Task 1: Essay taskTo what extent is the teachers’ understanding of the concepts and theories of grammar helpful tothe teaching of grammar in schools? Your discussion should hinge largely on your own response,supported with relevant literature where necessary.Through understanding the concepts and theories of grammar, teachers can select differentstrategies and approaches to be used when teaching grammar to students in school. Students needto be exposed of creative and interesting lessons so that the learning process will be easier for thestudents to comprehend as it is one way to reinforce proper grammar. Besides, teachers can adaptor adopt materials from any resources to be used in the Teaching and Learning (T&L) processwith regards to Malaysian context. Teachers can design creatively the materials that they selectto suit the students’ level of ability and environment. Having lessons in creative and fun ways ofpresentation will help teachers to have a more interactive teaching process. By using varieties of concepts and theories, teachers can provide meaningful explanationto students with practical as well as students’ friendly examples, as meaningful activities allowstudents to use grammar in appropriate context. For instance, the lesson taught can be in terms ofstudent-centred whereby teachers act as facilitators, as a change from using the same traditionalprocedure type of teaching grammar. This will nurture the students’ habits of thinking criticallyand creatively when generating ideas during lessons. In teaching grammar, enhancing meaningful interaction between teachers and studentscan make teachers’ teaching and learning process become successful when the objectives of thelessons are achieved, through using different concepts and theories. Nevertheless, teachers haveto have the knowledge and understanding of these concepts and theories and know which tochoose to suit the lesson of the day with regards to the conduciveness of the students’environment and relevance to Malaysian’s schools setting. By doing so, students can generatemore ideas and allow them to obtain fundamental insight solutions to teaching problems. In
addition, teachers can diagnose the students’ knowledge of level of competence as well asperformance of grammar. Besides, teachers can also identify the errors or mistakes made by the students in relationto the selected concepts and theories through assessment and diagnostic. But most of all, teacherscan do self-evaluation to make sure they are on the right procedure of teaching grammar tostudents. Having good grasped of concepts and theories will make teachers perform successfullyduring the teaching and learning process. As Sten (1983) had stated, a good language teachingtheory would meet conditions and needs of learners in the best possible ways. In other words,understanding theory and concept allows teachers to select the tools and techniques that willwork best with specific students and learning goals, apply those principles in a coherent manner,and adapt instructions as students’ needs change.
Task 2: Critical evaluation of language tasksSelect TWO language tasks from any work book. One should be designed for the teaching ofgrammar as product and the other for the teaching of grammar as process. Give a briefdescription of the selected language tasks. Compare and critically evaluate each task, focusing onthe relevance of each to the teaching and learning of grammar in Malaysian schools. A copy ofthese language tasks should be submitted as part of your portfolio.Teaching grammar as skill to students is to help them leap from the careful control of grammaras product to the effective use of grammar as process. The product teaching focuses on thingslearnt at the end of the learning process which is the outcomes, for example, writing letters,compositions, notes and reports as they focus on grammatical, functional and lexical outcomes.Whilst the process teaching, it focuses on the processes students use to complete their task, suchas collecting information, organizing ideas, drafting and revising. In response to the tasks given, I have selected two language tasks, one product-oriented(Refer Appendix 1) and one process-oriented (Refer Appendix 2), both designed to Year Fivestudents. When compared, the product activity task differs from that of the process activity task.The product based activity requires a careful control of form for students while the process basedactivity emphasises the use of language by the students. However, in introducing the topic, bothproduct and process must involve where teachers should first focus on the grammar used, andthen later deal with grammatical problems used. The product-based activity is a student-centred whereby students are required to beactively engaged during the whole process as this approach largely concerned the forms of thewritten products that students compose. For the process-based, it is a teacher-centred wherebyteachers need to constrain and regulate the students’ involvement and fashioning context topromote the activation of grammar as well as participation. So I think the product-based task ismore suitable to teaching of grammar as it promotes students grammar and diction as well astheir critical and creative thinking skills. This is further supported by Chia-Hsiu Tsao as cited
from http://www.ntnu.edu.tw/acad/epub/j51/j511-2.htm. Chia suggests that the product-orientedapproach is more effective than the process-oriented one in improving the students grammarand diction. Nevertheless, good product depends on good process. In terms of exploitability, the product-based task is more suitable to high average studentswhile the process-based task is preferable to medium average students. Referring to the selectedactivities, the product task needs students to fill in the blanks given for part (a) and to rewrite thesentences for part (b), emphasizing the grammar and avoiding errors as possible. For the processtask, students need to develop ideas from the given notice through reading the notice first thenformulate the answers by completing the message and fitting their ideas into the blanks in theframework given. But teachers should bear in mind that there are limitations to that of product-based activity as we can never be sure of the use of grammar in real-life communication. For theprocess-based activity, students are explicitly preoccupied in the procedures of language use withteachers’ guidance, so that the students can give answers expressively and effectively.
Task 3: Designing a language taskThis part of the assignment requires you to design a language task to teach grammar to a specificgroup of learners. Select an approach of teaching of grammar that you deem appropriate andcreate the relevant worksheet(s) for the task.a) Briefly describe the language task and its objective(s)b) Justify the selected approach in terms of its relevance to the task, andc) Explain how the task can promote the understanding of grammar among the target learners.a) The Language Task and Its ObjectivesThe language task is focused to Year Six students of average performance, whereby they havethe ability to state and share their opinions based on their previous knowledge related to thetopic. The language task focus to the theme ‘World of Knowledge’ and environmental valueswill be inserted related to the students’ real-life. The task will be carried out for about thirtyminutes. The objective of the language task is to define vocabulary used in the passage andunderstand the importance of forest conservation. Besides that, students are able to enhance theirreading and writing skills as well as improve their critical and creative thinking skills and raisetheir awareness about the target language.b) The Selected ApproachThe approach used in the language task is a task-based approach. In this approach, the focus ofclassroom activities is on the task given by the teacher. Here, the students begin by carrying outcommunicative task with guidance from the teacher. The students are brainstormed and allowingthem to use the language they want, freeing them to focus entirely regarding with thecharacteristics of forest. This makes it closer to a real-life communicative situation. The studentswill work in groups and in pairs according to teacher’s instructions.
The teacher uses hand-outs of the passage, ‘True Guardians of the Forest’, (ReferAppendix 3) and gives instruction to students to read. Then, teacher will discuss the content ofthe passage and the vocabulary as well as the terminologies, before the students are asked tocomplete the worksheets 1 and 2 prepared by the teacher.c) How the language task can Promote the Understanding of GrammarThrough using the selected approach, a teacher can promote the understandings of grammar tothe students of the target language through introducing the vocabulary and the meaning of thewords used. Throughout the process, the teacher will use appropriate grammar throughinstructions, making minimal errors when dealing with the skills used which are speaking,reading and writing skills. When the teacher gives information regarding the topic, at the sametime, the students will be engaged in content that requires them to be meaningfully involved,requiring them to understand, notice, pay attention and react. The students are able to learn thegrammar through focusing on the form, meanings of words and the used of the structure thathave simple and friendly examples. In addition, working in groups or in pairs will furtherenhance the students’ interest in participating through interaction during the process of teachingand learning.