www.nvcc.edu/workfo
EDUC 1820:
Teaching Grammar

American Culture & Language Institute, TESOL Certificate Program
Northern Virginia Community ...
Overview
• Approaches to Teaching Grammar
– Grammar in earlier language-teaching approaches
– Contemporary views of gramma...
Reflection and Discussion
• When and where did you learn grammar
(English or other languages)?
– Do you remember how it wa...
Earlier Grammar Approaches
Approach/Method
Grammar-Translation
Method
(1800-mid 1900s)

Advantages
•
•

Explicit teaching ...
Grammar Translation Activity
• Instruction and grammar explanations occur
only in the L1.
• Production occurs through tran...
Earlier Grammar Approaches
Approach/Method
Audiolingual Method
(1950s-1970s)

Advantages
•
•
•

Emp. on oral
production
Te...
Audiolingual Approach Activity
• Drills using target grammar.
–
–
–
–
–
–

Teacher says: TV
ELLs say: TV
Teacher: watching...
Earlier Grammar Approaches
Approach/Method

Advantages

Limitations

Cognitive Approach
(1970s)

•

Grammar must be
•
taug...
Cognitive Approach Activity
• Focus on structure first: Comparatives
big
cheap
small

bigger
cheaper
smaller

• Focus on m...
Current Grammar Approach
Approach/Method

Communicative
Language Teaching
(1970s-Today)

Advantages

•
•
•

•
•

Communica...
Communicative Language Teaching Activity
• Dialog substitutions with photographs
– Student 1 shows a photograph & asks a q...
Not ALL Grammar Matters
“As teachers, we need to be aware of how the
language is changing and adjust our grammar
syllabus ...
Grammar Structure
& Language Function
• How do people in the students’ environment
actually use the grammar?
• How frequen...
Identify the Environments
The environment impacts the grammar we teach.
• Where do students
speak English?
–
–
–
–

Commun...
Function-Based Grammar
The students’ functions impact the grammar we teach.
Language Function

Grammar Structure

Describe...
Frequency of Use
The frequency of exposure to/use of English impacts
the grammar we teach.
Frequency in Speech

Grammar St...
Conveying Meaning
Teach grammar that has the greatest impact on
meaning in the mode students use most often.
Impact on Spe...
Teaching Implicitly or Explicitly?
• Implicit teaching exposes ELLs to material
containing the target grammar = context.
–...
Teaching Implicitly or Explicitly?
(cont.)

• Language level
– Grammar terminology doesn’t help ELLs
write/speak.
– It hel...
Teaching Implicitly or Explicitly?
(cont.)

• Goals for studying English
– Employment or higher ed?

• Hybrid approach of ...
Teaching Grammar Implicitly
• Promotes fluency.
• Pretask:
– Students view, listen to, or read material
containing the tar...
Teaching Grammar Implicitly (cont.)
• Task:
– Students identify and interact with the target
grammar:
•
•
•
•

Tell a stor...
Teaching Grammar Implicitly (cont.)
• Post Task:
– Focus on Form:
• Respond to any errors created.
• Provide a clear expla...
Put it into Practice
• Work in pairs/small groups to create a 10 min
mini lesson
– Focus on one grammar point.
– Consider ...
Useful Sources
• Grammar Practice Activities, Ur 1988
• Teaching Grammar in Adult ESL Programs,
Savage, Bitterlin, & Price...
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Educ 1820 teaching grammar

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Teaching grammar communicatively to adult ELLs

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Educ 1820 teaching grammar

  1. 1. www.nvcc.edu/workfo
  2. 2. EDUC 1820: Teaching Grammar American Culture & Language Institute, TESOL Certificate Program Northern Virginia Community College www.nvcc.edu/workfo
  3. 3. Overview • Approaches to Teaching Grammar – Grammar in earlier language-teaching approaches – Contemporary views of grammar instruction • Grammar Structure and Language Function • Teaching Grammar Implicitly vs. Explicitly • Put it into Practice www.nvcc.edu/workfo
  4. 4. Reflection and Discussion • When and where did you learn grammar (English or other languages)? – Do you remember how it was taught? – Did learning grammar improve your fluency/ability to use the language to communicate? • What do you think is the most effective way to teach grammar? www.nvcc.edu/workfo
  5. 5. Earlier Grammar Approaches Approach/Method Grammar-Translation Method (1800-mid 1900s) Advantages • • Explicit teaching of grammar rules Attention paid to lang. forms Limitations • • • Direct Method (early 1900s) • • • Grammar taught explicitly Lessons begin with a story Use of visuals to convey meaning • • No communicative practice Reliance on translation Focus on reading Inductive presentation is unsuitable for Ss who need rules Minimal reading and writing www.nvcc.edu/workfo
  6. 6. Grammar Translation Activity • Instruction and grammar explanations occur only in the L1. • Production occurs through translation from L1 to L2. – Hast du mein Buch? – Do you have my book? www.nvcc.edu/workfo
  7. 7. Earlier Grammar Approaches Approach/Method Audiolingual Method (1950s-1970s) Advantages • • • Emp. on oral production Teacher models pronunciation Use of drills to reinforce grammar patterns Limitations • • Rote exercises reduce cognitive engagement Activities designed to prevent learner errors = reduced negotiation of meaning www.nvcc.edu/workfo
  8. 8. Audiolingual Approach Activity • Drills using target grammar. – – – – – – Teacher says: TV ELLs say: TV Teacher: watching TV ELLs: watching TV Teacher: She is watching TV. ELLs: She is watching TV. www.nvcc.edu/workfo
  9. 9. Earlier Grammar Approaches Approach/Method Advantages Limitations Cognitive Approach (1970s) • Grammar must be • taught inductively or deductively • Natural Approach (1980s) • Language is presented in a “natural” sequence • • Emphasis on analyzing structure Reduced communicative practice Grammar not explicitly taught Focus on input (listening) can delay output (speaking) www.nvcc.edu/workfo
  10. 10. Cognitive Approach Activity • Focus on structure first: Comparatives big cheap small bigger cheaper smaller • Focus on memorizing irregular forms. good better www.nvcc.edu/workfo
  11. 11. Current Grammar Approach Approach/Method Communicative Language Teaching (1970s-Today) Advantages • • • • • Communication is the • goal Emphasis on meaningful interaction Course includes language functions Use of authentic texts and contexts Grammar is taught after context is presented (Focus on Form) Limitations Student buy-in can be limited initially as there isn’t the focus on rules first - Savage, Bitterlin, & Price, 2010 www.nvcc.edu/workfo
  12. 12. Communicative Language Teaching Activity • Dialog substitutions with photographs – Student 1 shows a photograph & asks a question to elicit the target grammar: • What’s Brian doing? – Student 2 answers the question using the same target grammar: • He’s walking his dog. – Students switch roles after 5 turns. – Teacher notes errors and follows up with a Focus on Form. www.nvcc.edu/workfo
  13. 13. Not ALL Grammar Matters “As teachers, we need to be aware of how the language is changing and adjust our grammar syllabus to reflect those changes. We should avoid spending time on grammar that is not commonly used.” - Savage, Bitterlin, & Price, 2010 www.nvcc.edu/workfo
  14. 14. Grammar Structure & Language Function • How do people in the students’ environment actually use the grammar? • How frequently is the grammar used? • Does the grammar occur in all four skill areas? – Spoken and written grammar are different. • Is grammar essential to conveying meaning? www.nvcc.edu/workfo
  15. 15. Identify the Environments The environment impacts the grammar we teach. • Where do students speak English? – – – – Community Work School Home • With whom do they speak English? – – – – – Co-workers Friends Teachers Children Teachers www.nvcc.edu/workfo
  16. 16. Function-Based Grammar The students’ functions impact the grammar we teach. Language Function Grammar Structure Describe past activities Past tense Request permission/information Modals can (informal) or may (formal) Give directions Imperatives Describe future wishes Future tense Ask questions Wh/How word order Give advice Modals should or ought to www.nvcc.edu/workfo
  17. 17. Frequency of Use The frequency of exposure to/use of English impacts the grammar we teach. Frequency in Speech Grammar Structure Frequent exposure be going to + verb Some exposure will + verb Little exposure be + verb + -ing www.nvcc.edu/workfo
  18. 18. Conveying Meaning Teach grammar that has the greatest impact on meaning in the mode students use most often. Impact on Speech Grammar Structure Greatest Impact: Verb tenses Past tense verbs Present tense verbs Future tense verbs Smaller Impact: Third person singular verbs Verb + -s Smallest Impact: Case Unreal conditional Subject: who Object: whom If I was vs. If I were www.nvcc.edu/workfo
  19. 19. Teaching Implicitly or Explicitly? • Implicit teaching exposes ELLs to material containing the target grammar = context. – Helps teacher and students identify what the ELLs already know. • Explicit teaching exposes ELLs to grammar without context. Assumes students do not know the target grammar. – Less effective at identifying what ELLs know. www.nvcc.edu/workfo
  20. 20. Teaching Implicitly or Explicitly? (cont.) • Language level – Grammar terminology doesn’t help ELLs write/speak. – It helps them talk about the structure. • Educational background – Have they learned grammar in their L1? – Do ELLs use the same terminology? www.nvcc.edu/workfo
  21. 21. Teaching Implicitly or Explicitly? (cont.) • Goals for studying English – Employment or higher ed? • Hybrid approach of implicit and explicit meets most ELLs’ needs: – Introduces the grammar implicitly in context – Follows with explicit explanation/correction based on ELLs’ production. www.nvcc.edu/workfo
  22. 22. Teaching Grammar Implicitly • Promotes fluency. • Pretask: – Students view, listen to, or read material containing the target grammar • teacher created or student created • photographs, podcasts, fiction/non-fiction www.nvcc.edu/workfo
  23. 23. Teaching Grammar Implicitly (cont.) • Task: – Students identify and interact with the target grammar: • • • • Tell a story about the photograph. Circle the past tense verbs. Correct the past tense verb errors (orally or in writing). Write a paragraph about your last weekend. www.nvcc.edu/workfo
  24. 24. Teaching Grammar Implicitly (cont.) • Post Task: – Focus on Form: • Respond to any errors created. • Provide a clear explanation with examples from Task. www.nvcc.edu/workfo
  25. 25. Put it into Practice • Work in pairs/small groups to create a 10 min mini lesson – Focus on one grammar point. – Consider how you will group students (pairs, small groups) – Consider how you will assess what students have learned. • Teach us! www.nvcc.edu/workfo
  26. 26. Useful Sources • Grammar Practice Activities, Ur 1988 • Teaching Grammar in Adult ESL Programs, Savage, Bitterlin, & Price 2010 • www.azargrammar.com/materials/FWG_TOC .html www.nvcc.edu/workfo

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