Prospective EFL teachers’ cognition on grammar(ing) as skill
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Prospective EFL teachers’ cognition on grammar(ing) as skill

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Paper presented on March 28, 2010 at 4p.m. in Douglas West in room.

Paper presented on March 28, 2010 at 4p.m. in Douglas West in room.
Eliane H. Augusto-Navarro
(eaugustonavarro@gmail.com)

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Prospective EFL teachers’ cognition on grammar(ing) as skill Prospective EFL teachers’ cognition on grammar(ing) as skill Presentation Transcript

  • Prospective EFL teachers’ cognition on grammar(ing) as skill Eliane Hercules Augusto-Navarro (UFSCar, Brazil email: eaugustonavarro@gmail.com)
  • Prospective EFL teachers’ cognition on grammar(ing) as skill TESOL 2010 44th Annual Convention & Exhibit – Boston Eliane H. Augusto-Navarro (eaugustonavarro@gmail.com)
    • Research Motivation
      • Prospective Teachers (students in a graduate program on Language and Literature at UFSCar – Brazil) start their course with the (mis)conception that teaching-learning grammar means practicing mechanical rule-based exercises (structure practice)
      • Some think that there is no need to teach-learn grammar to become efficient EFL users
  • Prospective EFL teachers’ cognition on grammar(ing) as skill TESOL 2010 44th Annual Convention & Exhibit – Boston Eliane H. Augusto-Navarro (eaugustonavarro@gmail.com)
    • Research Purpose and Context:
      • Verify possible influences of theoretical studies on student-teachers informed cognition about grammar in EFL classes
      • Student-teachers in the 3rd or 4th year of a 5 year long teacher education program
      • Class main references: Teaching Language:From Grammar to Grammaring by Diane Larsen-Freeman, 2003 and Grammar by Batstone, 1994
      • 14 students in class and 9 participants in this study
  • Prospective EFL teachers’ cognition on grammar(ing) as skill TESOL 2010 44th Annual Convention & Exhibit – Boston Eliane H. Augusto-Navarro (eaugustonavarro@gmail.com) )
    • Methodology (qualitative action research)
      • Prior to classes : 14 student-teachers (lab) interviewed about their thoughts about grammar and teaching materials in EFL
      • Researcher: offered a 60 hour long course on grammar(ing) as skill (first term 2008)
      • End of the term : 14 student-teachers (lab) interviewed about their thoughts about grammar and teaching materials in EFL
      • 9 participants selected for qualitative interview analysis (those with some, no matter how little, teaching experience)
  • Prospective EFL teachers’ cognition on grammar(ing) as skill TESOL 2010 44th Annual Convention & Exhibit – Boston Eliane H. Augusto-Navarro (eaugustonavarro@gmail.com)
    • Two main interview questions
      • In case you are a language teacher, how has your view of grammar changed, if it has, after you started teaching? (first interview);
      • Please “think aloud” (make a reflection) about how your view of grammar has changed, in case it has, after taking the class on “teaching grammaring as skill” - based on the theories proposed by Larsen-Freeman (2003) and by Batstone (1994). (second interview)
  • Prospective EFL teachers’ cognition on grammar(ing) as skill TESOL 2010 44th Annual Convention & Exhibit – Boston Eliane H. Augusto-Navarro (eaugustonavarro@gmail.com)
    • Theory studied in classes: Grammar(ing) as Skill
      • An assessment of student’s language needs and how they learn should inform the choice of syllabus units and teaching practices. We are, after all, teaching students, not just teaching language.
    • (LARSEN-FREEMAN, 2003:6)
    • Key question: Does it make more sense to teach grammar:
          • preparing students to develop a systematic development of forms (botton-up) ?
          • or
          • encouraging the “learn by doing” (top down)?
    • We can use both foci: function and form, but they should be integrated. (Larsen-Freeman, 2003)
  • Prospective EFL teachers’ cognition on grammar(ing) as skill TESOL 2010 44th Annual Convention & Exhibit – Boston Eliane H. Augusto-Navarro (eaugustonavarro@gmail.com)
    • Key element: The concept of grammar
    • Learners’ dual problem :
            • Lack of engagement by students in grammar learning;
            • Inert knowledge problem : students inability to access their knowledge to use in real communicative situation
    • Larsen–Freeman prefers to consider grammar as a skill to be developed rather than as knowledge to be transmitted and stored.
  • Prospective EFL teachers’ cognition on grammar(ing) as skill TESOL 2010 44th Annual Convention & Exhibit – Boston Eliane H. Augusto-Navarro (eaugustonavarro@gmail.com)
    • Batstone (1994) – There is a critical gap between teaching grammar as product (form focused) and teaching grammar as process (focus on communication/function)
    • Proposal of filling this gap by integrating form and function ->
            • GRAMMAR AS SKILL
    • Engage learners in:
    • - Relevant activities
            • - Making learners active
  • Prospective EFL teachers’ cognition on grammar(ing) as skill TESOL 2010 44th Annual Convention & Exhibit – Boston Eliane H. Augusto-Navarro (eaugustonavarro@gmail.com)
    • Key-steps raised by Larsen-Freeman:
      • Consciousness-raising
      • Practice
      • Feedback
    • Key-steps raised by Batstone:
      • Noticing (as skill)
      • Grammaticization
      • Reflection
  • Prospective EFL teachers’ cognition on grammar(ing) as skill TESOL 2010 44th Annual Convention & Exhibit – Boston Eliane H. Augusto-Navarro (eaugustonavarro@gmail.com)
    • Borg (2003, p.81) lists 4 central questions in studies about teacher cognition:
      • What do teachers have cognition about?
      • How do these cognitions develop?
      • How do they interact with teacher learning?
      • How do they interact with classroom practice?
  • Prospective EFL teachers’ cognition on grammar(ing) as skill TESOL 2010 44th Annual Convention & Exhibit – Boston Eliane H. Augusto-Navarro (eaugustonavarro@gmail.com) (INTERVIEW 1) Well, when I was a student I thought that I didn’t have to learn grammar because it was something boring , but now I think it’s different because I guess, I think it’s very important to teach grammar , not only grammar, but teaching grammar through the materials, we select to give classes, and our texts, music, songs, videos, everything we can teach grammar.     (INTERVIEW 2) I liked a lot this course because the, they made you to think of grammar as grammaring Eh (…) as a skill because now grammar doesn’t mean we, we know (...)to apply it how the, the a-author said, we need to, to know it meaningfully and appropriately, (…)apply during, eh, during our conversation, our speech and our, and our lives (…) , it’s a little bit difficult to create some exercises based on, on this theory, but I think it’s very important to change or to open our mind to this kind of view because as future teachers we need to pay attention to these aspects , mainly grammar, because is something that is very discussed; if we have to, to teach or not grammar, how do we have to do this, so I think this theory has a lot of us to think about these aspects as teachers and as students; a new way to see the grammar. Participants’ voice : Cl
  • Prospective EFL teachers’ cognition on grammar(ing) as skill TESOL 2010 44th Annual Convention & Exhibit – Boston Eliane H. Augusto-Navarro (eaugustonavarro@gmail.com)
    • (INTERVIEW 1) Ah…yes, it has changed, eh... because when I was a, a student I used to, to think there was only my way to, to learn, and my teachers’ way to teach , but nowadays, in the college, I learned that, ah, and I realized that, my teacher used to prepare the classes thinking about me and nowadays I, ah… try to think about my, my students to, to prepare my classes, eh… so I think more about their needs, and I try to give different classes about grammar , and to… ah, to try, to, not, to, to really teach them, you know, to make them, ah, aware of what I’m talking because I don’t like to say that, ah… that I teach and they learn, it’s not always like that, but I think using this way, ah…they will learn more easily.
    (INTERVIEW 2) Well, before I studied, ah… all this theory, I, I couldn’t, I really couldn’t see how to teach grammar without talking about, you know, forms, the names they give, they give for forms and all metalanguage , I don’t know how to say in English, ah… Well, and studying all these theories, I could realize how I can, you know, ah, teach grammar as a skill, ah… seeing grammar not as a separate part of the language, ah... and how to, to treat it, for example, ah… is in tasks, texts, and… ah…. how can I say… (from here on the participant speaks L1 – her speech has been translated to English) approaching students to grammar, I mean... not make them continue to think that it is totally segregated from language, that it (grammar) is only about metalanguage, with its rules and exceptions. In conclusion, that it is part of what they use and... I don’t know... I started to realize how I can do that in class, looking up materials, trying to change and adapt them, because as Larsen-Freeman says, I think she is the one who says that we are not simply teaching language, but we are teaching students and do need to understand what language is, what grammar is, as they are using it all, that’s it Participants’ voice : Db
  • Prospective EFL teachers’ cognition on grammar(ing) as skill TESOL 2010 44th Annual Convention & Exhibit – Boston Eliane H. Augusto-Navarro (eaugustonavarro@gmail.com)
    • (INTERVIEW 1) I think that my point of view of grammar didn’t change, ah… I never thought that, that was important, so important, and I still think it isn’t so important, I think that concerning grammar my view is the same; it’s not the main aspect. But it’s important. You should, you should know that after you know how to use the language, you should know that by curiosity or to fix little languages, little language problems.
    INTERVIEW 2) Ok. Well, my view of grammar has changed a lot as I said before, I thought that I didn’t like grammar, but it turns out that what I didn’t like was the way people taught it to me, so now I have a different view over grammar, and I can see that it is important, but not in the way it’s been taught . We have to be cautions when we think about that because, ah, as it happened to me, ah, students view of the language might depend on this grammar view, so we should tell our learners that grammar is not a bad thing, it’s not meaningless, you have to know it, but we have to tell them that it’s not everything ; it’s important, but it’s not everything, so I guess this was a very positive point after taking this course, I can see that grammar is important, and, ah, concerning the theory itself, the theories, actually, I thought the theory was very interesting, I really liked them, and I kind of believe in all I read, and I find it really difficult to put in practice because, I don’t know, it’s something different, something new, we don’t have something, we, we just don’t have, ah… a guide, you know, we have only the theory and not exercises, not real classes, so I think that’s a hard point, I think that practice after, about, actually about all stuff is very hard to do it. That’s it. Participants’ voice : Nt
  • Prospective EFL teachers’ cognition on grammar(ing) as skill TESOL 2010 44th Annual Convention & Exhibit – Boston Eliane H. Augusto-Navarro (eaugustonavarro@gmail.com )
      • (INTERVIEW 1) Well I, I think that when I was a student I, I used to think that a, a language only exists because of grammar, so, ah… ah…besides, for example, now I think grammar is very important, but when I was a student I thought it was so much important than I really think it is today. Now I think, eh… about language as a manner to communicate yourself, yes, if you want to communicate yourself language is an easier way to communicate yourself, and I think grammar, ah… comes as, ah… as something in the package , it’s very great having it, ah.. it’s nice to know it, it’s nice to know how to use it, but it’s not a, it’s not so that important , besides I think it’s very important… besides I think it’s very important, I don’t think, it’s ah, the main important thing nowadays as an English teacher, I just want my students to communicate themselves and if grammar helps them doing it I think it’s great.
    INTERVIEW 2) Ok. So, ah… I think I, I’m still thinking, continue thinking that grammar is very important , but I think that now I’m able to explore it differently than before. I think that in the beginning of the, the semester, yes, before learning all these styles and learning all these, these ways to, to, to work through grammar, ah, I was to focus on structure and I, I think I used to use metalanguage and… I think now it’s, it’s different; my conception of teaching grammar is different . I don’t know if, ah…, I don’t know if, my conception changed, yes, I really think that, I continue think that grammar is important and, that it is, it is necessary, but now I think differently when I’m teaching a language, yes, teaching grammar, to, to, to use grammar differently in exercises and to explore more our students before guiding them into grammar, so , I think it was very good to, to, to reflect upon grammar differently, yes, sometimes I got confused reading some things because I have never read before this kind of articles and, and texts, but I think I can apply some, some ideas on my teaching, and I think it’s very important, and the best thing I think I could reach was this, this idea that we need to think about our students first, the need (group?) is different, yes, we don’t have, ah… every time the same students, yes, they are different, and we need to think about them when we are develop, developing a material or creating a course, or giving a course, and, now I see that grammar can be explored differently than before. I think that was the best gain I, I had. Participants’ voice : Sf
  • Prospective EFL teachers’ cognition on grammar(ing) as skill TESOL 2010 44th Annual Convention & Exhibit – Boston Eliane H. Augusto-Navarro (eaugustonavarro@gmail.com)
    • Importance of teaching grammar in EFL classes
    • Before having teaching experience (interview 1)
          • Very important
          • Not important
          • Boring
    • After having teaching experience (interview 2)
          • Very important
          • Not important at all
          • Communicating is more important
  • Prospective EFL teachers’ cognition on grammar(ing) as skill TESOL 2010 44th Annual Convention & Exhibit – Boston Eliane H. Augusto-Navarro (eaugustonavarro@gmail.com)
    • Some results:
      • Change in participants’ concept of grammar after studying the theory ( grammaring as skill )
        • Take students’ interest into consideration
        • Make students’ active/engaged
        • Importance of being meaningful, accurate, appropriate
        • Had never seen grammar in the communicative approach
        • Think theory relevant, but difficult to think of practical examples
  • Prospective EFL teachers’ cognition on grammar(ing) as skill TESOL 2010 44th Annual Convention & Exhibit – Boston Eliane H. Augusto-Navarro (eaugustonavarro@gmail.com)
    • Conclusions:
      • Some participants seemed uncomfortable in saying that they considered grammar important in the first interview;
      • They have declared to have a new grammar conception after their theoretical studies;
      • Taking students’ profile into consideration seemed an extraordinary new idea for some participants;
      • They had never heard or thought of the tridimensional character of grammar;
      • They could see relations between grammar and communication (after classes);
      • These student-teachers seem more prepared to make their informed choices .
  • References Batstone, R. (1994) Grammar. 147p. Oxford University Press Borg, S. (2003) Teacher cognition in language teaching: A review of research on what language teachers think, know, believe, and do. Language Teaching , 36, 81–109 Larsen-Freeman, D. (2003) Teaching Language: From Grammar to Grammaring . 170p. Heinle & Heinle.