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Lecture 5 Grammar Leksioni

Lecture 5 Grammar Leksioni

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Published by Marsela Cekrezi

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Published by: Marsela Cekrezi on May 09, 2011
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TEACHING Grammar
The Role of Grammar in ESL
 Most practitioners in the field of ESL agree that it is important toteach grammar. But what is grammar? Do we all mean the same thingwhen we use this word?The answer, of course, is no. At different times during thelong history of second-language instruction, grammar has beenregarded as a set of rules (³third person singular present-tense verbstake an
-s
for subject-verb agreement´; ³adjectives go before nouns´)to be memorized. Today, grammar is still taught and tested this wayin many parts of the world.The problem with this knowledge-transmission approach togrammar is that for most students it leads to limited languageacquisition. Most of us are familiar with the phenomenon of studentswho know the rules of grammar but who are nonetheless unable toask for simple directions. As a result of this observed gap betweenknowledge of grammar and its successful application, there has beena shift in our view of grammar instruction over the last 20 or 30years. Nowadays, many ESL practitioners view grammar less as a body of knowledge to be studied than as a skill to be practiced anddeveloped. Grammar knowledge is important, but only insofar as itenables students to communicate ³accurately, meaningfully, andappropriately´ (Larsen-Freeman, 2001).This chapter supports the view of grammar as a skill to betaught and examines three roles that underlie the importance ogrammar in ESL education:
 
Grammar as an enabling skill
 
Grammar as a motivator 
 
Grammar as a means to self-sufficiency
 
Grammar as an enabling skill
 Though a skill in its own right, grammar can also be regarded as anecessary ³master´ skill that enables competence to develop in theareas of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. When grammar isincorrect or misunderstood in any of these areas, communication may be disrupted, as the following examples illustrate.
Listening.
Imagine a teacher who says, ³Please bring me the books,´only to have a student bring her just one book because the student didnot hear the plural
-s
or understand what it means. In this case, a better understanding of the underlying grammar would haveimproved the student¶s listening ability
Sp
eaking.
In a job interview, an applicant is asked, ³How long haveyou been working at your current job?´ The applicant replies, ³Iworked there for two years.´ The interviewer wonders: Is theapplicant still working there or not? In this situation, knowledge othe present perfect would have enabled the student to reply moreaccurately.
Reading.
Trying to follow the directions for assembling a bookcase,a student reads
Slide
th
e
bookcas
e
c
os
e
to th
e
wa
ll 
aft 
er 
ig 
ht 
ening 
 a
ll 
of th
e
p
ie
c
e
 s.
 Not knowing that
aft 
er 
 
signals the first of the twoactions in the sentence, the student performs the actions in reverseorder.
W
riting.
Filling out a form at his job in an automotive repair shop,an automotive tech student writes
 I 
ch
e
ck th
e
b
ak 
e
 s.
eading thereport, the supervisor is confused: Did the student already check the brakes? Is he going to check the brakes? If the student had written
ch
e
ck 
ed 
 
on the report, there would have been no ambiguity.These examples illustrate the role of grammar as thefoundation upon which all the other skills are built. Efficientcommunication cannot take place without correct grammar.
Grammar as a motivator
 
 
Many ESL students firmly believe that knowledge of grammar isessential to their being able to acquire a new language. These are thestudents who, when responding to a needs assessment, typically say,³I want to study grammar. If I know grammar very well, I¶ll be ableto speak well and get a good job.´Just as many students are motivated to learn grammar, many teachersare strongly motivated to teach it. When our students express a desireto learn grammar, most teachers naturally respond by trying to provide what students want. Moreover, most adult schools have amandated course syllabus, which is frequently a grammar syllabus or a whole-language syllabus with an addendum listing grammaticalstructures to teach. Such a tool is an impetus for us to providegrammar instruction. A third motivating factor is our background asteachers: Many of us, having learned foreign languages via grammar- based methodologies or as a consequence of our teacher training andeducation, are more comfortable teaching grammar than other language skills.
Grammar as a means to self-sufficiency
 Most ESL students expect teachers to correct their grammar errors, but a more practical goalis for students to learn to correct their own mistakes. Grammar instruction assists Englishlearners in becoming aware of a structure and then continuing to notice it in subsequentencounters (Fotos, 2001). Once students have internalized the structure through repeatedexposure, they can use this knowledge to monitor their own language use.The ability to self-correct is particularly desirable for students with job-related or educational goals. At work, students are often required to write notes, e-mail messages, andreports, so they need to be able to communicate accurately in writing. If students haven¶tlearned how to monitor themselves, they could have problems with such tasks. Anunderstanding of grammar is also important for ESL learners who plan to transition to

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