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Articles review on approaches and general issues on the teaching of grammar

in the primary ESL classroom based on Malaysia and global setting.

Grammar is the system of a language. People sometimes describe grammar as the


"rules" of a language, but in fact no language has rules. If we use the word "rules", we suggest
that somebody created the rules first and then spoke the language, like a new game. But
languages did not start like that. Languages started by people making sounds which evolved
into words, phrases and sentences. No commonly-spoken language is fixed. All languages
change over time. What we call "grammar" is simply a reflection of a language at a particular
time. In teaching English language, grammar is one of the language items that should be
focused on. There are several approaches can be used in teaching grammar in the ESL
primary schools such as inductive and deductive, covert and covert, and communicative
approach. As compared to other component, there are also some general issues that exist in
teaching grammar. Based on the assignment, I have chosen three articles entitled The Effect
of Dictogloss as a Language Task in Enhancing Students, The Effectiveness of Inductive and
Deductive Approach in Teaching Adverbs of Frequency among Low Achievers and
Grammatical Options in a Task-based Approach.

The first article was talking about Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) which is
also known as Communicative Approach. The communicative approach is based on the idea
that learning language successfully comes through having to communicate real meaning.
When learners are involved in real communication, their natural strategies for language
acquisition will be used, and this will allow them to learn to use the language. Presently,
Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) which is implemented by Malaysian schools was
focusing in giving students favourable opportunities to use the current language freely,
purposefully and in a creative way. Therefore, the essential feature of grammar teaching is
integrated with other skills such as reading and writing. The purpose of this is to motivate
learner-centered and communicative activities throughout the lesson (GOPAL, 2012).

Through Communicative Approach to language teaching, the teachers will need to


choose the appropriate and effective strategies to teach grammar. The issue that appeared in
this article was students in school have insufficient exposure to the language. They only listen,
speak, read and write English during the English lesson. In contrast, the students frequently
converse daily in their own mother tongue (Malay) (GOPAL, 2012). So, the students will not obey
the rules of grammar and only conquer the skill of fluency and not accuracy of grammar.

The second article was different than the first one which is about inductive and
deductive approach. An inductive approach to teaching language starts with examples and
asks learners to find rules. It can be compared with a deductive approach that starts by giving
learners rules, then examples, then practice. In order to help low achievers in acquiring
grammar, extra guidance should be provided in making them understand English grammar.
Therefore, the perception about low achievers who are not outstanding in academic
performance with poor grades in examination can be disputed as they still have potential to
build up their maximum ability with proper approach.

According to the researcher, deductive and inductive approach are the appropriate
approach to be used to teach the low achievers student in Adverb. Adverbs are chosen
because the teacher realized that students of low achievers continue making the same error
in adverb placement even though with a lot of drills, practice and exposure in English
classroom. Therefore, instead of identifying the best approach to help them improve their
understanding of grammar, the teacher wants to help them to acquire the structure in order to
improve the way of composing sentences especially in writing (SULAIMAN, 2012).

The last article was talking about the task-based approach. Task -based learning offers
an alternative for language teachers. In a task-based lesson the teacher doesn't pre-determine
what language will be studied, the lesson is based around the completion of a central task and
the language studied is determined by what happens as the students complete it. One of the
commonly voiced concerns about communicative or task-based approaches is that they may
not treat grammar adequately, but to some extent this is a misconception as grammar plays a
key role in communication. According to the writer, that point was brought to him when he
teaching career in his overseas. A student is having a difficulties using the passive voice note
wrote, My mother was cooked in the kitchen (Carless, 2007).

In my opinion when finished review the three articles above, I am very interested of the
Communicative approach in teaching grammar. This is means, I am strongly agreed with the
first article. The Communicative Language Teaching approach is relevance in the current
Malaysian classroom ELT context as the English language has become the second most
important language to be learnt by the pupils in Malaysia and it is very crucial for them to be
able to speak and communicate using English inside or outside the classroom. This is stated
in the English language syllabus for primary school where the aims are to equip the learners
with basic skills and knowledge of the English language so as to enable them to communicate,
both orally and in writing, in and out of the school. Apart from that, the ELT curriculum explicitly
states that the oracy (listening and speaking) skills should be focused in the primary education,
especially in the early years (KPM, 1995). In relation to classroom context, the pupils are given
the opportunities to communicate using English language in order to help them to negotiate
meaning, expand their language resources, notice how the language is used and take part in
meaningful interpersonal exchange (Richard, 2006). So, the pupils would be able to pick up
and learn the language in a meaningful way, and later they could be able to use that in reading
and writing. It is important therefore that pupils should be provided with the language before
they are expected to produce it and they must also be given opportunities to try out the new
language in controlled practice sessions where they have very little opportunity to make
mistakes (ali, 2003). Gradually control can be released as they are given the opportunity to
use the language freely (KPM, 1995). In the first article, by using Communicative approach
the students will get more accuracy and maybe less of fluency. For me, accuracy is more
important than fluency because lack of accuracy will make people not understand the content
of the message that you want to convey. Moreover, using the Communicative approach in
second article which is to help students to understand the adverb will help students to know
the rules of grammar faster. It is because the students will use the English language more
frequently and get used to it more than just reading and writing. Meanwhile, for the third article,
by using the Communicative approach to handle the difficulties using the passive voice note,
maybe the parents of the students can correct the mistake by talking to their children face to
face and on the spot. It is also can be applied in the classroom because the feedback from
teacher in writing maybe will late a little bit but by using the Communicative approach, the
students will get their feedback immediately and correct the mistake on the spot in the class
lesson.

As a conclusion, some of the approach maybe appropriate at the certain time. It is


because the approach chosen by the teacher will be depends on the objectives and the level
of the students. But here, I am strongly agree that Communicative approach is the best
approach to be used in teaching grammar because it will build up their confidence and make
their grammar of the language more accurate. This will make them understand better in
learning.