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Grammar & Communication in the FL Classroom Maria Sheila Zamar UH-Manoa, SEASSI COTSEAL Conference 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Grammar & Communication in the FL Classroom Maria Sheila Zamar UH-Manoa, SEASSI COTSEAL Conference 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Grammar & Communication in the FL Classroom Maria Sheila Zamar UH-Manoa, SEASSI COTSEAL Conference 2008

2 I. Goals: 1. Discuss the role of grammar teaching in FL classrooms (HL and non-HL) 2. Review some of the most influential ideas in foreign language teaching 3. Describe some examples of communicative activities for teaching specific grammar points

3 II. What do we teach in the FL classroom? -language -communication skills -socio-cultural functions -target culture

4 Which variety do we teach? -standard -conversational/colloquial -academic -literary

5 III. Heritage v. Non-heritage classrooms Some differences background resources environment motivation (varying) proficiency knowledge of the target culture

6 Heritage v. Non-heritage L2 classrooms Some similarities need for production practice need to focus on literacy need for accuracy

7 VI. Settings for language learning Natural acquisition contexts Traditional instructional settings (grammar-translation or audiolingual) Communicative instructional settings (content-based or task-based) - The learner is exposed to the TL at work or in social interaction. - If the learner is a child, s/he is in a school situation where most of the other children are native speakers of the TL and the instruction is directed toward native speakers. - The language is being taught to a group of L2 or FL learners. - The focus is on the language itself, rather than on the use of the TL for communicative interaction. - The instructional goal is for students to learn the vocabulary and grammar of the TL. - The language is being taught to a group of L2 or FL learners. - The focus is on leading learners to use the TL in a variety of contexts, rather than on teaching specific features of TL. - The goal is for students to develop their ability to get things done in the TL.

8 Settings for language learning CharacteristicsNatural acquisition Traditional instruction Communicative instruction Error correction-++-/+ Learning one thing at a time -+++ Ample time available for learning ++-- High ratio of native speakers to learners ++-- Variety of language and discourse types ++-+ Pressure to use the TL correctly -/+++- Access to modified input -/+ + (often in L1) + (often in TL)

9 VII. 5 influential ideas in L2 teaching 1. Getting it right from the beginning Grammar-translation & audiolingual methods 2. Negotiating meaning Communicative language teaching 3. Input processing Comprehension-based programs 4. Teaching what is teachable Setting realistic expectations 5. Getting it right in the end Finding the balance between meaning-based and form-based instruction

10 Five influential ideas in L2 teaching 1. Getting it right from the beginning Exclusively grammar-based approaches do not guarantee high levels of accuracy Overemphasis on accuracy usually results in learners who are inhibited and some unable to communicate 2. Negotiating meaning Learners produce more quantity and greater variety of speech and language function in learner centered activities Modified interaction leads to higher levels of comprehension than modified input

11 Five influential ideas in L2 teaching 3. Input processing TPR gives learners a good start Comprehensible input is effective in learners development of comprehension skills, fluency and confidence in the TL but not enough to bring them to high levels of accuracy Input flood help learners add something new to their interlanguage Enhanced input makes little difference Learners who received comprehension-based processing instruction achieved higher levels of performance on both comprehension and production tasks than learners who did production exercises to practice the form. *** Input processing (explicit focus on form within input-based instruction) shows better comprehension practice over production practice

12 Five influential ideas in L2 teaching 4. Teaching what is teachable Little/no data on developmental and variational language features 5. Getting it right in the end Form-focused instruction and corrective feedback provided within the communicative contexts are more effective in promoting L2 learning Explicit, guided form-focused instruction is needed when features in the TL differ from the L1 in subtle ways

13 IV. Grammar-based v. Content-based/ Task-based approaches Focus on the language (accuracy) grammar translation and audiolingual methods ordering of skills (receptive-productive) deductive learning error prevention is emphasized

14 Grammar-based v. Content-based/ Task-based approaches Focus on communication (fluency) communicative language teaching (CLT) comprehensible input inductive learning error is viewed as natural part of interlanguage development

15 V. Key issues -Do I have a grammar-based, task-based, function-based/content-based curriculum? -How much time do I devote to teaching grammar explicitly? -How much metalanguage do I expect my students to handle?

16 Key issues -How much time do I devote to communicative activities with focus on form? What activities do I have my students participate in? -How much time do I devote solely to communicative activities without grammar instruction? What type(s) of activities do I have my students engage in? -What comprises the bulk of my teaching materials? -How do I handle errors?

17 VIII. Things to consider in teaching grammar -Providing communicative contexts -Addressing the four skills -Varying activities -Using (semi-) authentic materials Contextualizing error correction

18 Information gap Interviews and reports Guided speaking: responding to specific questions and listening activities Structure focused reading: questions focused on eliciting specific structures Guided/Controlled writing: story with prompts Structure focused listening: questions focused on eliciting specific structures IX. Some grammar-based communicative activities

19 Tapos na. Salamat po!


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