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Τετάρτη, 26 Αύγουστος 2009 00:04

The place of grammar in language teaching

Knowledge of grammatical rules is essential for the mastery of a language. You cannot use words unless you know how they should be put together. But there has been some discussion lately about the necessity of having grammar exercises during the learning process. It is believed by many teachers that it is much better for learners to absorb the rules intuitively through 'communicative' activities than to be taught through special exercises explicitly aimed at teaching grammar.

My point of view is that ability to communicate effectively is not attained most quickly efficiently through pure communication practice in the classroom. Grammar may furnish the basis for a set of classroom activities during which it becomes temporarily the main learning objective. The learning of grammar should be seen in the long term as one of the means of acquiring a thorough mastery of the language as a whole, not as an end in itself.

As far as the Second Chance School is concerned, the teacher should bear in mind that the main learning target is to provide the learners with the basic knowledge needed in order for the learners to gain the ability to communicate effectively in everyday situations. This means that emphasis should be given on successful communication, and any learning of grammar takes place only as incidental to this main objective.

Types of exercises

1) Slot-fillers (the learners insert the appropriate term)

e.g.   He is___ boy. We have ___ umbrella.

Answer: He is a boy. We have an umbrella.

2) Transformation
(the learners change the structure in some prescribed manner)

e.g.   This is a woman (put into the plural)

Answer: They are women.

3) Translation, to or from the native language.

4) Multiple-choice, based on meaning,

e.g.   He ___ at the moment.

a). works              b). is working      c). worked.

Answer: He is working at the moment.

5) Slot-filling, with choice of answers not provided,

e.g.   Last night we _____ T.V.

Answer: Last night we watched T.V.

6) Matching

e.g.   He                                           an animal

I                         is                   soldiers

She                    are                 a woman

The men            am                 a student

The dog                                   a soldier

Answers: He is a soldier, etc.