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0 Share your experience of learning English grammar in

school. What issues did you face at that time?


0 Share your experience of planning and teaching a
grammar lesson to young children. What issues did
you encounter?

Issues 1
Issues related to:
0 To teach or not to teach,
0 What to teach,
0 Approaches & methods,
0 Error correction
0 ellis_grammar.pdf

3. When should we teach grammar? Is it best to teach


grammar when learners first start to learn an L2 or to
wait until later when learners have already acquired
some linguistic competence?
4. Should grammar instruction be massed or distributed

5. Should grammar instruction be intensive (e.g., cover a


single grammatical structure in a single lesson) or
extensive (e.g., cover many grammatical structures in a
single lesson)?
6. Is there any value in teaching explicit grammatical
knowledge?

Explicit grammar teaching focuses on language forms presentation, explain


the grammar rules and practice through drilling hold a traditional view of
language teaching. They equate language to grammar mastery and
accurate usage and create bored, disaffected students who can produce
correct forms on exercises and tests, but consistently make errors when
they try to use the language in context.

Implicit grammar teaching is without any overt grammar instruction much in


the same way children learn their mother tongue. They believe that
conscious use of language forms may result in high affective filter and
consequently poor language proficiency and fluency. These teachers prefer
language use to language usage and focus on meaning rather than form.
For language activities, they provide contextualized and authentic language
and do not refer to rules or forms at all.

7. Is there a best way to teach grammar for implicit


knowledge?
8. Should grammar be taught in separate lessons or
integrated into communicative activities?

Issues 2
Issues related to the nature of English Language that can influence decisions
on lesson planning and classroom teaching.
0 Mismatch between form & function

For example , most teachers of English know that the present continuous tense
[verb + ing] (e.g. he is running , they are eating their lunch ) is used to describe
actions taking place now , in the present.
Gerunds for example looks exactly the same as a present participle, and for this
reason it is now common to call both forms 'the -ing form'. However it is useful
to understand the difference between the two. The gerund always has the same
function as a noun (although it looks like a verb), so it can be used:
0 a. as the subject of the sentence:
0 Eating people is wrong.
0 Hunting tigers is dangerous.
0 Flying makes me nervous.

Exceptions to grammar rules. For example , when students think that


they have worked out that the English past tense is formed by adding -ed
to a verb , they are somewhat surprised to come across went , ran , put . In
the same way , it seems peculiar that a noun like sheep does not change in
the plural . It appears that all these words are exceptions to the rule. The
situation is not , of course , quite that simple . There are a number of
English nouns that do not change when they are plural just as there are
some that add an 's' (rooms , girls) while others change the sound of the
word (women , teeth) .
In the same way , some nouns cannot be made plural at all , e.g.
furniture, air , sugar. We don't say , for example , 'I like those two
furnitures .' But then the situation does not get complicated , because if
we use the word 'sugar' to mean 'sugar cube ' we can say' I'd like two
sugars ' . The complexity of English grammar is very depressing for some
teachers - and just as worrying for their students !

Examples
0 Amanda is writing a letter to her aunt.
0 Jamalia is singing.

vs.
0 He is playing rugby next weekend.
0 You are always chatting too much.

Suggestions
0 Keep all examples of the form consistent in function &

meaning.
0 When teaching a new structure, the teacher has to
select a function (& meaning) that the form is used to
express.

Mismatch between form &


function 2
Function:
0 To request someone to do something.
Forms:
0 Put that card down, please.
0 Will you please put that card down?
0 Would you mind putting that card down?
0 Etc.

Suggestions
0 When teaching a particular language function, the

teacher needs to decide on the sentence pattern or


form to present
0 Selecting a the suitable form to teach, depends on the
level of proficiency of the students; the usefulness of
the form in real life communication & its grammatical
complexity.

Exceptions to the rules


0 Another cause of difficulty in learning English.
0 E.g. Regular vs. Irregular Verbs

Plural & Singular Nouns


0 Teachers must take care not to confuse the students.

Mother-tongue Interference
Example 1
0 Difference between L1 & TL
0 E.g. The rule of subject-verb agreement

English, BM & Mandarin


English
I drink.
He/She/Salim drinks.
We/You/They drink.

in

BM
Saya minum.
Dia minum.
Kita/Awak/Mereka minum.

0 Malay & Chinese students often face problems with

this.

Example 2
0 In BM, a sentence with sungguh pun is used with

tetapi.
0 Sungguh pun dia pandai memasak, tetapi dia malas.
0 Many students write:
0 Although she can cook well but she is lazy.

What Other Differences


Between BM & English That May
Make Learning English Difficult
For Our Students?

Issues 3
Lack of motivation to learn grammar.
Grammar learning requires:
0 repetitions & this is often considered boring.
0 perception of rules which may be difficult &
abstract/meaningless.

Some suggestions about teaching


grammar
1. Teach useful and important grammar points.
2. Teach grammar in context.
3. Use visible instruments such as charts, tables,
diagrams, maps, drawings, and realia to aid
understanding;
4. Avoid difficult grammatical terminologies as
much as possible.
5. Allow enough opportunities for practice.
6. Address students mistakes and errors
whenever possible.

Tutorial 1
Read the article provided entitled Current Issues in the
Teaching of Grammar: An SLA Perspective. Present to your
group a summary of the writers ideas for each of the
questions below. How are these issues addressed in Malaysia,
according to the KSSR/KBSR documents?
1. Should we teach grammar, or should we simply create the
conditions by which learners learn naturally?
2. What grammar should we teach?

Tutorial 2
1. Why is it important for an English Language teacher
to have a good grounding in grammar?
2. You wish to teach Tenses to your Year 4 or 5 class.
What issues will you need to address? How will your
decisions shape your planning and teaching of the
grammar lesson?

REFERENCE
Ellis, R. (2006). Current Issues in the Teaching of Grammar:
an SLA Perspective. TESOL Quarterly, 40, 83-105
Moon, J. (2005). Children Learning English.
Oxford: Macmillan
Pinter, A. (2006). Teaching Young Language Learners. Oxford:
OUP
Thornbury, S. (2008). How to Teach Grammar. Essex:
Pearson