Magic! Poirot in the Olympics and Harry Potter in India! A Thematic Approach to Teaching Grammar
What does teaching grammar mean? “… teaching grammar means enabling language students to use linguistic forms accurately, meaningfully and appropriately .” (Diane Larsen-Freeman – 1991)
No Smoking “ You mustn’t smoke. ” “ You can’t smoke here .” “ Smoking is not allowed here .”
The Thematic Approach to Teaching Grammar is a form of Content-Based Instruction . We are exposed to learn about listening reading speaking writing a topic , an issue , rather than language . We practice about the topic rather than language . Language skills are developed along the way as the tool needed to deal with the topic in question. This is considered to be a natural way of developing language ability.
1 . An appropriate theme is selected for each structure to be taught. appropriate for
the Ss’ age and interests
the Ss’ developmental stage
Authenticity is an issue: a grammar point should not be forced .
2 . Vocabulary “ webs ” or schemata are built, which hold both vocabulary and grammar in long-term memory.
3 . Even suitable -for the level you teach- authentic material, should be supplemented with advance organisers : do not become demotivated visuals and realia titles, summaries and textual organisers Thus, learners are able to attach meanings to text are challenged one step beyond their present grasp of meanings and stuctures pre-posed questions
4 . Students are allowed to: “ discover ” patterns within the text comprehend and acquire linguistic and conceptual complexity which has been gradually built in within the module through rephrasing and repetition produce structures in a contextualized environment and on discourse rather than sentence level
5 . Better reading skills are promoted while exploring grammar and syntax within a text.
6 . Mechanical and meaningful practice are provided so that learners focus on the form as well as on the meaning of the structure that is relevant to the theme that is being discussed.
7 . If two grammar points occur together , they are taught together within the same module.
8 . Students are empowered to transfer their grammar knowledge into improved performance. Opportunities are provided for students to produce extended discourse.
9 . Recycling and Revision should be allowed regularly so as to enhance consolidation and give students the opportunity to use language taught in different contexts.
10 . We should test as we teach. Consistency is important when assessing. Assessment tasks should be designed thematically.
Advantages of Teaching Grammar through a Thematic Module
Learning grammar becomes more interesting and motivating . Learner motivation increases when students are learning about something, rather than just studying grammar. Ss can use grammar to fulfill a real purpose, which can make them both independent and confident.
The classroom becomes more authentic because students learn to use their grammar skills in real-life situations. Students can develop a much wider knowledge of the world, which helps them improve and support their general educational needs.