Teaching Grammar

Chapter 5

Introduction: Teaching Grammar

  • Introduction(p.119)
    • Disagreement within in the field of language teaching about the role of teaching grammar.
  • The non-interventionist position on grammar teaching(p.120)
    • Krashen: Grammar teaching has, at best, a peripheral role in language teaching.
    • Distinction between aquisition(subconscious process through exposure) and learning(conscious process through instruction) of language.
    • Argument: Learning does not translate into the store of language available for spontaneous use. There already is a natural order of development in language aquisition, wherein certain grammatical competences arises, not influence by instruction.
  • The interventionist position on grammar teaching(p.120)
    • L2 development may not occur implicitly, especially in the case of adults, since L2 learning is two different matters for children and adults.
    • The process of L2 development is much more logical and systematic for adults.
  • Proactive grammar teaching(p.121)
    • Proactive grammar teaching: "planned treatment of specific grammatical features and is often associated with the Present-Practice-Produce(PPP) paradigm."
    • Illustrative presentation of the target structure, and explanation of meaning of use.
    • Controlled practice, where the learners manipulate the target item in drills or exercises. And/or free practice, where the focus is still on the target form, but have more freedom over what to say.(Proactive approach does not necessarily involve explicit instruction or active practice)
  • Reactive grammar teaching(p.122)
    • Reactive grammar teaching: Associated with the distinction between "focus on forms"(proactive, planned instruction) and "focus on form"(Dealing with grammar points when they appear as a source of difficulty in a communicative activity).
    • In the context ofcommunicative activities: Implicit teaching or brief explanations.
    • Example of implicit teaching:
      • Learner: "I goed to the cinema yesterday”
      • Teacher: "Oh, you went to the cinema, did you? What did you see?"
    • In the context of "focus on form", when a problem arises, there is no reason as to why explicit and intensive grammar work, should not be carried out however.
  • Assessing the merits of proactive and reactive teaching(p.123)
    • Studies show that both the reactive and proactive approach has benefist for SLA.
  • Input-based approaches(p.123)
    • Input-based approaches: SLA through exposure to L2. Also seeks to draw learners' attention to the targeted structure(s) to be present in the input material, by highligthing the target structure(s)(Ellis).
    • Argument that aquisition occurs as a result of processing input. There is a relationship between input(exposure) and intake(what the learner is able to produce as result of the exposure)
  •  Output-based approaches(p.124)
    • Output-based approach: Two kinds:
      • One where output is mainly about practising a certain target feature
      • One where output is seen as a stimilious to SLA.
    • Output-based approach based on the view of language aquisition as a skilll.
    • Feedback must be explicit and immediate.
  • Explicit and implicit teaching(p.125)
    • Explicit teaching critized for being mostly beneficial for only learners with analytical learning styles.
      • Also critized by Krashen —> conscious learning cannot become part of the acquired store available for spontaneous production.
    • No evidence for Krashens notion however, according to Gregg(p.126)
    • Ellis argues that explicit knowledge can be transformed in to implicit knowledge, if the learner is ready to learn(natural order of development)
    • Conclusion: The two teaching/learnings styles are not mutually exclusive, and can be combined and/or varied.
  • Learning and teaching context(p.126)
    • Age: Adult are more likely to benefit from explicit instruction due to systematic, analytical and logical thinking capacities.
    • Level: Language level and competencies are to be considered if when and how a reactive or proactive approach should be taken.(p.126)
    • Learner's expectations: Theory that grammar is taught to meet learners' expectations to language learning. —> to satisfy a psychological need.
    • Learner abilities: Learner abilities in L1 will influence the benefits of an explicit approach.
  • The nature of the language point to be taught(p.127)
  • Conclusion(p.127)
Emil Alexander Holm Thorsen