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Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 105 ( 2013 ) 398 409

1877-0428 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


Selection and peer-review under responsibility of Centre for Environment-Behaviour Studies (cE-Bs), Faculty of Architecture, Planning & Surveying,
Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia.
doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.11.042
ScienceDirect
AicE-Bs2013London
Asia Pacific International Conference on Environment-Behaviour Studies
University of Westminster, London, UK, 4-6 September 2013
"From Research to Practice"

to Teach Grammar
Tengku Nazatul Shima Tengku Dato Paris
a*
, Rahmah Lob Yussof
b

a
Faculty of Education, Universiti Teknologi MARA Pahang, Kuantan 25200, Pahang, Malaysia
b
Faculty of Computer & Mathematical Sciences , Universiti Teknologi MARA Pahang, Kuantan 25200, Pahang, Malaysia
Abstract
Board game is useful in mastering complicated grammar structures. This research involves board game strategy that
consists of four elements: error correction, asking questions, giving responses and forming sentence. The study
involved Pre TESL students of UiTM Pahang, Kuantan Campus. The researchers used pie charts to analyse the data
from questionnaire 1 and questionnaire 2. Some of the benefits of using board game are it eliminates fear in learning
grammar, helps to develop self-confidence and enables the students to use new words and structures unconsciously.
This research aims to help the respondents to explore a challenging and fearless learning environment.

2013 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and peer-review under responsibility of the Centre for Environment-
Behaviour Studies (cE-Bs), Faculty of Architecture, Planning & Surveying, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia.

Keywords: Time trap; grammar; tenses; board game
1. Introduction
There is no doubt that form plays a prime role in second language (L2) acquisition. Meanwhile, the
focus on form alone will limit the success of embracing the L2 to a greater height. Besides form,
meaning also plays an important role for L2 acquisition. English language teachers should help the
students to see grammar comprehensive term that incorporates all the branches of linguistics in the
process of relating form to meaning, and meaning to situation, which is the main concept of functional
grammar (Adam Ismail, 2013). One way of doing this is using the communicative activity. The
communicative activities that consist of accurate structure will help to develop accuracy in language
learning. Besides, concrete, high-interest activities will bring meaningful language activities to students.

*
Corresponding author. Tel.:+60199515668; fax: +6095142372.
E-mail address: tnshima@pahang.uitm.edu.my.
Available online at www.sciencedirect.com
2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Selection and peer-review under responsibility of Centre for Environment-Behaviour Studies (cE-Bs), Faculty of Architecture,
Planning & Surveying, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia.
399 Tengku Nazatul Shima Tengku Dato Paris and Rahmah Lob Yussof / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 105 ( 2013 ) 398 409
The concrete activities allow students to move around doing things rather than just listening or reading in
the language classrooms. For instance, the students may involve in game playing that needs them to
discover or use the language. It might also involve vocabulary game, cross word puzzle or even treasure
hunt game that require students to fulfill certain tasks in order to solve the language mystery. While
playing the games, the students will definitely stumble upon errors or mistakes. They will need to correct
(Brown, 2000) In his ten commandments for building strategic competence
believes that students have to work on their own errors. They need to identify their own errors and work
on correcting the errors themselves. Novelty and risk of a new situation or experience only add to the
intensity and pleasure of play. The player is able to be in control of being out of control and so enjoys a
sense of both risk and mastery simultaneously (Gordon & Esbjorn-Hargens, 2007, p.217). This risk
taking activity will later on help them to be independent language learners. Play is a broad-based
spectrum of consciousness that includes different degrees of: freedom from constraint, openness, novelty,
flexibility, lightheartedness, cooperation, humor, risk taking, trust, creativity, vulnerability, and positive
emotion (Schwartz & Braff, 2012). Moreover, the excitement of playing the game will unconsciously
help the students to learn and acquire the language. Hence, it is important for educators to come out with
meaningful and beneficial activities to help the students to master the language.
Previous studies have emphasized on the value of game playing in language learning. There are
many positive outcomes that can be seen after board games are used in the classrooms (Tengku Nazatul
Shima & Rahmah (2012). This will later on help the students to develop their self-confidence while
playing language games (Guerrero, Augistina, 2001). Nevertheless, there is lack of studies in using board
games to teach grammar tenses. Hence this study aims to discover whether board game is beneficial in
enhancing grammar tenses.
The Pre TESL students of UiTM Kuantan Campus always have problems in understanding the
concepts and rules of grammar tenses. Furthermore, they fail to understand the sentence structure, the
relation from one sentence to another and the relation of sentences in a paragraph. To summarize, they
often get confused with the complicated rules of grammar. They have difficulty seeing beneath the
surface of the words to the complexity of the ideas expressed in complex, interrelated language
structures (Azar.B, 2007). The weak grammar concept makes them unable to express themselves
accurately and proficiently. Grammar is not just a dry list of facts and rules. It is in our heads, and it is
a living resource that gives us the ability to communicate our ideas and feelings and to understand what
other people say or write to us 2003). The researcher believes that another alternative
method has to be used in helping the students to score in their grammar tests. Mastering the grammar
concept will eventually produce proficient language learners. Since there are many advantages of using
games in the previous studies, this study seeks to find answers to two pertinent research questions:
1. What are the beneficial effects of using board games in grammar lessons?
2. What are the suitable board game activities to be carried out in grammar lessons?
quantitative paper
where the findings were based on the results of the pre and post-tests grammar questions. The pre-test
was administered at the beginning of research, and the post-tests were administered after the use of board
games in grammar lessons. On the other hand, the findings of this
perceptions to see whether board game in any way helps them to master the grammar concept.
2. Literature review
A study carried out by (Husam Rushdi, 2011) involves a mixture of four educational games to teach
grammar to the twelfth grade students
400 Tengku Nazatul Shima Tengku Dato Paris and Rahmah Lob Yussof / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 105 ( 2013 ) 398 409
served to teach
of games marks improvement in the
Moreover, there is a shift to a more positive classroom atmosphere and spirit in the
classroom. The use of different types of games permits students to explore different kinds of excitement.
Simultaneously, they are able to discover and master different kinds of grammar elements.
Unlike the first study, another study carried out by (Ching Chao Feng, 2011) involves only one game
. Unlike the first study, this stud
interest in acquiring L2 in Taiwanese elementary school. The students will discover English vocabulary
Similarly, with the
first study, this study also reveals the benefits of game playing.
proficiency especially the low achievers. The students are seen to be more focused and more enthusiastic
in the English lessons. The matching of pictures and words activity will encourage a lot of communicative
activities. This will later on lead to vocabulary building.
Another study carried out by (Rustic, 2007) was also based on a single game to teach grammar in order
to improve college students writing skill. The game was
consist of long, compound-complex sentences including some adjectives and adverbs. One example of the
Barking loudly at the mailman, the big black dog scared the children playing nearby, so they
ran quickly to their mother in the yellow house on the corner
small groups have to erase at least three words per turn so that the remaining words will form a complete
sentence. The researcher found out that the students managed to play with words by removing several
words. At the same time they manage to form a complete sentence even though the meaning of the
This approach helps students discover their own sentence patterns and
streng Rustic, 2007). The study helps the students to improve their writing
skill as they play with the words at the same time making sure that the sentence still possesses correct
syntax. The good side here is the students are not tied to specific grammar rules as they are in charge of
arranging the words. They need to be creative so that the words carry linguistic meanings. Furthermore,
the game exposes students to different sentence types and will eventually enhance their linguistic ability.
competency in learning a
foreign language. With the right activities and proper guidance, students will benefit a lot in the language
lessons.
To fill up the gap, the researcher intends to focus merely on the use of board game to teach four
grammar tenses (simple present, present progressive, simple past and past progressive). This study seeks
to find out whether the students find any beneficial effects in using board games in their grammar classes.
3. Methodology
A quantitative research design by means of survey was used to answer the research questions. The
population for this study was Pre TESL programme of (UiTM Pahang, Kuantan Campus) who enrolled
into the program in May 2012. There were 115 students who were divided into four groups (A, B, C &
D). The first two groups (A&B) were assigned into the experimental group, and the other two groups (C
& D) were placed into the control group. The total number of samples in the experimental group was 57
and 58 in the control group.
The whole data collection process took around 7 weeks to complete. In week 1, all the 115 respondents
were gathered in one room and were given Questionnaire 1 to answer within 30 minutes. The total
number of treatment given to the experimental group and control group was twice a week, 2 hours each
session. From week 2 until week 7, the students from the experimental group had been taught grammar
401 Tengku Nazatul Shima Tengku Dato Paris and Rahmah Lob Yussof / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 105 ( 2013 ) 398 409
that involved tenses (present tense, present progressive, past tense and past progressive) by using
textbook and board games. The first one hour was spent on textbook and the remaining one hour was
spent on board games. There are two board games used in two meetings every week. Altogether there are
12 different board games used throughout week 2 until week 7. At the end of week 7, Questionnaire 2
was administered to the experimental group. They were given 30 minutes to complete it and handed it
back to the researcher.
The data from both Questionnaire 1 and Questionnaire 2 were then analyzed by using the Statistical
Package for Social Sciences (SPSS version 20).
4. Research instrument
There were two research instruments used in the study. The first instrument was questionnaire
whereby 2 sets of the questionnaire were prepared, Questionnaire 1 and Questionnaire 2. Questionnaire 1
attitude and encouragement towards English and their response towards teaching and learning of English
grammar. On the other hand, Questionnaire 2 was only distributed to the experimental group to get
feedback on the treatment given to them.
5. Data collection and analysis
The board game started with the introduction of the rules and regulations of games to make sure the
students know the rules that would lead to a better use of the board games. The board games are designed
in A3 size.
The difference is that snake and ladder game involves numbers whereas this board game involves verb
tenses. There will be 4-5 players in this game. The first player will throw the dice and make a move
according to the number indicated from the dice. Let say the number is 5, then the first player will have
to move his indicator 5 steps forward. He then has to fulfil the task either asking questions, giving
responses, forming sentences or error correction based on which board game that he plays. If the student
gets the correct answer, he will then throw the dice again and keep on playing. If he gives an incorrect
The game is a student centered activity where the peers help to
determine the correction made by the player. If all of the members are still not sure of the answers, then
only they refer to the teacher. The main aim of the game to expose the students to different grammatical
structures. Besides, the game exposes students to a variety of sentence patterns. The emphasis here is to
let the students aware of the clues that can help them to correct the errors. For instance one example of the
sentence in error correction activity Malaysia consisted of 13 states and 1 territory
Here since the statement is about fact, the sentence should be in present form Malaysia consists of 13
states and 1 territory Since the subject (Malaysia) is singular, the verb ta ).
If the player constructs a correct sentence, he will throw the dice again, and if he gets it wrong, the
other player will take his turn, so on and so forth. The main aim here is to let the students to try to use the
language, at the same time try to come out with correct grammatical structure. In addition, the board
games used were related to topics covered in the syllabus of that particular semester. The students from
the control group, on the other hand were taught grammar that involved the same topics for two hours
each session, twice a week by merely using the textbook.



402 Tengku Nazatul Shima Tengku Dato Paris and Rahmah Lob Yussof / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 105 ( 2013 ) 398 409
5.1. The time trap board games
The board game is called time trap as the students will be trapped in time of present, present
continuous, past or past continuous while playing the game. The students have to know the time in order
to play and win in the game. There are 4 types of f board games in this study:
Asking questions - The player has to form questions from the sentences given on the board game. For
example, , so
the question has to be in the past. For example r what did you do
yesterday?
Giving responses - The player has to give responses to the questions given on the board game. For
example,
continuous/progressive, the answer should be in the past continuous/progressive as well. The possible
an
Forming sentences - The player has to form sentences according the verb given on the board game.
For instance, /progressive, the student
has to form a
Error correction - The player has to correct the error from the sentences on the board game. The
errors are on verb tenses. For instance,
This section of the findings will discuss the findings from Questionnaire 1 which have been distributed
to all respondents from both Experimental and Control Group. This is prior to any treatment given to the
experimental group.
The findings from Fig. 1 show that 22.61% of the respondents were male and 77.39% of the
respondents were female. Even though, Fig. 2 reports that 100% of the respondents prefer English subject
but only 40% use English often. Furthermore, 50.43% of the respondents agree and very much agree that
grammar rules are difficult to comprehend while 11.30% very much disagree and disagree to the
statement whereas 38.26% remain neutral. This is supported by (Azar, 2007) They have difficulty seeing
beneath the surface of the words to the complexity of the ideas expressed in complex, interrelated
language structures .
Fig. 1. Gender
403 Tengku Nazatul Shima Tengku Dato Paris and Rahmah Lob Yussof / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 105 ( 2013 ) 398 409
Fig. 2. Use English regularly
Fig. 3. Grammar rules are difficult to comprehend
This section of the findings will discuss findings from Questionnaire 2 which were distributed to the
Experimental Group after the treatment had been given to them.
Fig. 4 shows 52.63% of the respondents were never taught grammar using board game at school
whereas 47.37% were taught grammar using board game. Besides, Fig. 5 points out that 94.74% like to
use board game as compared to other method in learning grammar. On the other hand, 87.72% of the
respondents from Fig. 6 agree that board game eliminates their fear in learning grammar, whereas 12.28%
disagree to it. Then, in Fig. 7, 85.96% of the respondents believe that board game is an enjoyable method,
5.26% very much disagree and 8.77% remain neutral. Besides, 85.96% from Fig. 8 very much agree and
agree that board game enables them to use new words or structure while playing the game 5.26% disagree
and 8.77% remain neutral. This is supported by (Gordon & Esbjorn-Hargens, 2007, p.217). Novelty and N
risk of a new situation or experience only add to the intensity and pleasure of play. The player is able to a
be in control of being out of control and so enjoys a sense of both risk and mastery simultaneously On
404 Tengku Nazatul Shima Tengku Dato Paris and Rahmah Lob Yussof / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 105 ( 2013 ) 398 409
top of that, Fig. 9 reports that 91.23% of the respondents believe that board game helps to build self- ff
confidence, whereas 1.75% disagree with the statement and 7.02% remain neutral. On the other hand, Fig.
10 reports that 59.65% of the respondents believe that board game helps them to learn and use English
unconsciously when playing, 35.09% disagree to it, and 5.26% remain neutral. This is supported by
(Tengku Nazatul Shima & Rahmah 2012). There are many positive outcomes that can be seen after
board games are used in the classrooms. Board game provides meaningful context in language lessons.
The game that requires competition makes them focus and think deeply in order to win. Without
realizing, they will able to acquire the language unconsciously. On the other hand, the findings from the
suitable board game activities preferred by students in grammar lessons show that the most preferred
activity is giving responses that are 35.09%. This is followed by forming sentences 26.32% then 22.81%
for asking questions. The least preferred activity is error identification which is 15.79 % (Fig. 11). This
shows that the easiest board game activity, which is giving response is voted as the most preferred
activity by students. In this game, the students can give responses easily using the correct tenses. Unlike
forming sentences activity, they find it a bit difficult to form complete sentences using appropriate
tenses. This takes quite some time for them to fulfil the task. It is even more difficult for students to
complete the asking questions activity as they need to reverse their thinking. Normally we use to ask
questions first then only giving the answer. In this activity the students have to construct the questions
from the sentences given. The least preferred activity, which is error identification needs the students
to comprehend the grammar structures in order to identify and correct the errors from the sentences. This
is the hardest activity as they take some time to distinguish and improve the sentences using the right
grammatical elements.
Fig. 4. Exposure to board game
405 Tengku Nazatul Shima Tengku Dato Paris and Rahmah Lob Yussof / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 105 ( 2013 ) 398 409
Fig. 5. Like to use board game
Fig. 6. Board game eliminates fear
Fig. 7. Board game is enjoyable
406 Tengku Nazatul Shima Tengku Dato Paris and Rahmah Lob Yussof / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 105 ( 2013 ) 398 409
Fig. 8. Able to use new words or structure
Fig. 9. Build self- ff confidence
Fig. 10. Learn and use English unconsciously
407 Tengku Nazatul Shima Tengku Dato Paris and Rahmah Lob Yussof / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 105 ( 2013 ) 398 409
Fig. 11. Suitable board game activities
6. Discussion
Non threatening environment will put the students at ease in grammar lessons. When the students are
relax, they are able to learn better. In other words, they are able to digest the grammatical elements when
they are not under pressure. Therefore, it is very important for educators to design fun yet meaningful
games so that it will benefit the students in learning grammar.
7. Conclusion and recommendations
Board Game offers students an enjoyable and relaxing learning environment. It permits students to be
in a fun surrounding while playing the game. While drawing themselves to the games, the students'
attention is on the game, not on the grammar elements. Their aim is to win and not to focus on the
correctness of the linguistic elements. This will eliminate the fear of being judged in public that will
hamper their will to learn the language. Without them noticing board game actually helps the students to
enjoy and build their self- ff confidence. It also helps the students to learn and use new words and new
structures unconsciously. It is also very important for the educators to make sure that the students have
enough practice, be exposed to variety of grammatical structures and have opportunity to embrace the
form and function. Moreover, the students have to be encouraged to take risks and evaluate their own
learning while playing the games.
The most obvious direction for future work is due to the limitation imposed by this study that merely
focuses on TESL foundation students of UiTM Pahang. It is recommended that a larger sample from
schools or other institutions is used to obtain a more comprehensive findings. More insights may be
received in future studies from other grammatical elements for instance the use of board games to teach
vocabulary or the parts of speech.
Acknowledgements
Our special thanks to the TESL foundation students of UiTM Pahang, Kuantan Campus for making
this paper possible.
408 Tengku Nazatul Shima Tengku Dato Paris and Rahmah Lob Yussof / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 105 ( 2013 ) 398 409
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409 Tengku Nazatul Shima Tengku Dato Paris and Rahmah Lob Yussof / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 105 ( 2013 ) 398 409
Appendix A.





















































The layout of the board game adapted by Azar. B. (1997). Fun with Grammar