Form: This refers to the how the language, is structured, meaning that the student must understand the sentence structure of a specific grammar rule. In this example on the past perfect tense, it would be: subject | had | past participle | object/complement. Meaning: This is the comprehension that is generated by grammar. Students connect the grammar structure with the meaning. For example, the past tense signals events in the past, the past perfect signals earlier actions/events in a narrative. Once the teacher has presented the structure, he should mention the meaning too. Use: Finally comes how the grammar gets used. For example, the past perfect tense isn't used in every sentence but rather in conjunction with the past tense. One sentence appears in the past perfect to order events, and then subsequent sentences appear in the simple past. Take the following short narrative: Tom had studied English for ten years. As a result, he got a great job in England last year.
1: Keep the explanations brief. A simple comment that the past tense refers to events in the past serves as an adequate explanation. The same holds true of a few comments on the past perfect, or any other structure. A visual diagram and several examples also further highlight the target language. 2: Limit the explanation to the task/lesson at hand. There may be several exceptions to the rule. There may be times when the language isn't used for some situation or with some medium. Yet this is all extraneous information. The teacher wants to provide just enough explanation for the students to practice the language correctly and purposefully. 3: Consider devoting several lessons to a specific grammar or language point. This allows the teacher to address and practice the rules and exceptions, yet not overwhelm the class with too much information. The teacher can also practice different skills/mediums, yet return to the same language point. 4: Address grammar and vocabulary again and again. The teacher should provide several opportunities to acquire the target language during a course of study. Just because students have studied the target material once doesn't mean they can use it well. By revisiting the target structures, then students who grasped the form have a second chance to grasp the meaning and use of the target structure. Students who grasped the meaning have a second chance for the form and use. Recovered from: http://www.betterlanguageteaching.com/esl-articles/89-form-meaning-use February 15th 2010
Aspects of the teaching/learning of structures *It’s very important to never isolate activities; keeping a balance and linking grammar with the linguistic skills, will give the student a sense of direction in the language. Form Meaning Listening Perception and recognition of the spoken form of the structure. Comprehension of what the spoken structure means. Speaking Production of well-formed examples in speech. Use of the structure to convey meanings in speech. Reading Perception and recognition of the written form. Comprehension of what the written structure means in context. Writing Production of well-formed examples in writing. Use of the structure to convey meanings in writing.
Normally, we begin a class with a text in which the grammatical structure is presented. The goal of this is to get the learners to perceive this structure—its form and meaning—in both speech and writing, so they can take it in to short term memory. Usually a short dialogue in the textbook is read by the students or teacher, and as a follow-up, students may be ask to read and repeat and reproduce from memory. Presenting a text may be no more than a sentence or two, which serves a model for immediate practice.
In this stage, we move away a little bit from the context, and focus, temporarily on the grammatical items themselves: what they sound and look like, what they mean, how they function—in short, what rules govern them. With the purpose that the learner understands various aspects of the structure. If it is possible, in some cases we may need to take extensive use of the students’ native language to explain, make translations, generalizations and so on. In other cases where the structure is more difficult, this stage may take more time. However, where the structure is very simple, or even parallel in the native language, it may take only a minute or be entirely omitted.
Learners do test to show themselves and the teacher how well they have mastered the contents that they have been learning. The main objective of a test is to provide feedback, without it neither teacher nor learner would be able to progress very far. We have to know where we are in order to know where to go next.