002). Methodological Option in Grammar Teaching Materials. In Hinkel, E. & Fotos, S. (2002). New Perspectives on Grammar Teaching in Second Language Classrooms. Mahwah, N.J.: LEA, Inc., p.166. Learners acquire new grammatical structures when they encounter them in input, take them in, and incorporate them into their existing interlanguage system. However, exposure alone may not be enough for acquisition to take place. Learners may also need to pay conscious attention to the grammatical structures in the input. Noticing is the necessary condition for input to become intake. 36

27 In order for learners to see that grammar is a dynamic resource for expressing and creating meaning, learners should be exposed to authentic use of the language… Presenting Grammar in Context Source: CDC Syllabus for English Language Secondary 1-5 (1999), p.50.

28 “Simply knowing what to do is no guarantee that you will be able to do it, or that you will be able to do it well.” Practice activities are necessary to target “precision at applying the System”, “automatisation of the system”, and “integrating new knowledge into old”. Presenting Grammar in Context Source: Thornbury, S. (1999). How to Teach Grammar. Harlow: Longman, pp.91-92.

29 A Framework for Activity Design in the Learning, Teaching & Assessment of Grammar From Form-focused to Meaning-focused – A Continuum Non- communicative Pre- communicative CommunicativeStructured communication Authentic communication controlled free Adapted from: Littlewood, W. (2000). Task-based Learning of Grammar. Hong Kong: HKBU. practice communication exercises tasks Focus on form Focus on meaning Focusing on the target language item/structure, how it is formed and what it means Practising the target language item/ structure with some attention to meaning, but not communicating new messages Practising the target language Item/structure in a context where it communicates new information Using language to communicate in situations which elicit the pre-learnt language item/ structure but with some unpredictability Using language to communicate in situations where the meanings are unpredictable

30 Grammar activities can always be infused into the daily language learning activities, e.g. SBA, skills- focused activities, etc. In the learning and teaching phase leading to an SBA activity, grammar items / structures that are critical to the successful completion of the activity can be practised. Practising Grammar in Context through Speaking – Preparatory Activity for School-based Assessment (SBA)

31 Reading passages in skills practice books can be exploited for raising students’ grammar awareness and consolidating their grammar knowledge. Practising Grammar in Context through Reading – Skills Practice Books

32 Practising Grammar in Context Textbook grammar activities can be adapted and supplemented, where necessary, to bridge the two ends of the continuum of controlled practice exercise and free communication tasks.

33 Activities for Learning, Teaching and Assessing Grammar in Context (II)

34 A Framework for Activity Design in the Learning, Teaching & Assessment of Grammar From Form-focused to Meaning-focused – A Continuum Non- communicative Pre- communicative CommunicativeStructured communication Authentic communication controlled free Adapted from: Littlewood, W. (2000). Task-based Learning of Grammar. Hong Kong: HKBU. practice communication exercises tasks Focus on form Focus on meaning Focusing on the target language item/structure, how it is formed and what it means Practising the target language item/ structure with some attention to meaning, but not communicating new messages Practising the target language Item/structure in a context where it communicates new information Using language to communicate in situations which elicit the pre-learnt language item/ structure but with some unpredictability Using language to communicate in situations where the meanings are unpredictable

35 Assessment of Grammar for Learning The objectives of assessment of grammar for learning are to provide opportunities for students to demonstrate that they can: Assessment results provide: information about what aspects of the target grammar items need further work; and direction on what kind of feedback to provide for guiding learning. Use the target form in decreasingly controlled situations Map meaning onto the target form Use knowledge of grammar for the purpose of communication in real time Focus on formFocus on meaning

36 Learning & Teaching Grammar vs Assessing Grammar “Almost any teaching task can be used for assessment purposes, and vice versa.” (Nunan, D. (2004). Task-based Language Teaching. Cambridge: CUP, p.143.)

37 Assessment of Grammar for Learning in Practice Grammar Activities To find out if Ss can map meaning onto the target form: Interpretation activity (3) Choose the best summary of each situation: Source: Thornbury, S. (1999). How to Teach Grammar. Harlow: Longman, p.107. 1.Ben started work five hours ago. He is still working. a. Ben is working for five hours. b. Ben was working for five hours. c. Ben has been working for five hours. 2.Rebecca joined the queue for tickets 30 minutes ago. She bought her ticket 10 minutes ago. a. Rebecca is queuing for 20 minutes. b. Rebecca was queuing for 20 minutes. c. Rebecca has been queuing for 20 minutes.

38 Assessment of Grammar for Learning In Practice Grammar Activities Read a description of how wine is made, which is taken from a winery leaflet. In my country, we produce very good quality wine. We grow the vines mainly in the West of the country where the winters are milder. People pick the grapes at the end of the summer – they have to pick them at exactly the right time. When they have picked them they have to process the grapes very quickly. We keep some wines for a long time to improve before we put it into bottles. We can buy our wines in many other European countries. Re-write it, using passive constructions as appropriate. How important is using passive constructions as a factor in making the text more appropriate to the context? To find out if Ss can map meaning onto the target form and use the target form in controlled situations: Writing activity Suggested item Grammar knowledge assessed The use of the passive construction to indicate the lack of personal involvement Source: Parrott, M. (2000). Grammar for English Language Teachers. Cambridge: CUP, pp.295, 298.

39 Assessment of Grammar for Learning Grammar should be assessed in context as much as possible. Form-focused activities that assess grammar in context provide more valid information about how well students understand the meaning of target language items/structures. Grammar can also be assessed through reading, listening, writing and speaking tasks, and tasks that require the integrative use of language to obtain information about students’ ability to process and produce the target language items/structures in context.

40 Feedback on Grammar – Guiding Principles Treat feedback as opportunities for students to learn Provide both positive & negative evidence on students’ competence in using the target grammar item(s) Encourage Ss to notice for themselves how their language compares with the correct form and use their knowledge for error correction Focus Ss’ attention on the grammar- related learning objectives Provide focused feedback (i.e. linked to the learning objectives)

41 Resources for the Learning, Teaching & Assessment of Grammar – Books and Articles (1) Chan, S. S. Y. (2008). Grammatical consciousness-raising tasks for EFL secondary learners. Modern English Teacher, 17, 2, 43-52. Forsyth, W. & Lavender, S. (1995). Grammar Activities 2 – Upper Intermediate. Oxford: Macmillan. Frank, C., Rinvolucri, M. & Berer, M. (1982). Challenge to Think. Oxford: OUP. Gerngross, G., Puchta, H. & Thornbury, S. (2006). Teaching Grammar Creatively. Cambridge: CUP. Hancock, M. (1998). Singing Grammar. Cambridge: CUP. Jones, L. (1992). Communicative Grammar Practice. Cambridge: CUP. Littlewood, W. (2000). Task-based Learning of Grammar. Hong Kong: HKBU. Nunan, D. (2004). Task-based Language Learning. Cambridge: CUP.

42 Resources for the Learning, Teaching & Assessment of Grammar – Books and Articles (2) Obee, B. (1999). The Grammar Activity Book: A Resource Book of Grammar Games for Young Students. Cambridge: CUP. Parrott, M. (2000). Grammar for English Language Teachers. Cambridge: CUP. Purpura, J.E. (2004). Assessing Grammar. Cambridge: CUP. Rinvolucri, M. (1984). Grammar Games: Cognitive, Affective and Drama Activities for EFL Students. Cambridge: CUP. Thornbury, S. (1999). How to Teach Grammar. Harlow: Longman. Watcyb-Jones, P. (1995). Grammar Games and Activities for Teachers. London: Penguin.

43 BBC Learning English Grammar and Vocabulary www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/teach/grammar British Council Talk - Grammar www.teachingenglish.org.uk/talk/questions/grammar Grammar for English Language Teachers www.cambridge.org/elt.gelt Resources for the Learning, Teaching & Assessment of Grammar – Websites


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