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  • Republic of Moldova Ministry of Education ―Ion Creanga‖ State Pedagogical University Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literature English Philology Department Diploma PaperGuidelines on Presenting and Explaining a New Grammatical Structure in the 8th grade Submitted by: Mocanu Elena Gr.301 Scientific adviser: Sagoian E., Ph.D., associate professor Chisinau 2010
  • Contents:Introduction ………………………………………………………………………4Chapter I. Theoretical Survey of the Process of Teaching Grammar1.1 The Importance of Teaching Grammar ………………………………………. 7 1.1.1 The Psychological Characteristics of Grammar Skills ………………. 91.2 Main Dimensions in Teaching Grammar …………………………………… 121.3 General Principles of Grammar Teaching …………………………………... 151.4 The Difficulties Pupils Have in Assimilating English ……………………… 191.5 Guidelines on Giving Effective Explanations ………………………………. 23 1.5.1 Presenting and Explaining Grammar ……………………………..... 24 1.5.2 A General Model for Introducing New Language …………………. 281.6 Grammar Presentation and Practicing Techniques …………………….….... 30Chapter II. Teaching Techniques and Activities on Presenting NewGrammatical Structure in the 8th Grade2.1 Various Grammar Teaching Techniques ……………………………...…….. 32 2.1.1 Presenting Grammar Using Charts and Graphs ……………...…….. 33 2.1.2 Explaining Grammar Using Objects ………………………….……. 36 2.1.3 Clarifying Grammar Using Maps and Other Simple Drawings ….... 38 2.1.4 Teaching Grammar through Dialogues …………………………….. 40 2.1.5 Teaching Grammar Using Games ………………………………….. 43 2.1.6 Teaching Grammar Using Songs …………………………………... 482.2 Types of Exercises for the Assimilation of Grammar ……………………..... 54 2.2.1 Recognition Exercises …………………………………………...…. 54 2.2.2 Drill Exercises ……………………………………………..……….. 55 2
  • 2.2.3 Creative Exercises ………………………………………………….. 58Chapter III. Experimental Analysis of the Theoretical Approach to Presentingand Explaining Grammar in the 8th Grade3.1 Description of the course of the experimental work …………….…..….. …..603.2 Results of the experiment ………………………………………….….….…. 74Conclusion ………………………………………………………….………...… 79Summary ………………………………………………………….………….… 82Bibliography ……………………………………………………….…………… 84Appendix …………………………………………………………….……….… 88 3
  • INTRODUCTION The diploma paper is devoted to the topic “Guidelines on Presenting andExplaining a New Grammatical Structure in the 8th grade”. This investigation isfrom the field of methods of teaching foreign languages. The aim of the foreign language teaching is primary to develop pupils` skillsand understanding English speech and participating in conversation based on thetopics covered. Robert Lado wrote that language functions owing to the languageskills. A person who knows a language perfectly uses a thousand and one grammarlexical, phonetic rules when he is speaking. Language skills help us to choosedifferent words and models in our speech. Grammar is known to be an importantcomponent of the language as a system. Communicative skills without regularusing grammar are limited. Grammar gives the ability to make up sentencescorrectly, to reproduce the text adequately (the development of practical skills andhabits). The knowledge of the specific grammar structure helps pupils point out thedifferences between the mother tongue and the target language. The knowledge ofgrammar develops abilities to abstract systematize plural facts. The best way toform grammar skills is to use a lot of training exercises and individual approach inteaching grammar. The pupils‘ ability in the correct use of grammar dependsmainly on their speaking skills and vocabulary, that‘s why it is necessary forteachers to be better informed of the ways of presenting and practicing grammar. The reason for which this theme has been chosen is the necessity of knowingthe difficulties and problems we can have in using grammar, or just come acrossthem in different kinds of activities or even in speech. It is very important anduseful to know opinions of different scholars on this theme and of course themeans, proceedings and methods used by various scholars, in order to identify,analyse and understand easier and better the English grammar. Taking into accountall these things we will be able to teach and explain it to others in the most 4
  • accessible and easiest way including the most efficient methods and techniques forthe best understanding. The aim of this diploma paper is to present the most accessible andimportant information about teaching English grammar and, of course, the best andworthiest opinions of various scholars from various sources. The main objectives of the present diploma paper are the following: 1. To analyse theoretical works of various methodologists about teaching grammar and to select the most useful ones. 2. To reflect the usage of teaching grammar by means of grammar teaching techniques selected. 3. To point out the characteristics of grammar presentation and explanation. 4. To carry out an experiment in the school concerned with the different types of grammar activities. 5. To reveal the most effective techniques of teaching grammar. To realize all the objectives of the paper, the following methods ofinvestigation were used: 1) Contrastive analysis 2) Generalization 3) Description 4) Comparison 5) Experimental analysis The diploma paper consists of: Introduction, three Chapters, Conclusion,Summary, Bibliography and Appendix. In the Introduction the aim, the objectives of the paper and the methods ofthe research are stated. 5
  • Chapter I contains the theoretical data on what grammar is and presents abrief survey of different approaches to teaching grammar selected from theconsulted sources. Chapter II comprises a number of teaching techniques relevant to the firstchapter. They can be used as a basis in a teaching context or for individuallearning. Chapter III deals with the description of the experiment and its results. The Conclusion contains the results of investigation on the topic. The Summary illustrates the content of the present Diploma Paper. The Bibliography presents the list of sources that deal with the problem ofteaching grammar. The Appendix shows several examples which are not presented in theresearch. This research is quite useful and can have practical value for teaching andstudying English as a foreign language. 6
  • Chapter I THEORETICAL SURVEY OF THE PROCESS OFTEACHING GRAMMAR §1.1 The Importance of Teaching Grammar The teaching of grammar has always been a central aspect of foreignlanguage teaching. For centuries, in fact, the only activity of language classroomswas the study of grammar. The nineteenth century, especially the last half, haschanged all that dramatically. Grammar is a system of rules governing the conventional arrangement andrelationships of words in a sentence. Grammatical competence occupies aprominent position as a major component of communicative competence.Grammatical competence is necessary for communication to take place, but notsufficient to account for all production and reception in language. Grammar givesthe form of the structures of language themselves, but those forms are literallymeaningless without meaning/semantics and use/pragmatics. In other words,grammar tells how to construct a sentence (word order, verb and noun systems,modifiers, phrases, clauses, etc.). Semantics tells us something about the meaningof words and stings of words or, meanings, because there may be several. Thenpragmatics tells us about which of several meanings to assign given the context ofa sentence. Grammar is a reality. It is one of the components of language togetherwith the sound system and vocabulary. A command of the structure of thelanguage of the pupil ensures hearing, speaking, reading and writing. [8, pp.347-348] In order to understand a language and to express oneself correctly one mustassimilate the grammar mechanism of the language studied. Indeed, one may knowall the words in a sentence and yet fail to understand it, if one does not see therelation between the words in the given sentence. And vice versa, a sentence maycontain one, two, and more unknown words but if one has a good knowledge of thestructure of the language one can easily guess the meaning of these words or atleast find them in a dictionary. 7
  • No speaking is possible without the knowledge of grammar, without theforming of a grammar mechanism. If learner has acquired such a mechanism, hecan produce correct sentences in a foreign language. Paul Roberts writes:―Grammar is something that produces the sentences of a language. By somethingwe mean a speaker of English. If you speak English natively, you have built intoyou rules of English grammar. In a sense, you are an English grammar. Youpossess, as an essential part of your being, a very complicated apparatus whichenables you to produce infinitely many sentences, all English ones, including manythat you have never specifically learned. Furthermore by applying the rule you caneasily tell whether a sentence that you hear is a grammatical English sentence ornot.‖ Grammar assumes its logical role as one of several supporting foundationstones for communication. [56, pp.149-150] A command of English as is envisaged by the school syllabus cannot beensured without the study of grammar. Pupils need grammar to be able to aud,speak, read, and write in the target language. Grammar is important because it is the language that makes it possible for usto talk about language. Grammar names the types of words and word groups thatmake up sentences not only in English, but in any language. As human beings, wecan put sentences together even as children. But to be able to talk about howsentences are built, about the types of words and word groups that make upsentences - that is knowledge of grammar. And knowledge of grammar offers awindow into the human mind and into our amazingly complex mental capacity.Teaching grammar is a central concern in English language teaching. [21, pp.18-22] We often talk about ‗knowing‘ the structure of a language. This can mean twothings. First, it can refer to the unconscious ability to use the structure of alanguage to convey meaning. Secondly, ‗knowing‘ the structure of a language mayrefer to the information that has been acquired through studying structuraldescriptions. We call these two types of knowledge ‗unconscious‘ and ‗acquired.‘This distinction is important, because it is relevant what the student needs to know 8
  • and what the teacher needs to know. The student needs to be able to producecorrect sentences automatically. Teachers cannot presume to have taught students aparticular structure by getting them to memorize the rules. [13, pp.78-88] 1.1.1 The Psychological Characteristics of Grammar Skills To develop one‘s speech means to acquire essential patterns of speech andgrammar patterns in particular. Children must use these items automatically duringspeech-practice. The automatic use of grammar items in our speech (oral andwritten) supposes mastering some particular skills – the skills of using grammaritems to express one‘s own thoughts, in other words to make up your sentences. We must get so-called reproductive or active grammar skills. A skill is treated as an automatic part of awareness. Automatization of theaction is the main feature of a skill. The nature of Automatization is characterized by that psychologicalstructure of the action which adapts to the conditions of performing the actionowing frequent experience. The action becomes more frequent, correct andaccurate and the number of the operations is shortened while forming the skill. The character of awareness of the action is changing, i.e. fullness ofunderstanding is paid to the conditions and quality of performing to the controlover it and regulation. To form some skills is necessary to know that the process of the formingskills has some steps: Only some definite elements of the action are automatic. The Automatization occurs under more difficult conditions, when thechild can‘t concentrate his attention on one element of the action. The whole structure of the action is improved and the automatizationof its separate components is completed. What features do the productive grammar skills have? 9
  • During our speech the reproductive grammar skills are formed together withlexis and intonation, they must express the speaker‘s intentions. The actions in the structural setting of the lexis must be learnt. The characteristic feature of the reproductive grammar skills is theirflexibility. It does not depend on the level of Automatization, i.e. on perfection ofskill here mean the original action: both the structure of sentence, and forms of thewords are reproduced by the speaker using different lexical material. If the childreproduces sentences and different words, which have been learnt by him as ―aready-made thing‖ he can say that there is no grammar skill. Learning the ready-made forms, word combinations and sentences occurs in the same way as learninglexis. [11, pp.12-24] The grammar skill is based on the general conclusion - the grammar actioncan and must occur only in the definite lexical limits, on the definite lexicalmaterial. If the pupil can make up his sentence frequently, accurately and correctlyfrom the grammatical point of view, he has got the grammar skill. Teaching grammar at school using the theoretical knowledge brought somecritics and led to confusion. All the grammatical rules were considered to be eviland there were some steps to avoid using them at school. But when we learn grammatical items in models we use substitution andsuch a type of training gets rid of grammar or ―neutralizes‖ it. By the way, teachingthe skills to make up sentences by analogy is a step on the way of forminggrammar skills. It isn‘t the lexical approach to grammar and it isn‘t neutralizationof grammar, but using basic sentences in order to use exercises by analogy and toreduce number of grammar rules when forming the reproductive grammar skills. To form the reproductive grammar skills we must follow such steps: Selection of the model of sentences. Selection of the form of the word and formation of word forms. 10
  • Selection of the auxiliary, words, preposition, articles, and etc. andtheir combination with principle words. The main difficulty of the reproductive (active) grammar skills is tocorrespond to the purposes of the statement, communicative approach (a question an answer and so on), words, and meanings, expressed by the grammaticalpatterns. In that case we use basic sentences, in order to answer the definitesituation. The main factor of the forming of the reproductive grammar skill is thatpupils need to learn the lexis of the language. They need to learn the meanings ofthe words and how they are used. We must be sure that our pupils are aware of thevocabulary they need at their level and they can use the words in order to formtheir own sentence. Each sentence contains a grammar structure. The mastering ofthe grammar skill lets pupils save time and strength, energy, which can giveopportunity to create. Learning a number of sentences containing the samegrammatical structure and a lot of words containing the same grammatical formisn‘t rational. But the generalization of the grammar item can relieve the work ofthe mental activity and let the teacher speed up the work and the children realizecreative activities. The process of creation is connected with the mastering of some speechstereotypes whose grammatical substrat is hidden in basic sentences. Grammar ispresented as itself. Such a presentation of grammar has its advantage: the grammarpatterns of the basic sentences are connected with each other. But this approachgives pupils the opportunity to realize the grammar item better. The teaching mustbe based on grammar explanations and grammar rules. Grammar rules are to beunderstood as a special way of expressing communicative activity. Thereproductive grammar skills suppose to master the grammar actions which arenecessary for expressing thoughts in oral and written forms. The automatic perception of the text supposes the reader to identify thegrammar form according to the formal features of words, word combinations,sentences which must be combined with the definite meaning. One must learn the 11
  • rules in order to identify different grammatical forms. Pupils should get to knowtheir features, the ways of expressing them in the language. We teach children toread and aud by means of grammar. It reveals the relation between words in thesentence. Grammar is of great important when one teaches reading, speaking,writing and auding. The forming of the perceptive grammar and reproductive skills is quitedifferent. The steps of the work in mastering the reproductive skills differ from thesteps in mastering the perceptive skills. To master the reproductive grammar skillsone should study the basic sentences or models. To master the perceptive grammarskills one should identify and analyse the grammar item, so training is of greatimportance to realize the grammar item. [12, pp.263-269]§1.2 Main Dimensions in Teaching Grammar By grammar one can mean adequate comprehension and correct usage ofwords in the act of communication, that is, the intuitive knowledge of the grammarof the language. It is a set of reflexes enabling a person to communicate with hisassociates. Such knowledge is acquired by a child in the mother tongue before hegoes to school. This ‗grammar‘ functions without the individual‘s awareness oftechnical nomenclature, in other words, he has no idea of the system of thelanguage; he simply uses the system. The child learns to speak the language, and touse all the words-endings for singular and plural, for tense, and all the othergrammar rules without special grammar lessons only due to the abundance ofauding and speaking. His young mind grasps the facts and ‗make simple grammarrules‘ for arranging the words to express various thoughts and feelings. [7, p.138] It is not helpful to think of grammar as a discrete set of meaningless,decontextualized, static structures. Nor it is helpful to think of grammar solely asprescriptive rules about linguistic form, such as injunctions against infinitives orending sentences with prepositions. Grammatical structures not only have(morphosyntactic) form, they are also used to express meaning (semantics) in 12
  • contexappropriate use (pragmatics). In order to guide us in constructing anapproach to teaching grammar that strives to meet this definition, it would behelpful to have a frame of reference. Our framework takes form of a pie chart. Its shape helps us to make salientthat in dealing with the complexity of grammar, three dimensions must concern us:structure or form, semantics or meaning, and the pragmatic conditions governinguse. Moreover, as they are wedges of a single pie, we note further that thedimensions are not hierarchically arranged as many traditional characterizations oflinguistic strata depict. Finally, the arrows connecting one wedge of the pie withanother illustrate the interconnectedness of the three dimensions. Thus a change inany one wedge will have repercussions for the other two. FORM/STRCTURE MEANING/SEMANTICS Morphosyntactic Lexical meaning And lexical patterns Grammatical Phonemic/Graphemic meaning Patterns USE/ PRAGMATICS Social context, Linguistic discourse context Presuppositions about context Despite the permeable boundaries between the dimensions, it is useful toview grammar from these three perspectives. A teacher of grammar might begin byasking the questions posed in the three wedges of the pie for any given grammarpoint: How is it formed? What does it mean? When/Why is it used? 13
  • Let us consider an example. A common structure to be taught at a high-beginning level of English proficiency is the ‘s possessive form. If we analyse thispossessive form as answers to our questions, we would fill in the wedges as below. Possessive FORM MEANING ’s or s’ Description, amount, /z/~/s/~/z/ Possession Relationship Part/whole Origin/agent USE ’s versus of the ’s versus possessive determiner ’s versus noun compoundsForm. This way of forming possessives in English requires inflecting regularsingular nouns and irregular plural nouns not ending in s with ‟s or by adding anapostrophe after the s‘ ending in the sound /s/. This form of the possessive hasthree allomorphs: /z/, /s/ and /z/, which are phonetically conditioned, /z/ is usedwhen it occurs after voiced consonants and vowels, /s/ following voicelessconsonants, and /z/ occurs after sibilants.Meaning. Besides possession, the possessive or genitive form can indicatedescription (a debtor‟s prison), amount (a month‟s holiday), relationship (Jack‟swife), part/whole (my brother‟s hand), and origin/agent (Shakespeare‟s tragedies).Use. Possessions in English can be expressed in other ways – with a possessivedeterminer (e.g. his, her and their) or with the periphrastic of the form (e.g. the legsof the table). Possessive determiners are presumably used when the referent of thepossessor is clear from the context. 14
  • While books will often say that the „of the‟ possessive is used withnonhuman head nouns and ‟s with human head nouns, there are certain conditionswhere this rule does not apply. For example, native speakers often prefer to use the‟s even with inanimate head nouns if the head nouns are performing some actions(e.g. the train‟s arrival was delayed). Finally, students will have to learn todistinguish contexts in which a noun compound (table leg) is more appropriatethan either the ‟s form or the of the form. Teachers would not necessarily present all these facts to students,recognizing that students can and do learn some of them on their own. Andcertainly no teacher would choose to present all these facts in a single lesson or onone occasion. Nevertheless, distributing the features of the target grammaticalstructure among the three wedges of the pie can give teachers an understanding ofthe scope and multidimensionality of the structure. In turn this understanding willguide teachers in deciding which facts concerning the possessive will be taught andwhen and how to do so. All three dimensions will have to be mastered by thelearner (although not necessarily consciously). [26, pp.252-254] [22, pp.6-10]§1.3 General Principles of Grammar Teaching Teaching grammar should be based upon the following principles:1. Conscious approach This means that in sentence patterns teaching points are determined so thatpupils can concentrate their attention on some elements of the pattern to be able touse them as orienting points when speaking or writing the target language. Forexample, I can see a book. I can see many books. The teacher draws pupils‘ attention to the new element in the sentencepattern. The teaching point may be presented in the form of a rule, a very shortone, usually done in the mother tongue. The rule helps the learner to understandand to assimilate the structural meaning of the elements. It ensures a consciousapproach to learning. This approach provides favourable conditions for the speedy 15
  • development of correct and more flexible language use. However it does not meanthat the teacher should ask pupils to say this or that rule. Rules do not ensure themastery of the language. They only help to attain the practical goal. If a pupil canrecognize and employ correctly the forms that are appropriate, that is sufficient.When the learner can give ample proof of these abilities we may say that he hasfulfilled the syllabus requirements. Conscious learning is also ensured when a grammar item is contrastedwith another grammar item which is usually confused. The contrast is brought outthrough oppositions. For example: The Present Simple is contrasted I get up at 7 o‘clock. with the Present Progressive. It‘s 7 o‘clock. I am getting up. He has come. The Present Perfect is contrasted with the Past Simple. He came an hour ago. Give me a book (to read into the train). The indefinite article is contrasted Give me the book (you have promised). with the definite article. I like soup (more than any other food). The zero article is contrasted with the definite article. I like the soup (you have cooked). Rule for the teacher: The teacher should realize difficulties the sentence pattern presents for hispupils. Comparative analysis of the grammar item in English and in Romanian orwithin the English language may be helpful. He should think of the shortest andsimplest way for presentation of the new grammar item. The teacher shouldremember the more he speaks about the language the less time is left to practice. 16
  • The more the teacher explains the less his pupils understand what he is trying toexplain, this leads to the teacher giving more information than is necessary, whichdoes not help the pupils in the usage of this particular grammar item, only hindersthem.2. Practical approach It means that pupils learn those grammar items which they need forimmediate use either in oral or written language. For example, from the first stepsof language learning pupils need the Possessive Case for objects which belong todifferent people, namely, Mike‟s textbook, Ann‟s mother, the girl‟s doll, the boys‟room, etc. The learner masters grammar through performing various exercises inusing a given grammar item. Teachers should teach correct grammar usage and notgrammar knowledge.3. Structural approach Grammar items are introduced and drilled in structures or sentence patterns. It has been proved and accepted by the majority of teachers andmethodologists that whenever the aim to teach pupils the command of thelanguage, and speaking in particular, the structural approach meets therequirements. Pupils are taught to understand English when spoken to and to speak it fromthe very beginning. This is possible provided they have learned sentence patternsand words as a pattern and they know how to adjust them to the situations they aregiven. In our country the structural approach to the teaching of grammar attractedthe attention of many teachers. As a result structural approach to grammar teachinghas been adopted by our schools since it allows the pupil to make up sentences byanalogy, to use the same pattern for various situations. Pupils learn sentencepatterns and how to use them in oral and written language. 17
  • Rule for the teacher: The teacher should furnish pupils with words to change the lexical(semantic) meaning of the sentence pattern so that pupils will be able to use it indifferent situations. He should assimilate the grammar mechanism involved insentence pattern and not the sentence itself.4. Situational approach Pupils learn a grammar item used in situations. For example, the PossessiveCase may be effectively introduced in classroom situations. The teacher takes orsimply touches various things and says: This is Nina‟s pen; That is Sasha‟sexercise-book, and so on. Rule for the teacher: The teacher should select the situations for the particular grammar item he isgoing to present. He should look through the textbook and other teaching materialsand find those situations which can ensure comprehension and the usage of theitem.5. Oral approach Grammar items pupils need for conversation are taught by the oral approach,i.e., pupils aud them, perform various oral exercises, finally see them printed, andwrite sentences using them. For example, pupils need the Present Progressive forconversation. They listen to sentences with the verbs in the Present Progressivespoken by the teacher or the speaker (when a tape recorder is used) and relate themto the situations suggested. Then pupils use the verbs in the Present Progressive invarious oral sentences in which the Present Progressive is used. Grammar itemsnecessary for reading are taught through reading. Rule for the teachers: If the grammar item the teacher is going to present belongs to those pupilsneed for conversation, he should select the oral approach method for teaching. If pupils need the grammar item for reading, the teacher should start withreading and writing sentences in which the grammar item occurs. 18
  • While preparing for the lesson at which a new grammar item should beintroduced, the teacher must realize the difficulties pupils will meet in assimilatingthis new element of the English grammar. They may be of three kinds: difficultiesin form, meaning, and usage. The teacher thinks of the ways to overcome thesedifficulties: how to convey the meaning of the grammar item either throughsituations or with the help of the mother tongue; what rule should be used; whatexercises should be done; their types and number. Then he thinks of the sequencein which pupils should work to overcome these difficulties, i.e., from observationand comprehension through conscious imitation to usage in conversation(communicative exercises). Then the teacher considers the form in which hepresents the grammar item – orally, in writing, or in reading. And, finally, theteacher plans pupils‘ activity while they are learning this grammar item (point):their individual work, mass work, work in unison, and work in pairs, alwaysbearing in mind that for assimilation pupils need examples of the sentence patternin which this grammar item occurs. [56, pp.155-159], [40, pp.14-20] §1.4 The Difficulties Pupils Have in Assimilating English Grammar Tenses - English has a relatively large number of tenses with some quite subtle differences, such as the difference between the simple past "I ate" and the present perfect "I have eaten." Progressive and perfect progressive forms add complexity. Functions of auxiliaries - Learners of English tend to find it difficult to manipulate the various ways in which English uses the first auxiliary verb of a tense. These include negation (e.g. He hasnt been drinking.), inversion with the subject to form a question (e.g. Has he been drinking?), short answers (e.g. Yes, he has.) and tag questions (has he?). A further complication is that the dummy auxiliary verb do /does /did is added to fulfill these functions in the simple present and simple past, but not for the verb to be. 19
  •  Modal verbs - English also has a significant number of modal auxiliary verbs which each have a number of uses. For example, the opposite of "You must be here at 8" (obligation) is usually "You dont have to be here at 8" (lack of obligation, choice), while "must" in "You must not drink the water" (prohibition) has a different meaning from "must" in "You must not be a native speaker" (deduction). This complexity takes considerable work for most English language learners to master. Idiomatic usage - English is reputed to have a relatively high degree of idiomatic usage. For example, the use of different main verb forms in such apparently parallel constructions as "try to learn", "help learn", and "avoid learning" pose difficulty for learners. Another example is the idiomatic distinction between "make" and "do": "make a mistake", not "do a mistake"; and "do a favor", not "make a favor". Articles - English has an appreciable number of articles, including the definite article ‗the‟ and the indefinite article ‗a, an‟. At times English nouns can or indeed must be used without an article; this is called the zero article. Some of the differences between definite, indefinite and zero article are fairly easy to learn, but others are not, particularly since a learners native language may lack articles or use them in different ways than English does. Although the information conveyed by articles is rarely essential for communication, English uses them frequently (several times in the average sentence), so that they require some effort from the learner. [41, pp.63-70] The chief difficulty in learning a new language is that of changing from thegrammatical mechanism of the native language to that of the new language.Indeed, every language has its own way of fitting words together to formsentences. In English, word order is more important than in Romanian. The wordorder in Tom gave Helen a rose indicates what was given (a rose), to whom(Helen), and by whom (Tom). If we change the word order and say Helen gave 20
  • Tom a rose, we shall change the meaning of the sentence. In Romanian, due toinflexions, which are very important in this language, we can say the samesentences without changing the meaning of the sentence, as the inflexion in thewords indicates the object of the action. The inversion of subject and finite verb in Are you… indicates the questionform. In speaking English, Romanian pupils often violate the word order whichresults in bad mistakes in expressing their thoughts. The English tense system also presents a lot of trouble to Romanian-speaking pupils because of the difference which exists in these languages withregard to time and tense relations. For example, the pupil cannot at first understandwhy we must say I have seen him today and I saw him yesterday. For him theaction is completed in both sentences, and he does not associate it in any way withtoday or yesterday. The sequence of tenses is another difficult point of English grammar forRomanian speaking pupils because there is no such phenomenon in their mothertongue. Why should we say She said she was busy when she is busy? The use of modal verbs in various types of sentences is very difficult for thelearner. For example, he should differentiate the use of can and may. Then heshould remember which verb must be used in answers to the questions with modalverbs. For instance, May I go home? No, you mustn’t. May I take your pen?Yes, you may. Must I do it? No, you needn’t. The most difficult point of English grammar is the article. The use of thearticles and other determiners comes first in the list of the most frequent errors.Pupils are careless in the use of ―these tiny words‖ and consider them unimportantfor expressing their thoughts when speaking English. English grammar must begin, therefore, with pupils‘ learning the meaning ofthese structural words, and with practice in their correct use. For example: This isa pen. The pen is red. This is my pen and that is his pen. [57, pp.134-162] 21
  •  The most common grammatical mistakes  Spelling, pupils often misspell words;  Pronouns, pupils often misuse them: everyone, someone, anyone, and no one;  Verb forms, e.g. Where did you went? I am agree. I have 11 years;  Use of the wrong tenses, e.g. If I will come;  Homonym errors, e.g. to – too, your – you‘re, whose – who‘s, principal – principle;  Usage error, e.g. accept – except, advise – advice, affect – effect, really – real, good – well, a lot – allot, regardless – irregardless;  Sentence structure, pupils often form wrong sentences, e.g. What you doing?  Punctuation, pupils often use inaccurate punctuation marks;  Apostrophes, pupils often misuse the apostrophe, e.g. your‘s, paper‘s;  Capitalization, pupils often do not use the necessary capital letters;  Irregular plurals, pupils often mix them, e.g. mens, childrens;  Prepositions, phrasal verbs;  Using the wrong prepositions;  Misuse of the infinitive, verbs, reported speech;  Un-English expressions;  Omission/confusion of prepositions;  Unnecessary articles;  Wrong position of adverbs;  Confusion of number, parts of speech. [42, pp.74-80], [49, 50] The amount of difficulties learners encounter while accomplishing grammartasks can be reduced by applying some techniques and strategies. A number ofefficient methods and useful tips will be described in the following subchapters. 22
  • §1.5 Guidelines on Giving Effective Explanations 1. Prepare You may feel perfectly clear in your mind about what needs clarifying, andtherefore think that you can improvise a clear explanation. But experience showsthat teachers‘ explanations are often not as clear to their students as they are tothemselves. It is worth preparing: thinking for a while about the words you willuse, the illustrations you will provide, and so on; possibly even writing these out. 2. Make sure you have the class’s full attention In ongoing language practice learners‘ attention may sometimes stray; theycan usually make up what they have lost later. But if you are explaining somethingessential, they must attend. This may be the only chance they have to get somevital information; if they miss bits, they may find themselves in difficulties later. 3. Present the information more than once A repetition or paraphrase of the necessary information may make all thedifference: learners‘ attention wanders occasionally, and it is important to givethem more than one chance to understand what they have to do. Also, it helps tore-present the information in a different mode: for example, say it and also write itup on the board. 4. Be brief Learners have only a limited attention span; they cannot listen to you forvery long at maximum concentration. Make your explanation as brief as you can,compatible with clarity. This means thinking fairly carefully about what you can,or should, omit, as much as about what you should include. In some situations itmay also mean using the learners‘ mother tongue, as a more accessible and cost-effective alternative to the sometimes lengthy and difficult target-languageexplanation. 23
  • 5. Illustrate with examples Very often a careful theoretical explanation only ‗comes together‘ for anaudience when made real through an example, or preferably several. You mayexplain, for instance, the meaning of a word, illustrating your explanation withexamples of its use in various contexts, relating these as far as possible to thelearners‘ own lives and experiences. Similarly, when giving instructions for anactivity, it often helps to do an actual demonstration of the activity yourself withthe full class or with a volunteer student before inviting learners to tackle the taskon their own. 6. Get feedback When you have finished explaining, check with your class what they haveunderstood. It is not enough just to ask ‗Do you understand?‘; learners willsometimes say they did even if they in fact did not, out of politeness orunwillingness to lose face, or because they think they know what they have to do,but have in fact completely misunderstood. It is better to ask them to do somethingthat will show their understanding: to paraphrase in their own words, or providefurther illustrations of their own. [44, pp.16-17] 1.5.1 Presenting and Explaining Grammar Grammar acquisition is increasingly viewed as crucial to languageacquisition. However, there is much disagreement as to the effectiveness ofdifferent approaches for presenting vocabulary items. Moreover, learning grammaris often perceived as a tedious and laborious process. There are numeroustechniques concerned with grammar presentation. However, there are a few things that have to be remembered irrespective ofthe way new lexical items are presented. If teachers want students to remembernew grammar it needs to be learnt in the context, practiced and then revised toprevent students from forgetting. Teachers must take sure of that students have 24
  • understood the new words, which will be remembered better if introduced in a―memorable way‖. Bearing all this in mind, teachers have to remember to employa variety of techniques for new grammatical presentation and revision. We suggest the following types of grammar presentation techniques: 1. Visual techniques. These pertain to visual memory, which is consideredespecially helpful with the grammar retention. Learners remember better thematerial that has been presented by means of the visual aids. The visual techniqueslend themselves well to presenting concrete items of grammar. They help studentsto associate the presented material in a meaningful way and incorporate it into theirsystem of the language units. 2. Verbal explanation. This pertains to the use of illustrative situationsconnected with the grammar material studied. It is surprisingly difficult to present and explain a foreign-languagegrammatical structure to a class of learners. The problem is, first, to understandyourself what is involved in ‗knowing‘ the structure (its written and spoken forms,its nuances of meaning), and in particular what is likely to cause difficulties to thelearners; and second, how to present examples and formulate explanations that willclearly convey the necessary information. This is a place where clear thinking andspeaking are of paramount importance, although you may elicit suggestions fromthe learners and encourage their participation in the presentation, it is essential foryou to know to present the structure‘s form and meaning in a way that is clear,simple, accurate and helpful. There is, often, a conflict between ‗simple‘ and‗accurate‘; if you give a completely accurate account of a structure, it may be farfrom simple; if you simplify, you may not be accurate. One of the problems ofgrammar presentations is to find the appropriate balance between the two. 25
  •  Introducing New Grammar Structure and Meaning We will consider ways in which children can be introduced to new languagestructure. When we present grammar through structural patterns we tend to givestudents ordered pieces of language to work with. We introduce grammar, whichcan easily be explained and presented. There are many different ways of doing this,which do not (only) involve the transmission of grammar rules. It is certainly possible to teach aspects of grammar - indeed that is whatlanguage teachers have been doing for centuries - but language is a difficultbusiness and it is often used very inventively by its speakers. In other words reallanguage use is often very untidy and cannot be automatically reduced to simplegrammar patterns. Students need to be aware of this, just as they need to be awareof all language possibilities. Such awareness does not mean that they have to betaught each variation and linguistic twist; however, it just means that they have tobe aware of language and how it is used. That is why reading and listening are soimportant, and that is why discovery activities are so valuable since by askingstudents to discover ways in which language is used we help to raise theirawareness about the creative use of grammar - amongst other things. As teachers we should be prepared to use a variety of techniques to help ourstudents learn and acquire grammar. Sometimes this involves teaching grammarrules, sometimes it means allowing students to discover the rules for themselves. What do we introduce? Our job at this stage of the lesson is to present thepupils with clear information about the language they are learning. We must also show them what the language means and how it is used; wemust also show them what the grammatical form of the new language is, and howit is said and/or written. What we are suggesting here is that students need to get anidea of how his new language is used by native speakers and the best way of doingthis is to present language in context. The context for introducing new languageshould have a number of characteristics. It should show what the new language 26
  • means and how it is used, for example. That is why many useful contexts have thenew language being used in a written text or dialogue. A good context should be interesting for the children. This doesnt meanthat all the subject matter we use for presentation should be wildly funny orinventive all the time. But the pupils should at least want to see or hear theinformation. Lastly, a good context will provide the background for a lot oflanguage use so that students can use the information not only for the repetition ofmodel sentences but also for making their own sentences. Often the textbook will have all the characteristics so that the teacher canconfidently rely on the material for the presentation. But the textbook is not alwaysso appropriate: for a number of reasons the information in the book may not beright for our students in such cases we will want to create our own contexts forlanguage use. One of the teachers jobs is to show how the new language is formed - howthe grammar works and how it is put together. One way of doing this is to explainthe grammar in detail, using grammatical terminology and giving a mini-lecture onthe subject. This seems problematical, though, for two reasons; firstly - manypupils may find grammatical concepts difficult, secondly - such explanations forbeginners will be almost impossible. A more effective - and less frightening - way of presenting form is to let thestudents see and/or hear the new language, drawing their attention in a number ofdifferent ways to the grammatical elements of which it is made. While advancedstudents may profit from grammatical explanations to a certain extent, at lowerlevels we must usually find simpler and more transparent ways of giving studentsgrammatical information. [43, pp.49-90] 27
  • 1.5.2 A General Model for Introducing New Language The model has five components: lead-in, elicitation, explanation, accuratereproduction, and immediate creativity. During the lead-in the context and the meaning are introduced or use of thenew language is demonstrated. This is the stage at which students may hear or seesome language (including the new language) and during which students maybecome aware of certain key concepts. The key concepts are those pieces ofinformation about the context that are vital if students are to understand the contextand thus the meaning and use of the new language. During the lead-in stage, then, we introduce our context (making sure thatkey concepts are understood) and show the new language in use. During the elicitation stage the teacher tries to see if the students canproduce the new language. If they can, it would clearly be wasteful and de-motivating for them if a lot of time was spent practicing the language that theyalready know. At the elicitation stage - depending on how well (and if) the studentscan produce the new language - the teacher can decide which of the stages to go tonext. If the students cannot produce the new language at all, for example, we willmove to the explanation stage. If they can, hut with minor mistakes, we may moveto the accurate reproduction stage to clear up those problems. If they know the newlanguage but need a bit more controlled practice in producing it we may movedirectly to the immediate creativity stage. Elicitation is vitally important for itgives the teacher information upon which to act: it is also motivating for thestudents and actively involves their learning abilities. During the explanation stage the teacher shows how the new language isformed. It is here that we may give a listening drill or explain something in thestudents own language; we may demonstrate grammatical form on the blackboard. 28
  • In other words, this is where the students learn how the new language isconstructed. During the accurate reproduction stage students are asked to repeat andpractice a certain number of models. The emphasis here will be on the accuracy ofwhat the students say rather than meaning or use. Here the teacher makes sure thatthe students can form the new language correctly, getting the grammar right andperfecting their pronunciation as far as is necessary. When the children and teacher are confident that the children can form thenew language correctly they will move to immediate creativity. Here they try touse what they have just learned to make sentences of their own, rather thansentences which the teacher or book has introduced as models. It is at this stage that both teacher and student can see if the students havereally understood the meaning, use and form of the new language. If they are ableto produce their own sentences they can feel confident that the presentation wassuccess. Notice again that if the students perform well during elicitation the teachercan move straight to immediate creativity. If at that stage they perform badly theteacher may find it necessary either to return to a short accurate reproduction stageor in extreme cases, to re-explain the new language. When introducing new material we often need also to give explicitdescriptions or definitions of concepts or processes, and whether we can or cannotexplain such ideas clearly to our students may make a crucial difference to thesuccess. [20, p.34] 29
  • §1.6 Grammar Presentation and Practicing Techniques  Charts and graphs – are visual elements often used to point readers and viewers to particular information. They are also used to supplement text in an effort to aid readers in their understanding of a particular concept or make the concept more clear or interesting. They are used to make it easier to understand new grammar structure and are useful for clarifying relationships between different parts of speech. A visual representation can often be clearer than a verbal one to introduce a tense. This is especially true where students do not have similar tenses system in their mother tongue.  Objects brought into the classroom not only liven up the context but provide some kinesthetic, hands-on dimension to your teaching.  Maps – are practical and simple visual aids in the classroom. Useful for jigsaw, information gap, and other interactive techniques, they can also serve to illustrate certain grammatical structures.  Drawings of simple shapes can be used to provide practice in stating locations and giving directions. [23, pp.14-20]  Dialogue – is an age-old technique for introducing and practicing grammatical points, moreover a text might be used to get a certain verb tense, or simply to illustrate a grammatical category.  Game offers students a fun-filled and relaxing learning atmosphere. After learning and practicing new vocabulary, students have the opportunity to use language in a non-stressful way. While playing games, the learners attention is on the message, not on the language. Rather than pay attention to the correctness of linguistic forms, most participants will do all they can to win. This eases the fear of negative evaluation, the concern of being negatively judged in public, and which is one of the main factors inhibiting language learners from using the target language in front of other people. In a game- oriented context, anxiety is reduced and speech fluency is generated - thus 30
  • communicative competence is achieved. Games are also motivating. Games introduce an element of competition into language-building activities. The competitive ambiance also makes learners concentrate and think intensively during the learning process, which enhances unconscious acquisition of inputs. Well-chosen games are invaluable as they give students a break and at the same time allow students to practice language skills. Games are highly motivating since they are amusing and at the same time challenging. Furthermore, they employ meaningful and useful language in real contexts. They also encourage and increase cooperation. Games are highly motivating because they are amusing and interesting. They can be used to give practice in all language skills. The benefits of using games in language-learning can be summed up in nine points. Games are learner centered, promote communicative competence, create a meaningful context for language use, increase learning motivation, reduce learning anxiety, integrate various linguistic skills, encourage creative and spontaneous use of language, construct a cooperative learning environment, and foster participatory attitudes of the students. [27, pp.124-138] Songs can be used to motivate students and provide variety in a lesson. They can be used to focus on the form of the language including grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. Firstly, the song can be used as a grammar sample of language to be analyzed. Secondly, the song can be used as an exercise. Students can be asked to do gap-filling, transformations, pronunciation drills and so on using the lyric. In either case, the student can make use of the mnemonic quality of songs: the way words are much more memorable in combination with rhythm and melody. Students can call given language forms to memory simply by singing the song mentally, and this is something people even do involuntarily. [19, pp.7-10] 31
  • Chapter II GRAMMAR TEACHING TECHNIQUES AND ACTIVITIES Grammar teaching has often been regarded as a structure based formalactivity. For effective teaching to take place, a good method must be adopted by ateacher. A teacher has many options when choosing a style by which to teach. Theteachers may write lesson plans of their own, borrow plans from other teachers, orsearch online or within books for lesson plans. When deciding what teachingmethod to use, a teacher needs to consider students background knowledge,environment, and learning goals. Teachers are aware that students learn in differentways, but almost all children will respond well if praised. Students have differentways of absorbing information and of demonstrating their knowledge. Teachersoften use techniques which cater to multiple learning styles to help students retaininformation and strengthen understanding. A variety of strategies and methods areused to ensure that all students have equal opportunities to learn. After theintegration of several sources and techniques, which are mainly based oncommunicative activities, the teaching of grammar gained a new insight. In theteaching of grammar, technique-resource combinations are often modified tostructure-discourse match and if well developed, they can be used effectively forall phases of a grammar lesson. In order to make a grammar lesson effective,beneficial, and interesting a teacher should use some well-developed andfascinating techniques in the classroom. In the present paper, the examples of suchintegrated sources and techniques, the use of songs, games, charts and drawingsactivities will be clarified and several examples will be provided. Visual learning isamong the very best methods for teaching students of all ages how to think andhow to learn. Visual learning helps students: make abstract ideas visible andconcrete; connect prior knowledge and new concepts; provide structure forthinking, writing, discussing, analyzing, planning and reporting; focus thoughtsand ideas, leading to understanding and interpretation. [38, pp.145-167] 32
  • §2.1 Various Grammar Teaching Techniques2.1.1 Presenting Grammar Using Charts and Graphs Visual learning is a proven method in which ideas, concepts, data and otherinformation are associated with images and represented graphically. Charts andgraphs are some of the techniques used in visual learning to enhance thinking andlearning skills. [2, p.9] FREQUENCY ADVERBS always Frequency adverbs usually occur in the middle of a 100% almost always sentence and have special positions, as shown in usually* examples (a) through (e) below. often* Positive The adverbs with the symbol ‗*‘ may also occur at the frequently* beginning or end of a sentence. generally* I sometimes get up at 6:30. sometimes* Sometimes I get up at 6:30. occasionally* I get up at 6:30 sometimes. seldom rarely Negative The other adverbs in the list rarely occur at the hardly ever beginning or end of a sentence. Their usual position is in 0% almost never the middle of a sentence. never SUBJECT FREQ ADV VERB Frequency adverbs usually come between the subject (a) Karen always tells the truth. and the simple present verb (except verb be). SUBJECT BE FREQ ADV Frequency adverbs follow be in the simple present (am, (b) Karen is always on time. is, are) and simple past (was, were). (c) Do you always eat breakfast? In a question, frequency adverbs come directly after the subject. (d) Ann usually doesn’t eat breakfast. In a negative sentence, most frequency adverbs come in front of a negative verb (except always and ever). (e) Sue doesn’t always eat breakfast. Always follows a negative helping verb or negative be. (f) CORRECT: Anna never eats meat. Negative adverbs (seldom, rarely, hardly ever, never) are (g) INCORRECT: Anna doesn‘t never eat meat. NOT used with a negative verb. (h) –Do you ever take the bus to work? Ever is used in questions about frequency, as in (h). it -Yes, I do. I often take the bus. means ―at any time‖ (i) I don’t ever walk to work. Ever is also used with not, as in (i). (j) INCORRECT: I ever walk to work. Ever is NOT used in statements. 33
  • Another grammatical system that lends itself well to charts is the verb system.David Cross offers the following commonly used system of depicting some verbtenses. Time can be shown by a line across the board. An arrow pointing downindicates this moment now. To the left of the arrow is past time, to the right is thefuture. A cross indicates a single event, a row of dots denotes an action that lastedor will last for a period of time. The uses of most tenses can be shown andcontrasted pictorially on such time line, as shown in the following examples. 1. He used to smoke. (in the past, not any more) ____________________________________________ ……….. 2. She works in the market. (did in the past and will continue in the future) ____________________________________________ …………………… 3. He is having his supper. (eating now, having started a short while ago in the past, but this will not continue for any appreciable length of time) _____________________________________________ …. 4. He got up at six o‟clock. (in the past, a single event) _____________________________________________ X 5. I‟ve been teaching for a long time. (started in the past, still doing it today) _____________________________________________ ……………………… 34
  • 6. We‟ll travel by plane. (in the future) _____________________________________ …… 7. We were out walking when it started to rain. (a continuous past action interrupted by a single event) ______________________________________ ………X…… 8. It is 6 o‟clock now; I shall have finished by 8 o‟clock. (a task started earlier and which will continue for 2 more hours) __________4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11_______________ ……………X This is by no means the full range of tenses, but once you have grasped the ideayou will be able to use the technique to introduce others the same way. You canalso use a time scale to show concepts like: for two months, since April and fromMarch to mid June. This is done in the following example.February March April May June July …………………………………………. [8, pp.355-356] 35
  • Visual learning helps students: Clarify thoughts Students see how ideas are connected and realize how information can begrouped and organized. With visual learning, new concepts are more thoroughlyand easily understood when they are linked to prior knowledge. Organize and analyze information Students can use diagrams and plots to display large amounts of information inways that are easy to understand and help reveal relationships and patterns. Integrate new knowledge According to research, students better remember information when itsrepresented and learned both visually and verbally. Think critically Linked verbal and visual information helps students make connections,understand relationships and recall related details. Visual learning is a proven method in which ideas, concepts, data and otherinformation are associated with images and represented graphically. Charts andgraphs are some of the techniques used in visual learning to enhance thinking andlearning skills. [46, pp.136-140]2.1.2 Explaining Grammar Using Objects It is known that lessons become more interactive with the use of objects.Although teaching grammar through the use of objects might sound complex andcomplicated, it is really quite simple. A little thought and effort can actually makea big difference to how well a student understands the facts and informationpresented. A concrete presentation can provide a foolproof understanding ofgrammar concepts, ideas and rules. Remember, graspability, clarity and simplicitymust be ensured. The use of objects as assistive devices in the classroom thereforeseems indispensable to make the integrated system of education more efficient and 36
  • fruitful in the real sense of the term. They provide an entry point into the subjectthat allows student to initially anchor their understanding of new grammar terms toconcrete entities. Objects brought into the classroom not only liven up the contextbut provide some kinesthetic hands-on dimension to your teaching. To teach thepossessives to beginning level students, for example, bring in a few things like: anecklace, a purse, some glasses. Then ask students each to put two or three of theirown things on their desks. Then do something like the following activities. Activity 1 Talk about possessions.This/that is my handbag. This/that is Gina’s pen.These/those are Paul’s glasses. That/this is Mark’s watch.Those/these are Julia’s earrings. This/that is Colin’s wallet. Activity 2 Work with a group. Ask questions about things in the classroom.a) A: Excuse me. Is this your handbag? B: No, it‘s Lucy’s. / Yes, it is. Thank you.b) A: Excuse me. Are these your glasses? B: No. They are Paul’s. / Yes, they are. Thank you. Activity 3 Match the people with the things. 1. Lucy a. glasses 2. Colin b. English book 3. Paul c. handbag 4. Mark d. wallet 5. Julia e. pen 37
  • 6. Gina f. earrings 7. Tony g. gloves [45, pp.136-140]2.1.3 Clarifying Grammar Using Maps and Other Simple Drawings Maps are effective illustrations that can provide students with a generaloverview of information. They can also help students understand and memorizenew grammar items. It is now widely accepted that people have a better memoryfor images than for words. The combinations of words and images that are notsimply decorative have been found to facilitate learning, understanding,remembering and performing. Images can help students select, structure,synthesize and integrate information in a meaningful way. Simple drawings helpstudents with language processing deficits by visually presenting the mostimportant information and eliminating information that is not as critical. [18,pp.70-80] This helps students focus and to place information into a mentalframework without excess language processing demands getting in the way. Mapscan help students link new grammar structure to prior learning and provide afoundation to link future learning. For example, maps can stimulate learners‘ useof: Prepositional phrases (up the street, on the left, over the hill, etc.) Question information (where, how do I get to .., can you tell me.., is this.., etc.) Imperatives (go, walk, look out for, etc.) In order to enhance grammatical explanations the use of simple drawings maybe suggested. They can provide effective practice in giving directions and statinglocations. 38
  • In order to do this, you might begin by using the following drawing, modelingthe expressions which follow.The circle is in the center of the paper.The diamond is directly above the circle.The square is to the right of the circle.The rectangle is in the upper right-hand corner.The triangle is in the lower left-hand corner. After you have introduced these terms tell the students to take out a piece ofpaper. Give them a series of commands and have them draw these on the paper.(E.g. Draw a square in the upper left hand corner. Draw a circle inside the square.)Later you might use this same technique to introduce more technical vocabulary ofshapes along with the relative proportion (e.g. Draw a triangle in the center of the 39
  • paper. Draw a circle above the triangle. The diameter of the circle should be thesame length as the base of the triangle.). [8, pp.357-359] An example of such worksheets is presented in Appendix 2 A, B and 6 A, B.2.1.4 Teaching Grammar through Dialogues Dialogue establishes patterns of interactions and a framework forinvestigation. In teaching grammar through dialogue we should use patterndialogues as they involve all features which characterize this form of speech. Thereare three stages in learning a dialogue: (1) receptive; (2) reproductive; (3)constructive (creative). 1. Pupils "receive" the dialogue by ear first. They listen to the dialoguerecorded or reproduced by the teacher. The teacher helps pupils in comprehensionof the dialogue using a picture or pictures to illustrate its contents. They listen tothe dialogue a second time and then read it silently for better understanding, payingattention to the intonation. They may listen to the dialogue and read it again, ifnecessary.2. Pupils enact the pattern dialogue. We may distinguish three kinds ofreproduction: Immediate. Pupils reproduce the dialogue in imitation of the speaker or the teacher while listening to it or just after they have heard it. The teacher checks the pupils pronunciation and intonation in particular. The pupils are asked to learn the dialogue by heart for homework. Delayed. After pupils have learned the dialogue at home, they enact the pattern dialogue in persons. Before calling on pupils it is recommended that they should listen to the pattern dialogue recorded again to remind them of how it "sounds". 40
  • Modified. Pupils enact the dialogue with some modifications in its contents. They change some elements in it. The more elements (main words and phrases) they change in the pattern the better they assimilate the structure of the dialogue:- Will you help me, Amy?- What shall I do, Mother?- Will you bring me a pail of water?- Certainly I will. The use of pictures may be helpful, besides pupils use their own experiencewhile selecting the words for substitutions. The work should not be donemechanically. Pupils should speak on the situation. As a result of this work pupilsmaster the structure of the pattern dialogue (not only the contents), i. e., they canuse it as a model for making up dialogues of their own, that is why patterndialogues should be carefully selected. The first two stages aim at storing uppatterns in pupils memory for expressing themselves in different situations, ofcourse within the topics and linguistic material the syllabus sets for each form.3. Pupils make up dialogues of their own. They are given a picture or a verbalsituation to talk about. This is possible provided pupils have a stock of patterns, acertain number of phrases for starting a conversation, joining in, etc. They shoulduse those lead-response units they have learned in connection with the situationsuggested for a conversation. At the third stage the choice of stimuli is of great importance, as very oftenpupils cannot think what to say, though they know how to say this or that.Therefore audio-visual aids should be extensively utilized. 41
  • Rule for the teacher: In teaching dialogue use pattern dialogues; make surethat your pupils go through the three stages from receptive through reproductive tocreative, supply them with the subject to talk about. Consider the following suggestions for teachers in using conversations.Introduce the grammatical point, explain and give examples on the board. Call onstudents to underline all the examples of the grammatical structure explained. Readthe conversation or play the cassette. Answer any questions students have aboutvocabulary and structures. Introduce the new words. Have the students close theirbooks. Ask them questions about the conversation. In pairs have the studentspractice the conversation. Encourage them to use their own ideas by changing thenames of places, times, and activities. Call on several pairs to present theirconversation to the class. [25, pp.72-90] Example Work with a partner. Complete the interviews with can, can‟t, have to ordon‟t have to.Interviewer: Debra Veal, your new film is a big hit. How do you feel?D: I feel terrible.I: Sorry?D: I feel terrible because I hate being famous. It‘s boring. I (1) _____ go to parties.I (2) ______ sign autographs.I: But you‘re …D: I (3) ______ wear make-up all day. I (4) ______ kiss Brad Pitt. 42
  • I: Oh dear. That‘s terrible. But you‘re rich now. You (5) _____ buy anything youwant.D: Yes, but there are photographers everywhere. I (6) _____ walk down the street.I (7) _____ go shopping. I (8) _____ go clubbing and I (9) _____ have a privatelife.I: Well, why did you make the film?D: And I (10) _____ answer stupid questions! [37, p.88]2.1.5 Teaching Grammar Using Games Games are often used as short warm-up activities or when there is some timeleft at the end of a lesson. Games encourage, entertain, teach, and promote fluency.If not for any of these reasons, they should be used just because they help studentssee beauty in a foreign language and not just problems. Yet, a game "should not beregarded as a marginal activity filling in odd moments when the teacher and classhave nothing better to do". Games ought to be at the heart of teaching foreignlanguages. Rixon suggests that games should be used at all stages of the lesson,provided that they are suitable and carefully chosen. [40, pp.56-78] Games also lend themselves well to revision exercises helping learners recallmaterial in a pleasant, entertaining way. Many teachers agree that even if gamesresulted only in noise and entertained students, they are still worth paying attentionto and implementing in the classroom since they motivate learners, promotecommunicative competence, and generate fluency. There are many advantages ofusing games in the classroom: (1)Games are a welcome break from the usual routine of the language class. 43
  • (2) They are motivating and challenging. (3) Learning a language requires a great deal of effort. Games help students to make and sustain the effort of learning. (4) Games provide language practice in the various skills- speaking, writing, listening and reading. (5) They encourage students to interact and communicate. (6) They create a meaningful context for language use. Furthermore, to quote A. Wright, they, "add diversion to the regularclassroom activities," break the ice, "[but also] they are used to introduce newideas" [47, pp.24-30]. In the easy, relaxed atmosphere which is created by usinggames, students remember things faster and better. The most instructive languagelearning games are those that emphasize specific structures. They do not onlypractice the basic pattern but also do so in a pleasant, easy way that allows thestudents to forget they are drilling grammar and concentrate on having fun. Sample Games  PREPOSITIONAL CHAIN DRILL Grammar: Prepositions of place Level: Lower to intermediate Time: 10 minutes Materials: None Procedure: 1. Review prepositions of place. 44
  • 2. Take a small object, such as a pen, and do something with it, then describe your action. (Put the pen on the desk and say, "I put the pen on the desk.") 3. Give the pen to a student and ask him/her, "What did I do with the pen?" 4. The student answers and then does something different with the object that involves a different preposition of place. 5. The student then passes the object to the next student and asks, "What did we do with the pen?" That student repeats what the teacher did and what the first student did with the object. The second student then does something different with the object before passing it to the third student.Example: Teacher: I put the pen on the desk. What did I do with the pen? Alfredo: You put the pen on the desk. (to the next student, Damian) I put thepen above my head. What did we do with the pen? Damian: The teacher put the pen on the desk. Alfredo put the pen above hishead. I put the pen under my book. (to the next student) What did we do with thepen? Etc. 6. This activity continues until no one can do something different with thepen that can be described using a preposition of place. NOTE: You may want to write the prepositions that have been used on theboard to help the students remember. Variation: Give each student a card to use with a preposition of place on it. [34, pp.2-7] 45
  •  SUPERSTITIONS Grammar: First Conditional (true in the present/future) Level: Intermediate Time: 15 minutes Materials: None Procedure: 1. Write a few superstitions on the board. Here are some examples. If a blackcat crosses your path, youll have bad luck. If your palm itches, youre going toreceive money. If you break a mirror, youll have seven years bad luck. If you stepon a crack, youll break your mothers back. Look at the verb forms in the if-clause and result clause together. Askstudents to generate a rule (if this is an introduction) or review the rule (if you havealready introduced this form). 2. Break students into small groups and have them discuss superstitions fromtheir countries. They should list three or four to share with the rest of the class. 3. As a whole group, share the superstitions and discuss which are universaland which seem to exist only in one or two cultures. Students often have similarsuperstitions in their countries and like to share them, and it is interesting tocompare slight variations. 4. For further review of forms, you may want to write several of the studentssuperstitions on the board and analyze them (Were they written correctly?). 46
  •  EYES Grammar: Second Conditional Level: Lower to upper-intermediate Time: 30-45 minutes Materials: None Procedure:1. Ask a student to draw a head in profile on the board. Ask the student to add eyes in the back of his head.2. Give the students this sentence beginning on the board and ask them to complete it using a grammar suggested: If people had eyes in the back of their heads, then they … would/might/could/would have to … (+ infinitive)For example: ‗If people had eyes on the back of their heads they could read twobooks at once‘ (so two pairs of eyes).3. Tell the students to write the above sentence stem at the top of their paper and then complete it with fifteen separate ideas. Encourage the use of dictionaries. Help students all you can with vocabulary and go round checking and correcting.4. Once students have all written a good number of sentences (at least ten) ask them to form teams of four. In the fours they read each other‘s sentences and pick the four most interesting ones.5. Each team puts their four best sentences on the board.6. The students come up to the board and tick the two sentences they find the most interesting. The team which gets the most ticks wins. Note: Students come up with a good range of social, medical and other hypotheses. Here are some examples:… then they would not need driving mirrors.… they would make really good traffic wardens. 47
  • … then you could kiss someone while looking away! [24, pp.7-12]2.1.6 Teaching Grammar Using Songs Songs can be designed to provide a motivating alternative focus on variouspoints of English Grammar. Music motivates. People listen to music for pleasure.Teachers have for a long time recognized that they can use songs to motivatestudents and provide variety in a lesson. Variety is especially important foryounger learners, who often have very little internal motivation for entering alanguage classroom. There is widespread interest in pop songs among people ofthis age group, and such songs can be very profitably exploited in languagelearning activities. The focus is studying grammar through songs, but there aremany other possibilities too. [10, pp.7-10] Songs are fun, help relax the classroom atmosphere, incorporate bothreading and listening skills, and in general, are enjoyable! When students see ateacher entering the classroom with a tape in hand, they are suddenly verymotivated to learn. Teaching songs must involve a purpose for listening. It is up tothe teacher to create that purpose. Since the meaning is an important device inteaching grammar, it is important to contextualize any grammar point. Songs areone of the most enchanting and culturally rich resources that can easily be used inlanguage classrooms. Songs offer a change from routine classroom activities. Theyare precious resources to develop students‘ abilities in listening, speaking, reading,and writing. They can also be used to teach a variety of language items such assentence patterns, vocabulary, pronunciation, rhythm, adjectives, and adverbs. Asstated by Lo and Fai Li, learning English through songs also provides a non-threatening atmosphere for students, who usually are tense when speaking Englishin a formal classroom setting. 48
  • Songs also give new insights into the target culture. They are the meansthrough which cultural themes are presented effectively. Since they provideauthentic texts, they are motivating. Prosodic features of the language such asstress, rhythm, intonation are presented through songs, thus through using them thelanguage which is cut up into a series of structural points becomes a whole again.There are many advantages of using songs in the classroom. Through usingcontemporary popular songs, which are already familiar to teenagers, the teachercan meet the challenges of the teenage needs in the classroom. Since songs arehighly memorable and motivating, in many forms they may constitute a powerfulsubculture with their own rituals. Furthermore, through using traditional folk songsthe base of the learners‘ knowledge of the target culture can be broadened.Correctly chosen, traditional folk songs have the dual motivating attack of prettytunes and interesting stories, plus for many students- the added ingredient ofnovelty. Most songs, especially folk songs, follow a regularly repeated verse form,with rhyme, and have a series of other discourse features, which make them easy tofollow. In consequence, if selected properly and adopted carefully, a teachershould benefit from songs in all phases of teaching grammar. Songs may both beused for the presentation or the practice phase of the grammar lesson. They mayencourage extensive and intensive listening, and inspire creativity and use ofimagination in a relaxed classroom atmosphere. While selecting a song the teachershould take the age, interests of the learners and the language being used in thesong into consideration. To enhance learner commitment, it is also beneficial toallow learners to take part in the selection of the songs. [5, pp.76-84]Teaching Procedure There are various ways of using songs in the classroom. The level of thestudents, the interests and the age of the learners, the grammar point to be studied,and the song itself have determinant roles on the procedure. Apart from them, itmainly depends on the creativity of the teacher. For primary students, the best 49
  • songs would be those that are either familiar to the children or those, thoughmaybe not familiar, which have an international nature, such as Old MacDonald.Since there is not a strict teaching procedure, the teacher can mainly concentrate onwhat to teach rather than on how to teach. For instance, while teaching themindividual letter sounds or spelling the words, the traditional camp song Bingo, orwhile teaching them counting Johnny Works with One Hammer will be useful. Inorder to make the songs more meaningful and more enjoyable, motions can beadded to the song which parallel the words of the song. Since most children enjoysinging fun and nonsensical lyrics, using easy children songs will be useful.Furthermore, choosing lively action songs through which they can dance or actwhile singing will ensure a lively atmosphere. For teenagers or adults in theintermediate or advanced level, it is better to use more meaningful or popularsongs, which not only review or introduce grammar points but also reflect culturalaspects. At the primary level of singing the song, the prosodic features of thelanguage is emphasized. At the higher levels, where the practice of grammar pointsis at the foreground, songs can be used with several techniques. Some examples ofthese techniques are: gap fills or close texts, focus questions, true-false statements,put these lines into the correct sequence, dictation, add a final verse, circle theantonyms/synonyms of the given words and discuss. A teachers selection of atechnique or a set of techniques should be based on his or her objectives for theclassroom. After deciding the grammar point to be studied, and the song and thetechniques to be used, the teacher should prepare an effective lesson plan. Sincesongs are listening activities, it is advisable to present them as a listening lesson,but of course it is necessary to integrate all the skills in the process in order toachieve successful teaching. [31, pp.6-12] When regarding a lesson plan, as a pre-listening activity, the theme, the title,or the history of the song can be discussed. By directing the students towardspecific areas, problem vocabulary items can be picked up in advance. Before 50
  • listening to the song, it is also beneficial to let the students know which grammarpoints should be studied. At this stage, pictures may also be used to introduce thetheme of the song. In the listening stage, some of the techniques listed above canbe used, but among them gap filling is the most widely used technique. Throughsuch gaps, the vocabulary, grammar, or pronunciation is highlighted. This stagecan be developed by the teacher according to the needs of the students and thegrammar point to be studied. In the follow-up, integrated skills can be used tocomplete the overall course structure. Since many songs are on themes for which itis easy to find related reading texts, it may lead the learner to read a text about thesinger or the theme. Besides, many songs give a chance for a written reaction ofsome kind. Opinion questions may lead the learner to write about his own thoughtsor reflections. Some songs deal with a theme that can be re-exploited through roleplays. Acting may add enthusiasm to the learning process. Finally, some songsdeal with themes, which can lead to guided discussion. By leading the students intoa discussion, the grammar point could be practiced orally and, in a way, naturally. As a consequence, the use of songs in language classrooms provides manyadvantages. They entertain and relax the learners while they are learning orpracticing a structure, and they often eliminate the students‘ negative attitudetowards learning. Through providing authenticity and context they make thegrammar points more understandable and easy. As language teachers, we canbenefit from using songs, since our concern is to motivate the students and drawtheir utmost attention on the subject during teaching. [35, pp.64-82] ―Another Day In Paradise‖ by Phil Collins She calls out to the man on the street "Sir, can you help me? Its cold and Ive nowhere to sleep, Is there somewhere you can tell me?" 51
  • He walks on, doesnt look back He pretends he cant hear her Starts to whistle as he crosses the street Seems embarrassed to be there Oh think twice, its another day for You and me in paradise Oh think twice, its just another day for you, You and me in paradise She calls out to the man on the street He can see shes been crying Shes got blisters on the soles of her feet Cant walk but shes trying Oh think twice... Oh Lord, is there nothing more anybody can do Oh Lord, there must be something you can say You can tell from the lines on her face You can see that shes been there Probably been moved on from every place Cos she didnt fit in there Oh think twice... Worksheet Exercises1. Fill in the gaps with the correct form of the following verbs: sleep, cross, try, be, call (2), walk, cry, tell, not fit. She ___________ out to the man on the street "Sir, can you help me? Its cold and Ive nowhere to ____________, Is there somewhere you can tell me?" He ___________ on, doesnt look back He pretends he cant hear her 52
  • (He) Starts to whistle as he ____________ the street (He) Seems embarrassed to be there. .................................................... She ____________ out to the man on the street He can see shes been ______________ she‘s got blisters on the soles of her feet (She) can‘t walk but she ________________ Oh think twice...2. Split up the words to form sentences. Ohthinktwiceitsanotherdayfor Youandmeinparadise Ohthinktwiceitsjustanotherdayforyou, Youandmeinparadise3. Reorder the sentences: Ohl ord, ist here not hingmo rean ybodyc and o? Ohl ord, the rem ust beso met hin gyo ucansay4. Again, fill in all the gaps with the correct form of some of the following verbs: Sleep, cross, try, be, call (2), walk, cry, tell, not fit You can ________ from the lines on her face You can see that shes ___________ there Probably been moved on from every place Cos she _____________ in there Oh think twice... ANOTHER OPTION: listen to the song and fill in all the gaps She ..... out to the ... on the ...... sir ... you .... me? Its .... and Ive ....... to ..... is there ......... you can tell me? He ..... on, doesnt .... back he ........ he cant .... her 53
  • start to ....... as he ....... the ...... seems .......... to be there Oh, think ....., Its ....... day for ... and me in ........ Oh, ..... twice, .....just another ... for you, you and me in paradise She ..... ... to the man on the ...... he can see shes been ...... shes got ........ on the ..... of her .... cant ...., but shes ...... Oh, think twice, Its another day for you and me in paradise Oh, think twice, Its just another day for you, you and me in paradise Oh ...., is there ....... more ....... can do Oh Lord, there .... .. something You can say You can ... that shes .... there ........ been moved on from every ..... cos she didnt ... in ..... Oh think twice... [15, p.56] §2.2 Types of Exercises for the Assimilation of Grammar 2.2.1 Recognition exercises These exercises are the easiest types of exercises for pupils to perform. Theyobserve the grammar item in structures (sentence patterns) when hearing orreading. Since pupils only observe the new grammar item the situations should benatural and communicative. For example: - Listen to the sentences and raise your hands whenever you hear theverbs in the Past Simple. 54
  • Mike lives in Oxford Street. I lived there last year. Ann gets up at 7 o‘clockin the morning. She got up at half past seven yesterday. Etc. It is desirable that sentences formed should concern real situations and facts. Pupils listen to the teacher and raise their hands when they hear a verb in thePast Simple. The teacher can see whether each of his pupils has grasped thesentence. - Read the sentences and choose the correct form of the verb. Thefollowing sentences may be suggested: a) I (go, went) to school yesterday. b) Tom (takes, took) a bus when he goes to school. c) She (got, gets, gets) up at 7 o‘ clock every day. Pupils should read the sentences and find the signals for the correct choice ofthe form. Since the necessary form is suggested in each sentence they should onlyrecognize the one they need for a given context. Recognition exercises are indispensable as pupils retain the grammarmaterial through auditory and visual perception. Auditory and visual memory is atwork.2.2.2 Drill exercises They are more completed as they require reproduction on the part of thepupils. In learning a foreign language drill exercises are indispensable. Thelearners cannot assimilate the material if they only hear and see it. They mustreproduce it both in outer and inner speech. The more often they say it the betterthey assimilate the material. Though drill exercises are those in which pupils haveonly one difficulty to overcome, they should also be graded: a) Repetitive drill. Pupils pronounce the sentence pattern after the teacher, in imitation of the teacher, both individually and in unison. For example: Teacher: They are dancing in the park. Class: They are dancing in the park. 55
  • Individuals: They are dancing in the park. Or pupils listen to the dialogue and say it after the speaker. -Is Ann dancing now? -No, she isn‘t. -What is she doing? -She is watching television. Attention is drawn to the correct pronunciation of the sentence pattern as asense unit, as a statement (sounds, stress, and melody). b) Substitution. Pupils substitute the words or phrases in a sentence pattern. For example: The children are dancing in the park. The children are dancing in the garden. The children are dancing in the street. The children are dancing in the yard. The children are dancing in the hall. The children are dancing after classes. The children are dancing at the party. A pupil substitutes a phrase, the rest may say it in unison. Then they areinvited to replace the word dancing with other words. They are singing in the park. They are working in the park. They are walking in the park. They are playing in the park. They are running in the park. They are talking in the park. 56
  • They are watering flowers in the park. They are planting trees in the park. They are helping the workers in the park. The use of a particular verb is stimulated with pictures (or a Russian word).Quick revision is achieved with a small expenditure of effort. In this way theyreview many words and phrases. As pupils have only one difficulty to overcomethe work does not take much time. Or pupils are invited to replace the words in thedialogue with those given in columns (see the dialogue above). There is one more advantage in performing this type of exercises—pupilsconsolidate the grammar item without thinking about it. They think of the words,phrases, but not of the form itself, therefore, involuntary memory is at work. c) Completion. Pupils complete the sentences the teacher utters looking at the pictures he shows. For example: Teacher: Look at the picture. Mike is ... ... . Pupil: Mike is getting up. Class: Mike is getting up. Teacher: Mike is ... ... . Pupil: Mike is dressing. Class: Mike is dressing. Attention should be given to the use of is in this exercise. The teacher shouldpronounce Mike is ... to prevent the typical mistake of the pupils (Mike dressing).This is essential structural element of the tense form of the Present Continuous;Russian-speaking pupils, however, do not feel any necessity to use it. 57
  • d) Answering the teachers questions. For example: Teacher: Is Mike getting up? Pupil: Yes, he is. Teacher: Who is getting up? Pupil: Mike is. Teacher: What is Mike doing? Pupil: He is getting up. Drill exercises may be done both orally and in written form. Pupils performoral exercises during the lesson and written ones at home. For example, they atetold to write five or seven sentences on the model given. During the next lesson the work done at home is checked orally. In this waypupils have practice in pronunciation while reading their own examples, and inauding while listening to their classmates. [30, pp. 112-120] 2.2.3 Creative exercises (speech exercises) This is the most difficult type of exercises as it requires creative work on thepart of the learners. These may be: a) Making statements either on the picture the teacher shows, or on objects. For example, the teacher hangs up a picture and asks his pupils to say or write three or five statements in the Present Continuous. b) Asking questions with a given grammar item. For example, pupils are invited to ask and answer questions in the Past Indefinite. c) Speaking about the situation offered by the teacher. For example, one pupil gives commands to perform this or that action, the other comments on the 58
  • action (actions) his classmate performs. Pupil 1: Go to the door, Sasha. Pupil 2: Sasha is going to the door. Pupil 3: Open the door. Pupil 4: Sasha is opening the door. d) Speaking on a suggested topic. For example, a pupil tells the class what he did yesterday. e) Making dialogues using the grammar item covered. f) Telling the story (read, heard). g) Translating into English. h) Participating in free conversation in which pupils are to use the grammar item they have learned. E. g., pupils have learned sentence patterns with the impersonal it. Through these questions pupils are stimulated to speak about the weatherand use the grammar item they have learnt. All the exercises of the creative type are designed for consolidating grammarmaterial pupils need for hearing and speaking. All the exercises mentioned above are designed: - to develop pupils skills in recognizing grammar forms while auding and reading English texts; - to accumulate correct sentence patterns in the pupils memory which they can reproduce whenever they need these patterns for speaking or writing; - to help the pupils to produce sentences of their own using grammar items necessary for speaking about a situation or a topic offered, or writing an essay on the text heard or an annotation on the text read. [56, pp.159-164] 59
  • Chapter III. Experimental Analysis of the Theoretical Approach to Presentingand Explaining Grammar in the 8th grade The material used during the investigation was taken from the course-book―English for Life‖ for the 8th grade. Each unit of course-book contains a GrammarFocus section covering the grammar material required for mastering by theNational Curriculum of Moldova. The aim of this section is not to provide a fullyexhaustive treatment of English grammar. First, pupils use the particular structuresor grammatical forms to fill gaps in a text or sentences, or to supply endings toincomplete sentences (or dialogues). Then they reinforce the information by doingexercises in Extended Grammar Practice section in the Student‘s Book andafterwards they have a chance to use the structures in a free discussion. Alongsidenew grammar material every lesson contains revision grammar items. §3.1. Description of the Course of the Experimental Work I had my pedagogical practice at the lyceum ―Iulia Hasdeu‖ where I taughtthe 8th grade students. And the experiment which is necessary for the DiplomaPaper had been carried out in the 8th form. There were 34 students in this form. Asthe forms are divided into two equal groups, so, there were 17 students within eachgroup. Thus, the experiment was carried out in two groups each of which consistedof 17 students. So, the experiment was carried out in two groups of the 8 th grade, consistingof 17 students accordingly. Group 1 was considered a control one, it was taught ina traditional way which is supposed by the textbook ―English for Life‖ (authorsGalina Burdeniuc, Elisaveta Onofreiciuc, Silvia Rotaru, Larisa Cudeacov, LarisaLabliuc, Emilia Fabian, Tatiana Caraus) approved by the Ministry of Education ofthe Republic of Moldova as a course-book for the 8th grade. Group 2 (anexperimental group) was taught with the use of some strategies on creatingworkshop in the classroom. For instance, during the process of fulfilling theassignment students were involved in different modern activities which help tounderstand grammar better, such as presenting grammar, grammar instruction, 60
  • error correction, model sentences for oral practice, question and answer,dialogues, situations, demonstration texts (contextualization), grammaticalexplanation, quiz, puzzle, games, etc. Before we started the experiment the students` grammar abilities had beenexamined. Learners were distributed a questionnaire whose purpose was to revealdifficulties students encounter while performing grammar assignments. Thesample of the questionnaire is presented below: Questionnaire Put the numbers from 4 to 1 to show your agreement or disagreement withthe given statements following this pattern: 1 – Completely disagree; 2 – Partially disagree; 3 – Partially agree; 4 – Completely agree. 1. It is difficult to me to use correctly constructions ‗There is / It is‘. 2. It is difficult to me to identify countable and uncountable nouns. 3. I am unsure about the use of prepositions. 4. I cannot guess the meaning of single words from the context. 5. I am unsure about organizing my ideas into sentences. 6. I cannot indicate time by such expressions as ‗next week‘, ‗last Friday‘, in May‘. 7. I cannot transform sentences into the Reported Speech. 8. I have some difficulties in using the articles. The results obtained with the help of the questionnaire are shown in the tablebelow: 61
  • № Number of pointsPercentage of students Problem area Group 1 Group 2 Group1 Group 2 (of 68 (of 72 possible) possible) 1. Incorrect use of the 18 25 7% 9% constructions ‗There is / It is‘. 2. Difficulties with 44 44 17% 16% identification of countable and uncountable nouns. 3. The use of prepositions is 26 31 10% 11% too difficult. 4. Difficulties in guessing 28 22 11% 8% the meaning of single words from the context 5. Difficulties in organizing 47 42 18% 15% ideas into sentences. 6. Difficult to indicate time 21 19 8% 7% by such expressions as ‗next week‘, ‗last Friday‘, ‗in May‘. 7. Difficulties in 39 50 15% 18% transforming sentences into the Reported Speech. 8. Difficulties with articles. 36 44 14% 16% As it turned out a big number of students (15% and 18%) find it difficult totransform sentences from the direct into the reported speech. The other problemilluminated by the learners is difficulties with identification of countable anduncountable nouns (17% and 16%). The 3rd problem for students is logically 62
  • correct development of ideas and organizing them into sentences (18% and 15%).And the last large grammar problem is the use of articles (14% and 16%). Thecorrect use of the constructions There is and It is, as also the use of prepositions, asalso guessing the meaning of single words from the context and the correctindication of time by means of some adverbs of time are the other grammarproblems students of the 8th grade face to, but the amount of such cases issignificantly smaller. In this way the problems that learners have in relation to various features ofgrammar discourse were highlighted and taken into consideration in the process ofinvestigation. The purpose of the experiment was to identify the types of grammaractivities students are more successful at and to prove the necessity of creatinggrammar workshop in the classroom, i.e. talking explicitly about the stages ofgrammar process, applying them into practice and using peer-evaluation at thestage of revising. Grammar which should be studied during the academic year is spread withineight units of the course-book. Thus, Unit 1 supposes the study of the constructionsThere is and It is, and also the collective nouns. The control group (Group N1) wastaught according to the structure suggested by the above mentioned course-book. In the experimental group the grammar activity was viewed as anindependent part of the lesson including all the stages, i.e. presenting grammar,explanation, and control. The procedure was the following: 1. Presenting grammar (instruction, explanation) – 1st stage As the course-book does not contain any description of grammar, butcomprises only one exercise on this piece of grammar, teacher prepares someadditional information about the introductory ―It‖ and its distinction from theconstruction ‗There is‘. The material for explanation is prepared by the teacher.The idea is: Introductory ‗It‘ opens the sentence and plays the role of a Subject 63
  • substituting a pronoun or a noun. It is used when a sentence does not contain aconcrete subject but describes abstract phenomenon. Introductory ‗It‘ is used 1) When the subjective is an infinitive phrase We begin a sentence with it when the real subject is an infinitive phrase. Soinstead of saying, ‗To accept your advice is difficult‘, we say, ‗It is difficult toaccept your advice‘. Structure: It + verb + subject complement + infinitive phrase (real subject)E.g.: It is easy to learn English. (= To learn English is easy.) It is easy to find fault with others. (= To find fault with others is easy.) It is difficult to know his motive. (= To know his motive is difficult.) It is difficult to find a good job during these troubled times. It is dangerous to play with fire. It could be dangerous to drive so fast. Note that when we wish to emphasize the infinitive phrase, it may be put atthe beginning, especially when it is short.E.g.: To err is human. (OR: It is human to err.) To become a well known writer was his life-long ambition. (OR: It was his lifelong ambition to become a well known writer.) To invest all your money in shares is foolish. (OR: It is foolish to invest all your money in shares.) 2) When the subject is a gerund phrase When the real subject is a phrase that includes a gerund, it is used as aprovisional subject to begin the sentence. So instead of saying ‗Your trying to foolus is no good‘, we say, ‗It is no good you‘re trying to fool us.‘E.g.: It won‟t be any good complaining to the manager. (Complaining to the manager won‘t be any good.) 64
  • It is silly throwing away this opportunity. (Throwing away this opportunity is silly.) Will it be any good my talking to him about it? (Will my talking to him about it be any good?) It is no fun having so many children to look after. (Having so many children to look after is no fun.) Note that it is possible to change the gerund into an infinitive.E.g.: It won‟t be any good for me to complain to the manager. It is silly (for you) to throw away this opportunity. Will it be any good for me to talk to him about it? Many of these sentences can also be re-written as exclamatory sentences. How silly of you to throw away this opportunity! 3) When the subject is a clause When the subject is a clause, the sentence usually begins with it. So insteadof saying ‗That he was once a communist is true‘, we say, ‗It is true that he wasonce a liberal‘.E.g.: It does not matter whether he comes or not. (Whether he comes or not does not matter.) It is required that he should pay the fine. (That he should pay the fine is required.) It is clear that he overheard our conversation. (That he overheard our conversation is clear.) It is clear that you are not interested in this offer. (That you are not interested in the offer is clear.) It cannot be denied that they tried their best to help him. (That they tried their best to help him cannot be denied.) It doesn‟t matter whether we buy it now or later. (Whether we buy it now or later does not matter.) [14, pp.168-170] 65
  • 4) Introductory it with seem, appear and look Introductory it is also used with seem, appear and look when the subjectis an infinitive phrase, a phrase with a gerund in it or a clause.E.g.: It looked doubtful whether she would come It seemed strange that she should behave like that. It seems possible that she may quit the job. It appeared unwise to offend him. It does not seem much good going on with the work. 5) Introductory it as an object It is sometimes used as the object of the verbs think, feel, deem, count,consider etc.E.g.: Don‟t you think it dangerous to drive so carelessly? I consider it a privilege to have this opportunity of welcoming you. I think it odd that she doesn‟t write to me these days. I think it a pity that she could not win. We think it improper that he should be so dictatorial. He made it clear what he wanted. I find it difficult to talk to him. 6) Introductory it in questions The introductory it is sometimes used in questions.E.g.: Who was it that broke the window? It is Peter who broke the window. Why was it that he stole the bread? It was because he was poor that he stole the bread. When was it that the manager came? It was at 10 am that the manager came. All these examples are typed on the sheets of paper and distributed amongthe students. The teacher comments on each sample sentence while explaining the 66
  • new grammar structure. The teacher`s explanation can be based on grammar focuswhich is situated at pp.6-7 of the students` course-book where the sentences withthe introductory ‗It‘ are described as a new grammar structure. After all, theteacher passes to the second stage what is grammar practice itself. [48, p.33] 2. Grammar practice – 2nd stage There is only one exercise on this piece of grammar in the students` course-book which is placed on page 7. This exercise just follows theory on grammarfocus and is supposed to be done in the classroom. So, this exercise is as follows:Put the suitable structure, either „it is‟ or „there is‟, „there are‟ in each space, andact the mini-dialogues. 1. What`s the time? - … … 3.30. And what`s the date? - … … the 24th. 2. How far … … to York? - … … 50 miles. 3. … … hot in July? – Yes, … …. 4. … … very stormy last night? – Yes, … … storms all over the country. 5. … … freezing very hard. - … … ice on the lake tomorrow. 6. … … yesterday that I saw him. – Really? 7. As … … sunny they decided to take the children to the sea. – Oh, did they? 8. Ann is very busy. - … … much work to do. 9. … … not any shadows because … … no sun. - … … behind the clouds. 10. … … going to be a bus strike tomorrow. - … … … all right if … … a fine day. 11. … … nothing to think about. – I don`t think so. 12. … … a pity to stay in when … … so nice outside. – Let`s go out. [32, p.34] This exercise can be done very quickly if students only insert the necessaryconstructions. But this does not give good results in understanding andmemorizing this grammar focus. As there is no any other grammar exercises onthis point in Lesson 1, a teacher needs to conduct an additional work with thisexercise and / or add some more exercises from the other resources. So, while 67
  • doing this exercise the students were asked to comment why namely thisconstruction was used. Such an explanation makes students more thoughtful,creative and meaningful because they attract previously got grammar theory(rules). Besides, students were asked to translate these sentences, paying attentionto the difference of use of these two constructions. As it was mentioned above, a teacher can add some more exercises on thispiece of grammar, having typed them and distributed to the students. Here aresome examples:Insert the suitable structure - „it is‟ or „there is‟ a space place, paying attention tothe difference of their usage. 1. Oh, they tried to hush it up; but I took it direct to the man who wrote it - the man in that house! … is in his hand. … is signed with his initials. … is a direction for finding the secret of this new Noiseless Powder. … note is in German, and was found in a Germans pocket. 2. … is one way of making a common room full of invisible, overpowering poison: turning on the gas - the crime of a white man. 3. … is true I will not meet M. Stark, though he is storming outside this very room. … is true I have asked two other men to confront him for me. 4. Before I am triumphantly cleared before a court, … is another arbitration this gentleman owes me as a gentleman, and in referring him to my seconds I am strictly. 5. "And … is?" asked Father Brown. "… is," said his friend gloomily. "… is a clumsy forgery by somebody who knew nothing of the real hiding-place‖. 6. … is something in this business quite different from the ordinary police mystery where one man is more or less lying and the other man more or less telling the truth. 7. I think … is psychologically possible - in an enlightened age, you know. 8. "Do you know," he said, "… is something about this place that". 68
  • 9. … is not mysterious, … is not even odd, that a jailbird should take his gun to Pilgrims Pond. 10. … is no reason why anybody in America should want to kill an English lord newly landed, except for the one reason mentioned in the pink paper - that the lord is paying his attentions to the millionaires daughter. [29, p.48] The sentences for this exercise were selected from the original Englishliterature, namely from ―The Father Brown‖ by G.K. Chesterton. Besides thefulfilling of grammar exercise students get acquainted with the beautiful literaryEnglish language what is a good language practice for them, too. It is also possible to select a reading passage from the original literature andask the students to find out all the sentences containing ‗It is‘ or ‗There is‘ and togive the explanation to the cases of use and difference between them. But, there isa text for this lesson which is placed on page 5 called ―Mary`s Day‖ which can beused for such activity. Observing this text, it is possible to see that in somesentences the construction ‗It is‘ is italicized. So, the teacher can ask the studentsto explain each case. One more additional exercise it is possible to do in the classroom. It is aslash sentence exercise. It is as follows:Put the following words in a correct order, making up sentences. Pay attention tothe use of „It is‟ and „There is‟. 1. Once / certain / it /murder/ than / is/ he/ done/ more/ had. 2. No/ at/ mystery/ there/ all/ is/ here. 3. You/ there/ no/ curse/ is/ on. 4. Is/ problem/ an/ it/ extraordinary. 5. Meet/ there/ to/ is/ refuse/ a/ whom/ man/ house/ in/ refuse/ this. 6. But/ times/ it/ three/ is/ or/ perfectly/ two/ true/ down/ that/ burnt/ this/ been/ tower/ has. 7. Your/ innocent/ innocent/ there/ there/ is/ record/ man/ his/ and/ is. 8. It/ weather/ shore/ basking/ is/ the/ hardly/ for/ on. 69
  • 9. Mews/ mansions/ there/ tall/ between/ is/ the/ sort/ two/ a/ of/ of. 10.Waistcoat/ white/ it/ inside/ his/ is/ wore/ needless/ spats/ and/ to/ slip/ that/ say/ he/ white/ a. [28, pp.216-218] When students fulfill this exercise, it is supposed that besides the word orderthey pay attention to the difference in the usage of two constructions ‗It is‘ or‗There is‘. Understanding such difference makes them better understand the casesof use for each construction. After each exercise had been done, students were asked to exchange theirexercise-books and check the correctness or incorrectness by their desk-mates. Andonly in the case if any comments are supposed by the tasks to the exercises groupor total discussion may take place. After grammar practice we passed to the grammar control. 3. Grammar control – 3rd stage Grammar control has a great variety of forms and activities. It can befulfilling of some exercises at home, as also in the classroom but themselves,without the comment and explanation, only for the control, any quiz or somethingthe like can be given to the students for checking their knowledge. But this lastform can be supposed only for the next lesson or as a part of the round-up lesson.During our experiment we used the following forms of grammar control: Learners fulfilled the grammar exercise as a home task. It is placed on page149 in the section ―Supplement. Extended Grammar Practice‖.“Insert it is / there is” in the spaces. In some sentences negative and interrogativeforms, or the past or future tenses are required. 1. … a hotel in the village, so we decided to stay there. … a charming village and I was very happy there, but my children were bored because … nothing to do in the evenings. 2. … a pond beside your house? – Yes, … . How deep … ? 3. We`ve done all we can, … nothing to do now but wait. 70
  • 4. – Has Tom any more children? – Yes, … a daughter, Ann. – Oh, yes, … Ann who opened the door for us yesterday, …? 5. … autumn. … many coloured leaves on the ground. 6. … nothing to be done about this. 7. … still very early and … nobody to be seen in the street. 8. … far from my house to the Institute. 9. … so cold out-of-doors yesterday, and today … not so cold. I think … warmer tomorrow. 10. … grandmother who makes the decisions. [58, pp.149] Besides, it is also possible to give the students a reading passage selectedfrom the original English or American literature and ask them to find out all thesentences containing ‗It is‘ or ‗There is‘ and to give the explanation to the cases oftheir use and difference between them. Such activity can be given as a home task. Role-playing next lesson is a good form of grammar control, too. So, all the 3 stages in grammar study (presenting, practice and control) takeplace during the experiment carried out in the 8th grade while having thepedagogical practice. Thus the grammar activities fulfilled in both groups differ in the followingaspects: 1) Each grammar activity in the experimental group started with a clear-cut presenting grammar stage. 2) Learners from the experimental group had a clear purpose of grammar assignment and a perspective of audience. 3) During the stage of grammar practice there was used the technique of peer- evaluation. Students of the experimental group had the ability to read each other‘s exercises and express their opinions by suggesting some revisions and reconstructions. At the post-experimental stage students were proposed to fill the samequestionnaire they had filled at the pre-experimental stage for the purpose to notice 71
  • the results of the use of modern techniques and activities for improving language study, namely, on grammar study. The results obtained in both groups are presented below:№ Number of points Percentage drop Group 1 Group 2 Group1 Group 2 Problem area (of 68 (of 72 possible) possible)1. Incorrect use of the 16 20 6.5% 8.5% constructions There is / It is.2. Difficulties with 41 39 16.7% 16.5% identification of countable and uncountable nouns.3. The use of prepositions is 25 27 10.2% 11.5% too hard.4. Difficulties in guessing 27 19 11% 8% the meaning of single words from the context5. Difficulties in organizing 45 37 18.3% 15.7% ideas into sentences.6. Hard to indicate time by 20 15 8% 6.4% such expressions as ‗next week‘, ‗last Friday‘, ‗in May‘.7. Difficulties in 37 38 15% 16% transforming sentences into the Reported Speech.8. Difficulties with articles. 35 41 14.3% 17.4% 72
  • Moreover, learners from the experimental group (Group 2) were asked toshare their opinions on grammar assignments they had performed. They weregiven a feedback questionnaire on their grammar activities. Students Feedback Questionnaire Make a check mark to show your agreement or disagreement with thefollowing statements.№ Statements Agree Disagree 1. Techniques which were used did not help me to 2 15 practice my grammar abilities. 2. The purpose of grammar tasks was clear for me. 16 1 3. I found nothing different from previous grammar 2 15 exercises I had done. 4. Work at each stage was set up clearly. 14 3 5. Presenting grammar helped me to do grammar 16 1 exercises. 6. The way the tasks were designed was interesting. 16 1 7. I participated better during class, group, pair work. 14 3 8 Some of the tasks were confusing. 2 15 9. Similar tasks should be designed during the school 14 3 year. 73
  • §3.2 Results of the Experiment After having analyzed grammar assignments fulfilled by the students andhaving compared learners` questionnaires completed before and after theexperiment, there were distinguished significant changes on students` perception ofgrammar tasks and the results achieved by the learners in Group 2, i.e.experimental group. Considering two diagrams reflecting the difficultiesencountered by the students during the process of grammar, it is easy to notice thatthe amount of difficulties that learners have in relation to various features ofgrammar study has decreased. Before the experiment 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 74
  • After the experiment 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 The given diagrams illustrate results of the questionnaires filled by thelearners of Group 2 before and after the experiment. The horizontal ax shows theordinal number of the problem area and the vertical ax shows the amount of pointsobtained by this problem area. The total number of points gained by each of theeight statements of the questionnaire reveals the degree of difficulty ofcounterparts of grammar study. The larger number of points acquired the greaterdegree of difficulties students encounter. Let us compare the two diagrams. The quantity of difficulties that studentshave with the correct use of the constructions ‗There is‘ / ‗It is‘ has significantlylessened (from 25 to 20 points). These results were achieved due to the modernpresentation and practicing grammar techniques used during the experiment. Suchactivities as presenting grammar, grammar instruction, error correction, model 75
  • sentences for oral practice, question and answer, dialogues, situations,demonstration texts (contextualization), grammatical explanation, quiz, puzzle,games, and some other helped to improve the students` grammar competence andskills. As a result the amount of difficulties encountered by the learners, whileidentification of countable and uncountable nouns, has decreased from 44 to 39points. The other technique that enabled students to get started and organize theirideas in a proper way was the contextualizing of assignments, i.e. giving thepurpose of grammar study and suggesting an audience. It specifies the content ofthe assignment and helps learners to read, write, listen and speak more effectively. The process of grammar practice and revising as well as presenting grammaractivities helped students to lessen the problem of vocabulary (from 22 to 19points), difficulties in organizing ideas into sentences – from 42 to37. Difficultieswith the reported speech were also significantly lessened, namely – from 50 to 38.And, finally the problem with articles was solved, too. The amount of points beforethe experiment (44) significantly decreased (41), too. Though more time is spenton presenting grammar and grammar practice the whole amount of time used forfulfilling the assignments is practically equal in both experimental and controlgroups. Students of the experimental group do not waste much time on generatingtheir ideas and compiling exercises as they do it working together at the first stage. On considering students feedback questionnaires it was evident that moststudents were satisfied with the grammar assignments they had fulfilled. Thus, 16students of 17 agreed that the purpose of grammar tasks was clear for them. 14students of 17 agree that work at each stage was set up clearly, as also theyrecognized that they participated better during class, group and pair work and alsoagreed that similar tasks should be designed during the school year. The results obtained after analyzing pre-experimental and post-experimentalquestionnaires of the control Group 1 showed that the amount of difficulties 76
  • students encounter while fulfilling grammar assignments has remained practicallyunchanged. The following charts illustrate this fact. Before the experiment 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 After the experiment 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 77
  • It is obvious that the amount of difficulties represented by the vertical ax –practically hasn`t been changed after the experiment. In general students from the experimental group were more successful atfulfilling all the assignments. After having checked the grammar assignments fulfilled by the students ofboth groups, there was made the analysis of mistakes made by the learners. Theresults of the analysis and the difference in percentage between two groups areshown in the table below. Kinds of irregularities Number of mistakes Percentage Group 1 Group 2 differenceReported Speech 62 45 28%Vocabulary 19 12 37%Constructions ‗It is‘ / ‗There is‘ 32 17 47%Articles 16 10 38% The data from the table illustrate the fact that learners of the experimentalgroup have done approximately 37% of mistakes less than the learners of thecontrol group. This proves the fact that the presenting grammar activities, peerevaluation and clear staging of the grammar study (practice) is of great use foracquiring good grammar skills. 78
  • CONCLUSION The present research project was an attempt to examine various types ofgrammar presentation and explanation activities, to reveal difficulties studentshave in the process of acquisition of grammar and to highlight the techniques thatcan eliminate these difficulties. After the investigation we have come to thefollowing conclusions: 1. The process of forming grammar skills is a manifold process consisting of pre-learning, volume and repetition, success-orientation, heterogeneity, teacher assistance and interest. Children need grammar to be able to speak, and write in the target language. Teachers‘ aim is to form grammar skills and prevent children from making grammar mistakes in their speech. 2. The variety of approaches of teaching grammar allows teachers to use the appropriate methods and techniques taking into account students‘ age and level of language proficiency. As for example, the method and techniques the teacher should use in teaching beginners or intermediate-level is the direct method and various techniques which can develop pupils‘ listening comprehension and speaking. 3. We have examined two kinds of grammar skills: the reproductive and receptive grammar skills. The reproductive grammar skills give pupils an opportunity to make up their own sentences in oral and written forms in other words to communicate and the receptive grammar skills give them an opportunity to read texts or aud and understand it. To master the reproductive grammar skills one should study the basic sentences or models (grammar is presented as itself in the basic sentences), to master the receptive grammar skills one should identify and analyze the grammar item. We teach children to read by means of grammar. It reveals the relationship between the words in the given sentence. 79
  • 4. We have such a conclusion that the forming of grammar skills depends on training. Training is of great importance to realize the grammar item. We must use a lot of training exercises for the assimilation of grammar. We should provide the motivation to learn English, encourage children to communicate and remember that the correction of errors in the early stages of a language course may foster the following negative aspects: children lose confidence when they have fear of making grammar mistakes; children become reluctant to take risks: they only say the information they know they can say. We should realize the importance of training exercises and the role of the individual approach to teaching the children. Besides, the teacher must have a clear idea of the grammar of the language, its structure and usage; everything he teaches must be based on it; he should always be conscious of introducing or practicing some point of grammar.5. It is more apparent that the teaching of grammar can be supported effectively by using such resources as: songs, games, drawings, maps and charts. According to the needs of a classroom, several techniques can be integrated with the resources mentioned above. Since teaching is a developing art, which requires innovative and creative ideas to enrich its effectiveness, we must not hesitate to use such resources in our classrooms. These resources can assist our teaching of grammar while providing a relaxed atmosphere and motivate students. Such activities are student centered, hence, by using them we give a chance to our students to express themselves, enjoy themselves during learning, and use the reserves of their minds. As, it should be born in mind that all these resources require the activation of both left and right hemispheres. Thus, we let our students use their long-term memory and learn effectively during such activities. So there is an undeniable fact that if our concern is to provide a successful and beneficial teaching, we must not hesitate to use songs, poems, games, and problem solving activities, which bring the structural, pragmatic, prosodic 80
  • and communicative aspects of language together, in our language classrooms. 6. The teacher should try to organize grammar workshop in the classroom, where each student will be an active participant during all stages of grammar process. Presenting grammar activities, peer evaluation and clear staging of the grammar study (practice) is of great use for acquiring good grammar skills. Thus helping to avoid difficulties that students encounter while fulfilling a grammar assignment. 7. When introducing a new grammatical structure teachers should go through the following five stages: lead-in, elicitation, explanation, accurate reproduction and immediate creativity. Various visual aids and teaching materials should be extensively utilized to facilitate the assimilation of grammar mechanism of the language studied. 8. It should be said that in teaching grammar, as well as in teaching vocabulary and pronunciation the teacher organizes learners‘ learning and learners are involved in the process of learning, i.e. in (1) the acquisition of information about grammar item (its form, meaning and usage), (2) drill and transformation to form grammar habits, and (3) the making use of the habits acquired in language skills (listening, speaking and reading). This reach material can be used for deepening one‘s knowledge in studyingmethods of teaching English as a second language, and also English in general.This research will help teachers to use widely a range of different grammaractivities, especially those which are not fully presented in the textbooks. Thisresearch project is quite useful and can have practical value for the interrelationsamong some subjects as, for example, Methods of teaching, Lexis, Grammar, andsome other. A set of elaborated suggestions of this work can be used by theteachers who are interested in improving students‘ mastery of the language. 81
  • SUMMARY The established objectives have been successfully fulfilled during theinvestigation. More than 55 works concerning the problem of teaching grammarhave been analyzed. The importance of this issue is proved by the fact that manymethodologists from different countries are interested in this topic and haveelaborated their own recommendations and techniques of teaching grammar. The first chapter of the research project includes the theoretical descriptionof different approaches to teaching grammar; it outlines grammar teachingstrategies suggested by different methodologists and points out a general model forintroducing a new language structure. The second chapter of the paper deals with the descriptional analyses ofdifferent grammar teaching techniques and types of exercises for the assimilationof grammar. It shows some well-developed and fascinating techniques that can beused to make a grammar lesson effective, beneficial, and interesting. The third chapter comprises the description of the course of theexperimental work in the 8th grades and its results. Grammar is considered by the majority of learners as one of the mostdifficult skills in studying foreign languages. One reason that grammar is sodifficult relates to the fact that, in addition to knowledge of the appropriatepronunciation and meaning of words, one must assimilate the grammarmechanism, he must see the relation between the words in the context, and this isan obstacle for second language learners. The experiment carried out in the lyceum has revealed the fact that theamount of difficulties students encounter while accomplishing grammar tasks canbe reduced by applying some techniques and strategies. 82
  • First of all, the objectives at each stage of grammar process were set upclearly. At the presenting grammar stage students were presented the new grammaritems and explained the distinction between two constructions ―There is‖ and ―Itis‖. They were also shown their structure, meaning and use needed for coping withchallenging tasks. Students received sheets of paper with model sentences foranalyzing the difference between the two constructions, which enabled them tounderstand better their structure, meaning and use. Grammar presentation stagehelped learners to acquire the necessary grammar structure, besides to developlistening and writing skills. At practice stage students were aimed at performingsome exercises to memorize the grammar focus. Students were asked to commentwhy this or that construction was used. This strategy makes learners morereflective, creative and meaningful because they point out the grammar rulesacquired previously. Moreover, students were asked to exchange their exercise-books and check the correctness or incorrectness of their desk-mates. Peerevaluation used during the grammar practice stage is of great use. Students had theopportunity to read each other‘s exercise and express their opinions by suggestingsome revisions and reconstructions. At the control stage students show theirassignments to the rest of the class and comments about both the usage andmeaning in them are elicited. It is necessary for the teacher to create a comfortable atmosphere for thestudents to make them feel at ease while performing their grammar acquisition.Hence, the teacher of the English language needs: 1) knowledge of pedagogics andpsychology; the nature of the learner and the nature of the learning and teachingprocesses; 2) knowledge of teaching methods and techniques, the best and mosteffective ones to use; an understanding of the purpose and aim of each techniqueand device he uses; 3) confidence and skill in his handling of teaching techniques. 83
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  • Appendix 1Legend  action that takes place once, never or several times  actions that happen one after anothermoment in time  actions that suddenly take place  action that started before a certain moment and lasts beyond that moment period of time  actions taking place at the same time  action taking place before a certain moment in time Result  puts emphasis on the result  action taking place before a certain moment in timeCourse / Duration puts emphasis on the course or duration of the action [54] 88
  • Appendix 2 AUse the language in this box to describe your pictures to your partners: square at the top circle inside the circle at the bottom There is a rectangle outside the circle to the right triangle to the left 2. 3. 4.1. 7. 8.5. 6. 10. 11. 12.9. Listen to your partner describe the circles for you. Draw the picture that is being described. 89
  • Appendix 2 B Use the language in this box to describe your pictures to your partners: square at the top circle inside the circle at the bottom There is a rectangle outside the circle to the right triangle to the left1. 2. 3. 4.5. 6. 7. 8. 10. 11. 12.9. Listen to your partner describe the circles for you. Draw the picture that is being described. [53] 90
  • Appendix 3 Suggestions about Teaching Grammar 1. Teach only those rules which are simple and which do not have too many exceptions. 2. Do not spend too much time on grammar points which do not appear to be very useful or important. Just make the students aware of the special features. 3. Wherever possible, teach grammar in context. 4. When presenting grammar, try to use charts, tables, diagrams, maps. 5. Avoid difficult grammatical terminology as much as possible. 6. Allow enough opportunities for practice. 7. Do not be frustrated by the students‘ mistakes and errors, which are inevitable in language learning. ―Research has shown that teachers who focus students‘ attention on form during communicative interactions are more effective than those who never focus on form.‖ Spada and Lightbown, 1992 [31, pp.6-12] 91
  • Appendix 4 Rules to enhance grammatical explanations:  Keep your explanations brief and simple. Use the mother tongue if students cannot follow an explanation in English.  Use charts and other visuals whenever possible to graphically depict grammatical relationships.  Illustrate with clear, unambiguous examples.  Try to account for varying cognitive styles among your students (for example, analytical learners will have an easier time picking up on grammatical explanations than will wholistic learners).  Do not get yourself (and students) tied up in knots over so-called ‗exceptions‘ to rules.  If do not know how to explain something do not risk giving false information (that you may have to retract later, which will cause even more embarrassment); rather, tell students you will research that point and bring an answer back the next day. [7, p.352] 92
  • Appendix 5 How to present a new languageTip 1: Set the scene and put the new language into a very clear and obviouscontext.1. Use real objects or pictures, or draws objects, people or a situation on theblackboard.2. The teacher tells the students, about a situation which demonstrates the meaningof the new language.3. Read a text or listen to a tape which contains examples of the new language.This can be a story or a dialogue.4.The teacher mimes (acts without speaking) an action or emotion or acts out a roleplay or dialogue which helps show what the new language is and when it is used.Tip 2: Procedures: Involve the learners in building up a situation or context whichmakes the meaning and use of the new item as clear as possible, and which alsoengages the learner‘s interest and imagination as much as possible1. Set the scene using one of the techniques listed in points 1 to 4 above.2. Model the new language, saying it two or three times.(Make the grammar clear by highlighting the key elements)3. Ask students to repeat the new language several times out loud.(Listen and imitate the normal pronunciation) 93
  • Appendix 54. Ask questions to check that students understand the meaning of the new words,structure or function.5. Write the new language item on the blackboard, marking in the stress6. If necessary, explain the grammar of the new language item. (Give more examples of the new item)7. Do not introduce new grammar and new vocabulary at the same time. If necessary, pre-teach the vocabulary. [3, pp.38-42] 94