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Topic 1 : Introduction to Grammar Topic 2 : Approaches in the teaching of grammar

Group 4 : Cheong Zi Hoong Hong Yin Yin Lee Li Wen Harzuwani Wahab Norafidah Jasman

Topic 1 : Introduction to Grammar

1. 1 Meanings and definition of Grammar

Grammar is a description of the rules that govern how a languages sentences are formed. (Thornbury, 1999) The whole system and structure of a language or of languages in general, usually taken as consisting of syntax and morphology and sometimes also phonology and semantics.

1.2 Fluency and Accuracy

Fluency is the ability to read, speak, or write easily, smoothly, and expressively. In other words, the speaker can read, understand and respond in a language clearly and concisely while relating meaning and context. Accuracy is the ability to produce correct sentences using correct grammar and vocabulary.

Teaching Fluency
Advantage: Able to use language to communicate efficiently and to seek information, give information, solve a problem etc. Disadvantage: May not able to use language in speaking and writing using accurate grammar

Teaching Accuracy
Advantage: produce students who can reproduce accurately sentences learnt Disadvantage: May not be effective in communicating the language in real life situations.

Fluency Activities
The characteristics
Use: real life Language for communication Language for skill Attempts at communication are judged by performance Attention is given to meaning Correction is generally a minor clarification of fluency in use Communication is the objective

Information gap Opinion gap Role play communicative activities

Accuracy activities
The characteristics
Usage: explanation Language for knowledge Attempts at communication are judged by linguistic competence Attention is given to language Correction is often a feature of accuracy focused work Language is the objective

Drills grammar presentations gap-fill exercises frame dialogues.

Age (Major Factor)

People of different ages have different needs, competences and cognitive skills (Harmer, 2005). Harmer (2005) further explains that young learners learn differently from older children, adolescents and adults among others.

They respond to meaning.

They often learn indirectly rather than directly

Their understanding comes from explanation.

They find abstract concepts such as grammar rules difficult to grasp

They have a limited attention span; they can get easily bored, losing interest after ten minutes.

Explicit grammar teaching is more effective at the intermediate to advanced levels than beginning levels (Brown, 2007).

1.4 The place of Grammar in the primary ESL classroom

Grammar according to Rutheford (1987) is a necessary component of any language teaching programmed (p.9), and thus plays an important role in language teaching. However, the focus on grammar in language teaching was challenged with the emergence of teaching methodologies based on different learning theories

Teaching grammar effectively is a much more complicated matter. There are a number of questions that first need to be addressed for each class:

What are the objectives of this class? - Is the class preparing for an examination? Is the class improving their English for business purposes? Is the class preparing for summer holidays? etc. - The answer to this question is important as it will help you decide on how much grammar really needs to be taught. If students are preparing for a Cambridge Exam then grammar will play a large role in your lesson plans.

What type of learning background do the learners have? - Are the students at school? Have they not studied for a number of years? Are they familiar with grammar terminology? - Adults who have not been attending school for a number of years are likely to find grammar explanations confusing while as students who are currently studying will probably be much more adept at understanding grammar charts, expressions, etc.

What learning materials and resources are available?

- Do you have the latest student workbooks? No workbooks at all? Computer in the classroom? - The more learning resources we have the easier it will be for us to employ different strategies when teaching our students grammar. For example, a group of students who like using computers could use the computer to study a certain grammar task while another group who prefers spoken explanations might prefer to have you explain the point with a number of examples. - Obviously, the more varieties of learning opportunities the better chances are that each student will be able to learn the grammar point well.

What kind of learning style does each student have? - Is the learner comfortable with standard right brain learning techniques (logical charts, study sheets, etc.)? Does the learner work better with listening and repeating exercises? - If you have a class of mixed learning styles then you need to try to provide instruction using as many different methods as possible.

- In other words, each class is going to have different grammar needs and goals and it is up to the teacher to determine these goals and provide the means with which to meet them.

Recommend class structure when teaching grammar skills:

1. Begin with an exercise, game, listening, etc. that introduces the grammar concept. 2. Ask students questions that will help them identify the grammar concept to be discussed. 3. Follow with another exercise that more specifically focuses on the grammar concept, but takes an inductive approach. This could be a reading exercise with questions and responses in the structure that is being taught.

4. Check responses, ask students to explain the grammar concept that has been introduced. 5. At this point introduce teaching explanations as a way of clearing up misunderstandings. 6. Provide an exercise which focuses on the correct construction of the grammar point. This could be an exercise such as a fill the gap, cloze or tense conjugation activity. 7. Ask students to once again explain the concept.

Topic 2 : Approaches in the teaching of Grammar

2.1 Prescriptive & Descriptive Grammar

Prescriptive grammar
It prescribes rules governing what people should/shouldnt say It follows strict rules that can not be broken. Prescriptive rules are not natural, must be taught/ learned in school, often reflect value judgments Example:
Do not use double negatives Do not use a preposition to end a sentence with Do not split infinitives

Teaching Prescriptive Grammar

It has certain rules of language and this certainty reduces confusion and ambiguity among students.

Not be able to speak or write like a native speaker as they only uses standard grammar books and they do not know how the native speakers use the language Get bored of learning grammar rules because prescriptive grammar mostly deals with rules

Descriptive grammar
It describes the rules that govern what people do or can say There are no set rules. It describe how people use language. Descriptive rules are natural, known intuitively, need not be taught

Teaching Descriptive Grammar

Learners learn real the usage of the language and understand how a native speaker uses the language by listening a native speaker's speech Improve pronunciation

probably confuse the learners and make writing and speaking harder for them (beginner) since the rules are ambiguous, flexible, changeable. difficult for teachers to decide which dialect, which usage of a language to teach.


Covert grammar teaching The teacher gets the people involved in using the structure without drawing their attention to grammatical rules Overt grammar teaching The teacher explicitly explains the rules when presenting the new language

The students attention is focused on the 2 options are available to the teacher: activity and not the grammar rules but they - Deductive approach have ample opportunity to practice the The teacher presents the question form rule/pattern/generalization and then goes to provide practice in the application of these rules - Inductive approach/discovery method Students are first given a number of sample sentences containing the target forms and then the teacher guides the students into deriving the rule for themselves

Deductive Approach
Starts with the presentation of a rule and is followed by examples in which the rule is applied Some possible activities
Use Rule-explanation to teach question formation Teach used to using Translation Teach articles using grammar worksheet Teach word order using self-study grammar
(Thornbury, 1999)

Disadvantages of Deductive Approach

1. Learners may not be able to understand the concepts involved. 2. Explanation is seldom as memorable as other forms of presentation, such as demonstration 3. Encourage the belief that learning a language is simply a case of knowing the rules 4. More towards transmission-style or teachercentred and lack of students participation
(Thornbury, 1999)

Advantages of Deductive Approach 1. It can be more effective with students of higher level. 2. It can be time-saving straight to the point 3. A number of direct practice/ application examples are immediately given. 4. A number of rule aspects can be more simply and clearly explained than elicited from examples.
(Thornbury, 1999)

Inductive Approach
Starts with some examples from which a rule is inferred Some possible activities
teach imperatives through actions Teach present simple using realia Teach should have done using a generative situation Teach difference between past simple and present perfect through minimal sentence pairs
(Thornbury, 1999)

Disadvantages of Inductive Approach

1. Time and energy-consuming 2. Students may hypothesise the wrong rules 3. Place heavy demands on teachers in planing lessons 4. Frustrates students who have different learning experience (they prefer to be told the rules)
(Thornbury, 1999)

Advantages of Inductive Approaches 1. Learners are trained to be familiar with the rule discovery 2. Enhance students learning autonomy and self-reliance 3. Learners are more active in the learning process 4. Problem-solving activity is done collaboratively, learners get an opportunity for extra language practice
(Thornbury, 1999)

2.3 Grammar in Isolation VS Grammar in Context

Teaching grammar separately in a lesson. Grammar is taught as separate topic to make sure the pupils recognize the rules and regulations of grammar. For example: Past Tense Present Tense

Irregular Verbs

We integrate grammar in everyday teaching. Applicable while teaching other skills. For example:



Writing Language Arts

Teaching grammar in relations to the context of the situation the utterances are usually used. When learners are given the opportunities to explore grammar in context, it will make it easy for them to see how and why alternative forms exist to express different communicative meanings.

We need to help learners see how the grammar is used in real-life communication. According to Weaver (1996), grammar need not be taught, since it is acquired sub-consciously when the students learn the other language skills. For example, have auxilliary is always followed by a past participle (They have taken the chair) and a be auxilliary is always followed by a present participle (They will be taking the chair)

Differences between Grammar in Isolation& Grammar in Context

Grammar in Isolation Focus on form and meaning only. Language learning. Exercises involving repetition, manipulation and grammatical transformation. Prescriptive and descriptive approaches. Grammar in Context Focus on form, meaning and usage. Language acquisition. Requires a commitment to teach. Specific instruction would be given to individual students.


How is it form?

What does it means?

When/why is it used?

The meaning of the vocabulary, functional expression or grammar structure have in the context. The literal meaning of the word, phrase, functional expression or grammar structure. The meaning of the vocabulary used changed within its context.

When or why is the vocabulary, functional expression or grammar structure used? Determined by the situation we are in or what we want to communicate to our listener. Interconnected with meaning.

Functional expressions Visible and audible parts of vocabulary Grammar units



A systematized mapping of the grammar syllabus within a thematically conceived series of units. A unit-by-unit mapping of grammar. The specific ways in which grammar supports and is supported by each language skill.

2.5 Issues in grammar teaching

1. To teach of not to teach grammar
The issue on whether to teach or not to teach grammar depends on various variables such as: - Age - proficiency level - educational background - language skills - style (register) - need and goals

2. Should grammar be presented inductively or deductively

A deductive approach to instruction is a more teacher-centered approach. The teacher gives the students a new concept, explains it, and then has the students practice using the concept. For example, when teaching a new grammar concept, the teacher will introduce the concept, explain the rules related to its use, and finally the students will practice using the concept in a variety of different ways.

According to Bob Adamson, The deductive method is often criticized because: a) it teaches grammar in an isolated way. b) little attention is paid to meaning, c) practice is often mechanical.

This method can, however, be a viable option in certain situations; for example, when dealing with highly motivated students, teaching a particularly difficult concept, or for preparing students to write exams.

Inductive instruction makes use of student noticing. Instead of explaining a given concept and following this explanation with examples, the teacher presents students with many examples showing how the concept is used. The intent is for students to notice, by way of the examples, how the concept works.

Using the grammar situation from above, the teacher would present the students with a variety of examples for a given concept without giving any preamble about how the concept is used.
As students see how the concept is used, it is hoped that they will notice how the concept is to be used and determine the grammar rule.

As a conclusion to the activity, the teacher can ask the students to explain the grammar rule as a final check that they understand the concept.

3. Should grammar be taught in context or in isolation

It is whether we focus on form and meaning only or we focus on form, meaning and use. Some teachers think grammar as a fixed set of word forms and rules of usage. Hence, such teachers will focus on grammar as a set of forms and rules. They teach grammar by explaining the forms and rules and then drill students on them. The students can produce correct forms on exercises and tests, but they consistently make errors when they try to use the language in context.

Other language teachers, make the difference between language learning and language acquisition. They tend not to teach grammar at all. Believing that children acquire their first language without overt grammar instruction, they expect students to learn their second language the same way. They assume that students will absorb grammar rules as they hear, read, and use the language in communication activities. What we need is an appropriate balance between exercises that help learners come to grips with grammatical forms, and tasks for exploring the use of those forms.

4. Should teachers correct grammatical errors

Main type of mistakes that need to be corrected:
Grammatical mistakes (mistakes of verb tenses, preposition use, etc.) Vocabulary mistakes (incorrect collocations, idiomatic phrase usage, etc.) Pronunciation mistakes (errors in basic pronunciation, errors in word stressing in sentences, errors in rhythm and pitch) Written mistakes (grammar, spelling and vocabulary choice mistakes in written work)

Mistakes Made During Discussions and Activities

With oral mistakes made during class discussions, there are basically two schools of thought: 1) Correct often and thoroughly 2) Let students make mistakes.

Sometimes, teachers refine the choice by choosing to let beginners make many mistakes while correcting advanced students often.
A 'selective correction, teacher decides to correct only certain errors. Which errors will be corrected is usually decided by the objectives of the lesson, or the specific exercise that is being done at that moment.
if students are focusing on simple past irregular forms, then only mistakes in those forms are corrected (i.e., goed, thinked, etc.).

Other mistakes, such as mistakes in a future form, or mistakes of collocations (for example: I made my homework) are ignored.
Choose to correct students after the fact. Teachers take notes on common mistakes that students make.
During the follow-up correction session the teacher then presents common mistakes made so that all can benefit from an analysis of which mistakes were made and why.

Written Mistakes
3 basic approaches to correcting written work:
1) Correct each mistake 2) Give a general impression marking 3) Underline mistakes and / or give clues to the type of mistakes made and then let students correct the work themselves.

In the opinion of many teachers, students who are continually corrected become inhibited and cease to participate. This results in the exact opposite of what the teacher is trying to produce - the use of English to communicate.

KBSR Syllabus
English Language lesson aims to equip pupils with skills and provide a basic understanding of the English Language so that they are able to communicate, both orally and in writing in and out of school.

i. ii. iii. iv. v. Listen to and understand simple spoken English to be able to function in common everyday situations. Speak and respond clearly and appropriately in common everyday situations using simple language. To read and understand different kinds of texts (from print and electronic sources) for enjoyment and information Write (including e-mail) for different purposes using simple language and Show an awareness and appreciation of moral values and love towards the nation.

KSSR Syllabus
Under KSSR Syllabus, primary education is divided into two stages, Stage s One referring to Years 1, 2, 3 and Stage Two Year 4, 5, 6. In Year 1 and 2, the English language curriculum emphasizes on the pupils development of basic language skills in building the proficiency in the language. Grammar is only introduced from Year 3 onwards.

By the end of Year 6, pupils should be able to: i. Communicate with peers and adults confidently and appropriately in formal and informal situations; ii. Read and comprehend a range of English texts for information and enjoyment; iii. Write a range of texts using appropriate language, style and form through a variety of media; iv. Appreciate and demonstrate understanding of English language literary or creative works for enjoyment; and v. Use correct and appropriate rules of grammar in speech and writing

KSSR states that: By the end of Year 6, pupils should be able to: use correct and appropriate rules of grammar in speech and writing