You are on page 1of 133

Teff€

Grammar?

INTRODUCTION
"The beginning ol' knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand.

Figure 1.1: Frank Herbert US Science Fiction Novelist sources: Retrieved February 20, 2006 from http : / /en. wikipedia.org / wiki / Frank_Herbert ancl http : / / www.quotationspage. com / quote / 261 Z3.html

This topic introduces you to the study of Grammar; tl-re science of Language. The standard of gramrnaticai accuracv of a lar-rguage is the establisl-red practice of tl-re best speakers and r,t'riters of the ianguage. A trsage becornes goocl and legai n'hen it has been lons and generallv adoptcd.

TOPIC

1

WHY STUDY GRAMMAR?

In this topic, you will look into how the English Language has evolved and
developed through the centuries; becoming one of the most recognised languages of the world.

DID YOU KNOW?

DID you know that the English Language is one of the six official languages used in intergorrernmental meetings and documents for the
United Nations?
Source: Retrieved February 20, 2006 DGACM / faq-languages.htm

from http://www.un -org/Depts/

THE NEED TO STUDY GRAMMAR
During the last tn'o hundred years, the English Language has been much refined and.its limitations has been greatly augmented; its vitality, diversity, superb, and elegance has been copiously.proven by multifarious_trials, in verse and in prose, ,tpot all subjects, and in every kind of style. Nevertheless, whatever bth"t improvements it may have received, it has.Tnade no adaancements in grammatical accuracy (Lowth, R in Bornstetn,7976: 47-43)'

Swift (1772 in Bornstein, 1976), commented on the shortcomings of the English Language, in particular, "that in many instances it offended against every part of gruti*Jt" 1p30-3+). Swift must have been a good judge of this matter, to which f," *ut himielf very attentivg; both in his own writings and in his remarks upon those of his friendi. He is one of the most impeccable, and perhaps the best, of the English prose writers. Indeed, the tegitimacy of this complaint had never been questioned; and yet no effectual method had been taken to redress
these detriments.

As prospective teachers of grammar, let us understand the changes brought

against the English Language. Does it mean that the English Language, as it is sfoken, and aJit stands in the writings of most authors, often trespasses against part of grammar? Or does it further denote that the English language is in "rr".y its nature irregular and unstable; not easily reduced, to a St'Stem of rules?

TOPIC

1

!ilHY STUDY GRAMMARi

.
u *

;:g* ,,
J

4** **&:T i.*?#*i 1T A'*s::
(

l*tJ T it#,,T **rj,f,ii!.*X '*b:;f.t46'rr':-* r;44*"f€€*:

't

; t

),-6:.-

f.'-

51-

Copyright 2003-2006 - Baby Blues Partnership. Disiributed by King Fcatures Syndicate Ail Rights Reserved , Source: http : / / www.babyblues. com / index.php
The English Language is perhaps, of all the European Languages, the most simple in its form and construction. The words of the English Language are subjected to fewer variations from their original form, than those of any other lar"rguages. Its substsntiae has one variation of case and no distinction of gender. Its adjectiaes express the degrees of comparison. A11 the possible variations of the original form of the .aerb are not above six or seven; whereas in nran\. other languages they amount to hundreds. In addition, the r,r,hole business of ntodes, times, and ooices, is managed with gryat ease by the assistance oi eiqi-rt or nine httle aerbs, cal1ed auxiliaries. The construction of this iangi-ragu is : i cr-1.

.

and obvious, that grammarians have thought it hardlv n'orthi^,irilr tr, l-',': i:anything like a regular and systematical syntax. Tire English gr.r:nn',r.i -',r.: .---, -,-' u's a perfect one, comprising the whole syntax ir-r ten iines. Given the nature of the English Language, the teaching of grammar constitutes a direct and clear process that requires adequate practice to master. The princiTtnl . design of o grantmar of any langtrage is to teach lenrners to express themselaes with npproprin.teness in thnt language; and to enable them to ascertain whether the phrase and form of constructiort, is right or not. The simple way of doing this is to set rules and to demonstrate them by examples. Besides showing what is right, the subject may be further explained by pointing out what is wrong.
Before proceeding to read the following pages, let us go through Table 1.1 to get an overall picture of the evolution of English grammar. It is pertir-rent that teachers of grammar follow the evolution of this distinctive language before proceeding to teach it to your potential learners. This allows them to understand that the English Language is a living language. It has gone through many changes, it is still changing and it wiil continue to changc following the evolution of mankincl.

TOPIC

1

\UHY STUDY GRAMMAR?

Tabtre 1.1: The

Evolution of English Grammar (Bornstein 1976:3)

Classical Crammar

Indo European Language Panini - Astadhyayi Sanskrit (structure and sound) Crarylus - origins of words Truth and falsehood in language
Word and paradigm (patterns) Plato- sentence (nominal and verbal components)

Greek
meaning

Grammatike

Aristotle

-

sentence & coniunction, article, pronouns

Henrv Sweet - full words & forms
Charles Fries

-

words has structural and lexical meaning

Dionysus Thrax

- a tool to appreciate Greek literature

RomglGrgmrnar

V-To

1s

Century BC - classify words into four parts

Medieval Grammar

Luti" Ctu-*ut
Rationalist Grammar
17ih Century - French Port Royal School Noam Chomsky - Transformational Crammar o literary language . letters and sounds

,

t .

sPeech usage

forms

I

Descriptive Grammar Joseph Priestley . universal grammar

. r

usage

custom of speaking

Prescriptive Grammar use in England and Americar. Schools Robert Lowth . literary past . preserve older forms . prescribe rules . sentence analvsis

Historical Crammar

1. 2. 3. 4.

- consonant shift Jacob Grimm - language patterns in sound shift Jean Forquet - habits of articulation
Rasmus Rask

Karl Verner -stlPrasegmentals

TOPIC

1

WHY STUDY GRAMMAR?

Neo-Crammarian Phonemic and Analoeic Change Karl Brugmann Contemporary Language William Dwight Whitney - Language Change Otto Jespersen synchronic and diachronic language study
Descriptive /Structural Linguistics Ferdinand de Saussure ihe nature of Language Behavioral Psychology Leonard Bloomfielcl - Stimulus response Model
Post Bloomfieldian Descrip tive

o .

Forms of language

-

to separate grammar & semantics

Phonemic analvsis at word level

Descriptive Linguistics Charies C. Fries Tieatment of syntax Tiansformational Grammar Discourse Analysis Rules for sentence formation

. . .
I

Phrase structure ruie

Transformationalrule Morphophonemic rule
heory ot Syntax

. . . . .

Property of recursiveness Syntax & semantics
Theory of generatirie semantics

Sociolinguistics Functional varieties of Language

Individualcompetence

f

methods of linguistic description were applied to languages belonging to this grouP. The earliest grammatical treatise on any Indo-European language is Panini's Astadhyayi, a description of Sanskrit written in the fourth century B.C. The Sanskrit grammatical tradition involved a detailed description of sounds and structure. The main component of Panini's grammar is an exhaustive statement of the rules of word formation of the Sanskrit language. The rules are expressed with great compieteness aud economy. Like the rules of modern trarrsformational grammarians, they have to be applied in a set order. European languages \4iere ntlt described with similar precision until the late nirreteenth century.

of the English Language began with a large group o{ languages known as the Indo-European language family. Accordingly, two different
The evolution

TOPIC 1

\UHY STUDY GRAMMAR?

I
I

r

leaned towurds philosophic speculation and analysis based on meaning. The terl gramrnatike oiginally'meant the understmding of letters, and problems related io linguistic inquiries are categorised under the generai heading of philosophy. Amoig the linguistically oriented questions considered by the Creeks was whethEr the relaiion between things ut"td th" words that named them was natural and necessary, or merely the resuft of human convention. Plato summarised the arguments in his dialogue, CraryltLs (c. 358 B.C.), the earliest surviving document i'kreek clealing rvith the subject of ianguage. Crarylus and Heraclitus arglle in for the natural oiigltr of words and for the reflection of the qualities of things a word that words. Accorclingfo this position, there is something in the sound of relatOs to the substance of the thing it represents'

In Europe, studies about language began r.vith the Greeks. The Greek tradition

Copyright O 2002 - 2006Dan Piraro -\ii R:::-':s iir::ti|t-'tl --i - " - 1- ;1"';'1p So.,ice, http: / /www.comicalert.co.-i''-' r- . - :
1

In confrast,

Dentttcrlfrrs and Herntogetrc-s f-'rtril-tt- -

.,niies between the
the corrventional -.Lrrirris thnt ctttnes .,-.-: i:-.t tn-o, although the , .-'- i-ecn cstablished. As -, -.:. -.iiile, btit it sen'ed a , r <- -t-.r)i€' ciclsellt

sounds of words and the qualities of thing: origin of words' A ruortl is jttst mt nr[':'' a to re7tresent n porticttlor thing. There i5 11p ;' relatiorr may sccll'l trltut'.tl ttl s;leake15 I )l 'i rvitir rrrost argltnrcnts regarclln$ or1$11-r< -t useful Frr-rrpose in activatir-rg philosop'i- r

'-

.''r.

TOPIC

1

WHY

SIL,l':

GRAMMARZ

7

Craryltrs raised a more significarnt issue, the prolrlerr of truth and falsehood in language, for example, horv can a sentence sav sometl-uns and yet say what is not so? Similarly, Aristotle considered the g;ramrnatical structure of sentences conveying trutirs and falsehoods as well as tire logical or semantic structure of the truths and falsehoods thenrsclves. Just as a sentence consists of at least of a noun coupled with a verb, so the truth or falsehood conveycci by it consists of the sign of the noun coupled with that of the verb. These sigr-rs are themselvcs neither true nor false. The intellectual comprehension of the signs does not inr.oive beiieving. A propitsition tnust contain at ieast a noun and a l,crb, Lrut a grammatical seutencc. Judgements about grarnmaiical correctness and truth shorild be made separately. Grammarians and philosophers arc still wrestling with such cluestions regardirrg the relation of language and truth.

grammatical descriptiorr ernployed by the Greeks was that crf the. zuord rmd the pnradignr. Uniike the Sanskrit grammarians, they did not often go beiow the word level. InCrarylus and Sophistes, Plato divided the sentence into nominal and verbal components, rvhicl'r remained thc primary grammatical clistinction underlying syntactic analysis and word classification in all future linguistic descriptior-r. Aristotle mair-rtained this distinction but adcled a tl-rird class which included conjunctions, the article, and pronouns. Both were considered parts of speech in the fu1l sense becausc they had meaning in isolation.

The framework

of

Henry Sweet (7892) historical grammarian, r(adc the distinction betn-eerr full words and form words. Similarly, Charles Fries (trventieth-centtrrv strrictr-riaiis: analysed words in terms of lexical and structural meanins. Ftrlltrrr in: :l- :: Aristotle defined a word, in De interpretntione, as a cr)ntpollent ,,t ihe Sit"Lici'.-r having a meaning of its own but not further divisibie into mr.anrngflri turr;which is ciose to the structuraiists' definition of a word as a mininlum free iorm. However, most Greek grammarians lacked Aristotlc's scientific outlook and paid
less attention to fclrm.

The Greek tradition of grammatical study was summarised and codified in thc first century B.C. by an Alexandrian scholar named Dionysus Thrax. The Alexandrians were strongly conscious of their literary past arrd realised the dirrergence between their language and that of Homer. Seeing this change as deca1,, they felt that it was their task to find out how Greek should bc written so as to fix it in an unchanging iorm. The desirc to establish a constant classicai form for a language has characterised thc attitude of purists orrer the centuries. Follor,r'ing the practice of other Alcxandriarrs, Dionysus drew his material from tl're written texts of acccpted authors and dcftncll t4ronunor ns tltc knttuletlge of tha
gerrcrol
r/s/?.qes o-f Stoets

and prosa uritcrs,

Sinrilarll,, Bornstein (1976) tgo adr.ocatcs sramntar as the practical knol,ledgc of the general usagcs of 1-,r-r1'ls .tnd prctsr. u'riters. It has six parts: firsi, accr-rrate reatling rvith due reg;'rrci to the prcrsotlies; scconcl, erplanatior, oi thc litcrarv

T

TOPII

1

WHY STUDY GRAMMARi

,li

notes on phraseology and subject cxpressions in the works; third, the provisiou of of analogical *utt"t; fourth, the discovery of etymologies; fifth, the rvorking out is the noblest which regularities; sixth, the appreciation of literary compositions, part of granlmal (P 40)

of a language but Dionysus did not see a grammar as a theoretical descriptiotr of Greek literature' Consequently' as a tool that would lead to an appreciation the words r't'ithin his lris focus was o11 the formnl, titerary longrnge.In analysing ars the eight parts of speech: the texts, he discussed leiters and syttaUtes-asieil adverb, attd conjunction. noun/ verb, participle, article, pronoun/ preposition, In defining the classes' These ,.vord classes \vere taken up by latei grimmarians' and position in relation to nior-,yu.r, used formal criteria, tr.n ut *otJ endings became a standard textbo6k other words, as well as meaning. His brief treatise centurl'' in arrcient ti.mes and continued as such into the eighteenth
the Greeks and adapted it to fhe Romans took over the grammatical system of for granrmar studies Lati. rvith a r'i.imum of alieration; thus ihey set a patter. dicl not creatc tocr applicltiol of Greek theory ir.r Etrrof-re. h-r the case of Latin, the to Greek' \'A4ren the system much clistortion since the languog. *ut fairly close modern European languages' thaf iracl beeu aclapted to Latin wis applied t9 the the same pattern was applied the results were, ho*"rr.. less satisfu.ioty' When belong to the Indo-European to Attrcricart lrtclion and Asian lattgtrages that did not categ6ries if traditional grammar farnily., it did not work. This deficie;cy in the must be analysed and described led linguists to the conviction that each langlrage in its own ternts.

really tested Greek During the itoman times, the only gram*marian lvho i^ the first century before appiying tluT to Laiin was Varro, rvho lived

categories regularitre.s in thi: structure of B.C. He belierred that grarnmarlans must discover he classifiet'i rvords into four ianguage, ,-rot ir,--rpos" ?h"*. In his De lingrn Lntino, 1: por; oi:;peecl't, oil based on forms as shown in Figure 1

Flow r,r,ould You define gran'rmar?

TOPIC

1

\(/HY STUDY GRAMMAR?

j

:1 ti

tl \..

,J

Figure 1.2: Words classified into four parts of speech based on Varro's De Lingua Latina

Varro's independence was not imitated by later Latin grammarians, whose
attitudes resembled those of the Alexandrians. There was the same consciousness of a great literary past to be.studied, and the same desire to preserve the purity of the language. The most influential grammars of this period were written bv Donatus (c. 400 A D ) and Priscian (c. 500 A.D.X Donatus' treatise was a simplified work meant for students while Priscian's n as an eighteen volume summary and compilation of earlier theories. He adoptecl the classification of the parts of speech used by Dionysus Thrax, but substituted the interjection for the article since Latin had no article; he listed the noun, \.erb, participie, pronoun, preposition, adverb, conjunction, and interjection. In defining the categories, he did not follow any consistent principles but used both meaning 'and formal criteria, a practice which was followed in later Latin grammars, and in the early grammars of the vernacular languages that were based on them. Both Donatus and Priscian became favourite texts for teaching Latin grammar during the Middle Ages, with over a thousand manuscripts of Priscian's work testifying to its popularity. Priscian and Donatus formed the iink between classical and medieval grammar studies. Latin and grammar formed an important part of the medieval curriculum. The liberal arts were divided into seven subjects and organised into grammar, logic, rhetoric, music, arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy. Since the study of grammar was necessary for the reading and writing of Latin; the universal language of learning, it formed the basis of the curriculum. There was a school tradition and a more learned philosophical one. Many Latin grammars were compiled for students.

10

TOP]C

1

\UHY STUDY GRAMMAR?

The first one to be composed in England was written in Anglo-Saxon by Aelfric, Abbot of Eynsham (c. 1000). Like the other grammarians of this period, he based his work on Donatus and Priscian, abbreviating arrd simplifyins their treatises to suit the needs of beginners. Aelfric claimed that his book would be suitable as an introduction to English grammar, thereby laying a foundation for the tradition of Latin-inspired English grammar.

More speculative nrorks on grammar were written by u group of scholars
knowtr as the rnodistae. Their theory called grantnmticn syteaLlatir)e or speculative grammar, flourished fronr thc iate twelfth to the mid-fourteenth century. An early member of the sroLrp was Peter Heiias, a teacher at the University of Paris. He wrote a commcntary on Priscian in which he sought philosophical explanations for the rules of grammar. A later r,vork in this genre is Thomas of Erfurt's Grnrttmntico spectLlntian, wrrtten in the early fourteenth century.

Tt-,t iiii;listtttt believed that there was one universal grammar dependent on :--.c. sir'.rcture rri rcality and human reason. This idea sounds similar to modern ::-.et l ies of linguistic uuiversals; however, transformational grarnmarians seek ti-rese ritrir-ersals in human psychoiogy, whereas the modistoe sought the bagis for a ttnir-crsal grammar in the external world. The ntodistne believed that
language reflects' realit;,, ;lnd that grammar provides clues to the nature of being. Therefore, the basis of their theory was metaphysical rather than psychological. Furtherrnore, they sought a universal grammar in the study of logic and tended to identify logic with tire categories of Latin. The dominance of Latin as the language of learrring had a strong influence on medieval thinking regarding the nature of langr-raee.

A

different variety of universal grammar was developed by the rationalist grammarians of the seventeenth century; particularly those associated with the French Port Royal schools. These religious and educational four-rdations; set up in 7637 and disbanded rn 7667 because of political and religious strife, had a
iong-lasting influence on educational ideas. The Port Royal grammar ascribed to Antoine Arnaulcl and Claude Lancelot was translated into English as A Genernl Lmd Rntionnl Grnnunnr in7753. Thc French rrersion, reprinted during the eighteenth and nirreteenth centuries, had been cited bv Noam Chomsky as a precursor of trans formation al grammar.

medicrral scholastic grammarians, br-rt they asserted the claims of hlrman reason above authority and made thc philosophy of Descartes as the l..'isrs irrr. tirc'ir teaching. They believed that grnmntnlicnl coiegorias reJlact rurircis.r, -i.-"'-.'';. ,ri'f/lrrlrgltt, tuitlt mon1 o,f tlrc some rL'!atiotts t:ristirtq itt nll ls7r.g11nt4ts. \t''..,:'-.-...,.,--. -rrcc these relations are oftcn cxprcsscd differerithr, tirey did not cc-.r.rir:- .. - r. .:ri::-,ilrrt., to the literary language but analvsed ii-;it dificrenctts bctr.,-t,-,'-- ,.::€:-.rr.rel sounds and irrsisteti thai - --i,:.:rine usage. il4ost r.r,riters thc speech forrtrs of thc living iatigr-. -

The Port Royal gt'ammarians \^/ere thc succe'ssors

of

TOPIC

1

\UHY STUDY GRAMMAR7

11

on universal grammar paid more attention to literature, and sought iinguistic unirrersais in Latin rather than in human mental processes.
i

Most early grammars were written for pedagogical purposes rather than for schoiarly use. In the case of the non-European languages, the grammars were usually written to teach missionaries the languages of the areas where they were assigned to work. \zVhen it came to the European languages, a common motive for grammar writing was to reform, purify, and standardise the literary language. The first known grammar of English, published in 1586, is the Brief Grammar for English by William Bullokar, who was particularly interested in spelling reform.

DESCRIPTIVE GRAMMAR

The descriptive, liberal approach was found in |oseph Priestlet's Rudintnrts t.i English Grammar (1767). Priestley, a chemist as well as a language scholar \\-a-s scientific and objective. He pointed out the many ways in which English differecl from Latin, and criticised the use of Latin terminology as being "exceedinglr' awkward and absolute,ly superfluous." Although he adapted the traditional parts of speech classification; substituting the adjective for the participle, he recognised its arbitrary nature. .

Priestley believed in a universal grammar but sought linguistic universais in human mental abilities rather than in logic or Latin. He was influenced by the Port Royal grammarians and quoted their work in his Course of Lectures on the Theory of Langunge and Uniaersal Grammar (1762). Similarly to the Port Royal grammarians, he did not allow general principles to mislead him in the analysis of his own language but considered usage and the "custom of speaking" the "only just standard of any language."

1Z

TOPIC

1

\UHY STUDY GRAMMAR?

*

PRESCRIPTIVE GRAMMAR

Aristophanes (Greek athenian comic dramatist (450 BC - 388 BC)) quoted:

"High thoughts must have high language".
Source:Retrieved February 20,2A06 from http://r.t'lvw.quotationspage.com/ quote /24793.html

Robert Lowth (7762), advocated the prescriptive, conservative approach in his A Short Introductiltl to English Grsntmar. Lon,th, a professor of poetry at Oxford Unii,ersity and later became the Bishop of London, had a bias perspective in favoui of older forms of the language. Having the same attitudes as the -\1erar-rclrians and tl-re late Roman grammarians, he was conscious of a great literan, past and wished to preserve older forms.

it as corruption and wanted i,. k..er the language in an unchanging form. To Lowth, the "golden age" of Enslish n-as the Eiizabethan period, two hundred years before his own time. HJaiso believed that " the principnl desigrt of n grammor of nny lnngunge is to tench us to exTtress ourselaes with propriety." Therefore, his method was to prescribe rules regarding the proper use of English, illustrating thenlwith correct_and incorrect drawn irorn standard authors such as Shakespeare, Milton, Dryden, "*l*pl"J and Pope. Addison,
rl:i-Lr-ru!h he n'as a\\,are of linguistic change, he saw

Unlike Priestlel,, Lowth had little faith in the "custom of speaking," btlt sought proper forms in formal literary Engiish and in logical analogies. Although he hid^not slavishly follow Latin categories, he was too fond of logical neatness. He asserted that "our best authors have committed gross mistakes, for want of a due knowledge of English Grammar, or at least of a proper attention to the rules of it." This tendency to identify graffinmr uith a set of abstrsct rules rather than with the patterns actually used by speakers and writers of the language i.s iniine with
the prescriptive apProach.

Lowth's approach ancl attitudes came to dominate the school tradition in England and Arneriia. His work rvas first adapted for classroom tlse by Lindley Murray, an American lawyer r,vho migrated to England after the Revolution. In 7795, Murray published his Eruglish Gronunar Adttittctl to tlte Dit'fererrt Clnsses of Lenrners. It became the leading textbook in the field, goir-ul thlough at least fifty editions in its originai form and over one hundred etlitions in an abridgement. Many adaptatiois of it \{ere published ciuring thc nit'ictc'enth century. Murray followed Lowth's prescriptive niethod, simpiifierl it foi't1c.tSSl"(ri)tll rise, atrd added material dealing with spelling and punctuation. l i. ii-L:-rt1 iris attention on ir-rdividuai -t wOrds-by girring ntleS fOr parsing or i.1clr.l,:'..:-- : :-'11s 1)f Speech.

TOPIC

1

!ilHY

STLi

I

"

r3r.,..llMAR?

13

Togeiher with the techlique of parsing school granunar, we developed a systern of sentence analysis, which involved examrning complete sentences and idcntifying major sentence elements, such as subjects, r,erbs, ar-rd objects. Diagrams were used to indicate a sentence structure. This procedure was most fully worked out by Alorrzo Reed and Brainerd Kellogg in Work on Englislt Grntrrnrnr nnd Con4tositiott (7877), called Higher Lessorts irr English in later editions. They break up word order to show the relationship between principal and subordinate parts, such as nouns and adjectives, and to account for "understood" clements, such as the pronoun "you" in imperativc sentcnces.

Tire boats, and trains, and cows and horses were quite meaningless to him, but not quite so baffling as the odd little figures which appearcd beneath and between the colored pictures - some strange kind of bug he thought thcy might be, for many of them had legs though nowhere could he find one with eycs and a mouth. It was his first introduction to the letters of the aiphabet, and he was over ten years old.

Of course he had never before seen print, or ever had spoken with any living thing which had the remotest idea that such a thing as a written
languagc existed, nor ever had he seen anyone reading.
So what wonder that the little boy was of these strange figures.

quif6at a loss to gr-ress the

Sottrce: Tnrzan (Chapter 6

This excerpt was taken off the novel, Tarzan by Edgar Rice Bur.r.rr,rsh. It teils the story of a young infant who had lost his birth parents; n,as raiserl by a tribe of apes ileep in the jungle. He grew up learning their language and living life of the ape tribe - his care takers. Eventually, Thrzan was discovered by a group of jungle explorers and realised that he rru,as an heir to English nobility. From tiren on, he was taught the English language, its culture and customs. In other words, Thrzan was being trained to speak as that customary of a noble English gentleman (formal) during that period.

with the human language - the English l,anguage since infant - he would not necessarily have knrln n the descriptive gramr-nar of the language. Therefore in this context, clo you
Sirrce he has not had contact agrce that Thrzan was taught the prescriptive sranlmal in learning how to speak ar-rd write in the Errglish language?

-:.

, i-t :/i

Hclrv rvorrld 1.otr analr-sc a sentcnce gramnr.rr'?

Grammar as Product

It This iopic focuses on the product approach in the teaching of grammar' approaches, discusses this approach in detail u.d^.o*pares it to two other in the product approach: ;;;;;* and skill. You will also examine the fwo stages conscious noticing and structuring. The concepts of proceduralisation and "wilt also be piesented to you followed by applications raising"in this approach of the product approu.h in some tasks and activities in the teaching of
grammar.

PRODUCT TEACHING
This approach The first approach is the teaching of grammar as a product' structured around a takes a product perspective on giu*^o., n-ith. teaching target language for each carefui siecificatrir", oi ranguage f'orms that pror-ide the
lesson.

tc' promoted through product TWo key stages in the learning process that mar teaching is shor't'n in Figure 4'1'

,tt

TOPIC 4

TEACHING GRAMN,]AR AS PRODUCT

61

Figure 4.1: Key stages in the learning process

4;?i

PROCESS TEACHING

Process teaching engages learners in language use, formulating their own meanings in contexts o\rer which they have considerable control, and in so cloing, drawing on grammar as an ongoing resource.

As it has been noted, it is only through extended practices in language use thai learners can procedurnlise their knowledge; learning to deploy gio*.tlar n-l-uie for the most part concentrating their attention./on meaning. We rrant learners r:,-, take every opportunity to use their existing knowledge of gramllldr, St'r rha: ::-.: language which becomes proceduralised is grammar rich.
Product and process teaching arc entirely different from each otl-rer. The former requires a careful control of form for the learner; the latter emphasises the use of language by the learner. But it is not a matter of being either a 'product teacher' or a 'process teacher'. In most circumstances it makes sense to combine the two, 'encouraging noticing and structuring with product teaching, and employing process work to develop proceduralisation and practice in the multiple skills o1 language use. Both approaches need conscious and delicate management. In product teaching r-ou must evade cloing everything for the learner, because language learning requires the learner's active engagement and involvement. How.rr.r, in procesi ieaching, the situation is reversed: ;1611need to constrain and regulate the learncr,s involvement, fashioning contexts which promote not just active participation, but tire activation of grammar. Yet, the more you release control orr". i.o.r-,er activity, :he rnore you must accept that the learner can go his or her own rvay, and this :llay mean that he or sire frequerrtly abandons gramrrar. So the grammar that ;,o11 :cach in product lessons nrAV rlever emerge or der.eiop rn process work, ancl thus : ma)/ nevcr get appropri.ttell, proceduralisecl bv the learner. There is, then, a kind : critical gap betr.t'een a protlr-rct and a process approacir.

6Z

TOPIT

4

TEACHING GRAMMAR AS PRODUCT

should be the approach taken by each of these classroom activities? State whether it is a process or a product approach and substantiate your answers.
\Atrhat

Classroom Activities
7.

Ap proach: Process/Product

Underiine ail the past verbs in the dialogue. Look at these pictures. Order them in any way You like, then make up a story and tell it to the rest of the class. Can they give You the correct order of your Pictures?
Rewrite each of the following sentences using thc Passive.
Fincl tr,r'o things which your partner likes ttr eat but y'ou do not, and two things which you both like. The most important thing in life is your family.'Do you agree?

7.

3.

4.

5.

Divide into two grouPs'for'
and 'against' and have a debate.
o.

How many mistakes are there in the following passage? See if you can spot
them.

.

rt) -l 1e at-

TEACHING GRAMMAR AS SKILL

Teachilg grammar as skill is to help learners make the leap from the careful -gru**ar as product to the effective use of grammar as process. When control 6f you teach-gruto-ur as skill, the learner is recluired to attend to the grammar while working on tasks r,t'hich retain an emphasis on language use'
For example, the learners rnay work in groups retlectir-rg on the quality of the language tn"y have just used in a process tasl: tit tirer mav n'ork on a reading rri.ir'r-:,, l-r'opcrlv inLcrprct thc text. .' f " r.-"J task uthich requires attention to grarnmar ti',cir o\n.n use of'grammar Such tasks can make leartlers be morc c-l\\-,-. l'U can be constructed an-d improved for a Ittrrt-..: r ii'- --:i', t' itrlllITlUniCaiion- Teaching grammar as skili means siriking a balance --r t-,..,-,- t-'--t',rJi,ct teaching and Process
ieaching.

TOPIC

4

TEACHING GRAMMAR AS PRODUCT

63

basis for effective grammar teaching (see Thble 4.1). Each approach has its own advantages, and the weaknesses of one approach can be measured against the strengths of another Product teaching allows us to focus very explicitly on specified forms, and this is its great strength. At the same time, only through a process approach can we begin to shape the learners' handling of the whole complex of skills required for language use. Through teaching grammar as skill we can guide learner activity and learner language without releasing control to the extent that is necessary for process work.
Table 4.1: The Approaches to Effective Grammar Teaching Teaching grammar as product Helps learners to notice and to structure by focusing on specified forms and meanings Teaching grammar as process Give learners practice in the skills of language use, allowing them to proceduralise their knowledge Teaching grammar/as

In short, the three approaches provide a comprehensive

skill
Carefully guides learners to utilise grarunar for their o\trn coffununication.

Think of a grammar-related activity (listening, speaking, reading, n'ritinsr that you can conduct in the classroom for each oi the approaches.
Teaching Grammar as Product Teaching Grammar
as Process

Teaching Grammar
as

Skill

Activity

Activity

Activity

TEACHING GRAMMAR AS PRODUCT
Initially, learners have to notice features of grammar before they can do anything with them as noticing precedes structuring. If your aim is specifically to help learners to notice, then you should consider doing just thai, without always prompting the learner to utilise tl-re language at the same time. Such enforced activitv is sometimes adopted in 'presentation stage' materials, but it runs the risk of learners being overr,t'helmed by the dcrnands made on them; particularly r,r'hele it is their first real encounter rvith the forms being focused on.

64

TOPIC

4

TEACHING GRAMMAR AS PRODUCT

Flence, we are proposing noticing activities that encourages a more reflective engagement with language; caliing for quiet observation which is unhampered by the simultaneous need to manipulate language. In other words, a noticing activity should aim at making certain forms noticeable to the learner.

The following activities seek to encourage active noticing by the learner. How exactly do they do this? Does one strike you as offering more expiicit guidance than the other?

Encik Jamalludin is being interviewed by Encik Borhan, the Managing Director of an air-condition company. Encik ]amalludin has applied for the post of Sales Engineer.
En. Borhan
En. Jamalludin

En. Borhan
En. Jamalludin En. Borhan En. Jamalludin En. Borhan En. Jamalludin

Who do you work for now, En. Jamalludin? The Panasonic Electrical Company. And how long have you worked for them? I've worked for them for fru; years.

How long have you been a sales engineer?
Eighteen months.

And what did you do before joining the Panasonic
Electrical Company?

I worked

as a tutor at the Engineering Faculty at the! University of Malaya.

Grammar questions

1.

Explain why En. Jamailudin says: "I've worked for (the
Panasonic Electrical Company) for five years."

"I worked as a futor at the Engineering Faculty at the University of Malaya."

(a) Is he still a sales engineer iuitlt tlrc Pnrnsonic Electrical
Company?

o)

Does he

still work ss s tutor?

TOPIC

4

TEACHING GRAMMAR AS PRODUCT

65

We cannot force learners to notice new features of the grammar. Like other aspects of the learning process, noticing will only occur as and when the learner themseives are ready for it. But activities shown above can guide the learner to make his or her own discoveries about grammar. This approach is known as
consciousness-raising.

Noticing and re-noticing are essential if learners are to effectively sort out and strucfure grammar for themselves. Ellis (1993), suggests that a product system (a structural syllabus) can provide good conditions for noticing, or what he calls 'intake facilitation', to occur. Indeed, the importance of sustained re-noticing by the learner argues for a similarly sustained emphasis on noticing in teaching materials. Through a progression of noticing activities, different and less idealised
feafures of form and meaning could be introduced.
;

"Consciousness-raising is based on the notion, the discovery of regularities in the target language, whether blindly intuitive or consciorrs, oi coming in between these two extremes, will always be self-discovery. The question is to what extent that discovery is guided by the teacher. rhe guidance, where consciousness-raising is involved ... can be more or less direct and

explicit."

Source: Sharwood Smith, 1988:53

66

The following noticing activity deals with the past and the present
perfect tenses.

1. Z.

here? \Mhat kinds of observation are learners required to make How much attention do they need to pay to the contexts provided?

Experiences and Achievements
*t *rriv*rrit}, eznl c{ u*ht Efi#ti5lt E* a tfr:end*fy s<h{t*l f*f I y*uru I ia,re viglted n:crt c,{ ahe majar Earropetn rapits$r, and hav*

t *tr.rq3ierl En4iis,h

,*o

gu,irXt

tn*wle.e!g* *:f 6*rrvran, l.)ui4* "1ryj ltAltan. Ag liie$l a: Fr*nch. &l$t*u-qh bcth a :a il.law a,ever been dirert{y in'ac}Fred in pu'hlishi*g, * treve sr*:*eci ?rorrslat*r a*d *s a journ*BitL

havt heen l{-rngsi*y l**: l"'ritten r:i'ne r*rl'{el:c =* far'f?rrle cf lhern t4*'" fil'ltz|;tt', b*st sellrru, arx$ hs,re be€n Varrslatsd is;{s. sev*ral [A'nguages.

t{e*ill

'I9s? and har nor,el. Out cf the 61cla xs'qi the Fulitzer Frier irs

kn

rnade

inrolfit*_U*ha= *ts* publ:ish*d ?s,a v#lu'nat *f *h*rt st*ries"Mr-Ki*gday ha*d exlwrierze:e at hae travel!*d Elidsly in the Firr tii*t" #ft* !ra* had ferrt pirted *n' tli9 nc*'rl' th* mentai and phluir-al hrard*ip: de

l*n*ly tife, but I thlnk l'[l b* abie tP csps. I'it*.lfvef .*n 11 irt wq,***t*r*"artd l,rn r1*it* u**d t* l**i+l*g a*t*r $rysel{. l""r+ ttue$ e#t* {en-}perat{Jre ltral *ften rni*us 40'ar clinrat* b*f,>ratc*' ln {reeeltalud"the y+u've *v*r' *:e*n lf,{J*r; #t1d ?}r,ll didtl't qi* rn* any lwrrn' } &r*rt't suBptse
y*c. ir,#i1! be a

|tt*r.rkKiElggaey**wra|y}rg1a+chiet,eally!ucce{!asaawriter.Hisfust had ts rn*rk i*-l norel. El*ii+ rryar rejected hy n<r lesl tha* I 5 pgblirirers' [-{e
er*d givir:g qjpwritin$ **l t*g*ther:

hls rnrifs adn tv;* Ernali trars a*fl r*sti?lraftt! t€! ear*eeto :gh rnc*ey ta keep Freneh +t $;€eh€'fidt' He gv€'? e*cttldcfuilq?r'esl.*fid tla',te:gtti'$tl*l**soilt:in

3.

InparagraphsA,BandC,thewriterusesmainlythePresentPerfect
tense. \AIhY is this?

4. 5.

\AIhy is this? sometimes the writer changes to the Past tense. \lVhy is. this? In paragraph D, the writer uses onlY the Past tense' Source Doff, Jones and Mitchell, 1984:1

TOPIC

4

TEACHING GRAMMAR AS PRODUCT

67

STRUCTURING BY THE LEARNER
Having noticed certain features of grammar, learners har.e to act on it, building it into their working hypothesis about how grammar is structured. Th"y do this through the processes of structuring and restructuring. Particularly in the early stages of language learning, learners operate with a language which is largely lexical. They may, for example, be heavily dependent on formulaic chunks of language: these will include bits and pieces of grammar, but this is not evident to the learner. Hence, noticing grammar is not enough: it may be a necessary condition for learning, but it is not a sufficient condition. If we were to provide .learners only with noticing activities, it would be very unlikely that anything they had noticed would remain in their heads for very iong. It would be a case of 'out of sight, out of mind'.
t

In what ways do the follor,t,ing activity relates to formulaic aspect to language learning? To what extent does the learner have to assemble
forms in her own \ ray? \Atrich grammatical forms might be evident to the
learner? Note: Formulaic means using a standard patterJthat has been used manv times before and is therefore not interesting or original.

Invitations

1.

Would you iike to go out? Yes,I'd love to., Work in pairs. Invite your parhrer to do the following:
come to iunch come to my house go to a club go for a walk go dancing
<)

so swimminc t)

play tennis

play ca'rds

go jogging

You want to go to the theatre one evening next week and you want someone to go with you. You are free on three evenings only. Decide which evenings. Go round the class, with your dtary, and find someone to go to the pop concert with you.

fhurs 20
Mon
17

I'
68
TOPIC

4

TEACHING GRAMMAR AS PRODUCT

Ask and answer,like this: Are you free on MondaY the 17th? No. I'm afraid I'm not.
Well, are you free on FridaY the 21st? Yes,I am.

Oh goodl I've got two tickets for
\A/oulcl you like to come

...

n'ith rle?
Source: Abbs and Freebairn, 7982:70

Yes,I'd love to.

In the activity above, learners work with a framework of language which is very iargelr- fixed in adrrance, so that through practice and repetition the leamer can
nienrotise erprcssiotrs such
as:

'\\brricl 1.ou 1ike to...?',
'Yes,

I'd love to', zurd so on.

Such phrases perfornr useful social functions. Bul we cannot r91y solely on this kind of activity. Leaming grammar means learning to utilise language flexibly, combining elements from grammar and lexis in productive ways. To help learners achieve this greater flexibility, we need activities which involve the active manipulation of language. However, we need to be careful as most activities coulcl be achieved with little understanding of the target grammar. The leamers may be called on to work'arpund' rather than'with' the target grammar. There is, thus, an important distinction to be made here between the following activities:

(a) (b)

Activities which have learners working arouud target grammar which has
been carefully structured

for

the learner
br7

Activities which require active structuring

the learner

Structuringby the learner means that she has ic-r think for herself before she can correctly oit ur"r the grammatical rulcs and princip'les u'hich product teaching
focuses on. It means that the learner is not nrerclr actir e, but activeiy inrtolved.

Some activities may be very brief ancl ir',n.irai,'i':t thev catrnot be successfully negotiated withoui real thought. Otirt'rs :t-..i\':\u ct'rlourful, elaborate, aud imlginative, vet on closer inspection ther -i ' :- . :r-'rr.iire a sreat deal of active - - -. .: rl:rc litle betweetr the tr'r'o, ir-,.,,11.re*ent ty the learner. Sotnetintes tl'. with tl-re learner having to think for he ls'-,

Tf ?ii

4

TEACHING GRAMMAR AS PRODUCT

69

Each of the follon.irrg activities involves manipulation of grammar in some way. But r,r.hich activities call for structuring by the learner, and which involve structuring for the learner? Are there any 'borderline'
cases?

Activity A
Question words and phrases Complete the questions. Put in these words and phrases; who, what, whose, where, when,'what time, what color, what kind, how often, how far, how long, how many.
Wlrcre is Pekan Lalat?- In Kelantan

Whnl colottr is the I'erak flag? - White, yellow and black (a)

was the first Prime Minister of Malaysia? - Tulku Abdul Rahmar

(b) (c) (d)

-

did the Second World War end? - In 1945.
inches are there in a foot? - TWelve.

(e) (0 (g) (h) (i) 0) Activity B Drill:

do banks open in Malays
is a kitten?

iJ

-nottpast ni.e.

-Ayoung cat

is it from Kuala Lumpur to Penang? About 500 kikrme.h.cs

homc is at Putrajaya? - Prime Minister's
arp the Olympic Games held? - Every four years.

of food is Cheddar? - Cheese.
is a game of rugby? - 80 minutes.

T: Look of nty car. It wns second-hand. T: Was it? It doesrt't look second-hand. T: Look at nry bicyclc. It zuos second-hnnd. T: Were they? Thetl dott't look second-hnnd. T: Look nt nn1 cnr. It zL,ns seclndJund. C: trMrs it? [t doestt't look second-hnnd.

Continue: Look at nnTT-slirts. Thary itlere secottd lmnd Look of nullsractlt'i. li ri'iz-s st,cond knnd [-ook af ttnl tr0itsr,i:. Tittt u)cr( s(.cont]-hotttl

70

TOPIC

4

TEACHING GRAMMAR AS PRODUCT

2.

(a)

Organise your class in threes and tell tkrem they are going to compete in finding appropriate 'heads' for 74 'headless' sentences. Give out the sentence bodies. Set them a 7-minute time limit. Tell them to write in the sentence beginnings they think are correct.
When time is up, pick one person from each triad and give them tl-re scntence heads. Ask thcm to go back to a triad that is not their or,vn and score that group's sentettces-

(b) (c)

Ask the scorers to tell their scores to the class and adjudicate on any points of doubt.

Note: Adjudicate means to make an official decision about a problem or
disagreement.
Sentence bodies

(i) jttl (iii) (i") (r.) (vi)
(vii)
(viii)
(ix)

is played by trvo or four people, often on grass. is played with big men in parks in Germany' is watched by millions more than play it.
a

try can be converted into a goal.

,

is dominated by the Chinese. is an event often won in the olympics by black competitors?

_-

islare played mainly by men in pubs.
tends to be played by rich people with a small, pitted ball.
are

bettei on by all sorts of people.
hit below the belt.

ft)
(*i)
(r,i )

a nlan may not be

is banned in China, but the Chinese iove to play it.

the big balls have to end up as close as possible to the little ball. Source: Rinvolucri, 7984:9 -70

Teachers sholrlcl be able to recognise tl-re distirrctitrn, iu principle, between an activity that is structured'for the learner'.lrlr-i "ii-r actiritv that invites structuring 'by the learner'. These are two broacllr' dific'rer',t t\ iar's oi actirrity, and each has a roie to play'. Some learners may achie\e a if..',- :t:, nrth activities t}\at reqtlire little commitmetnt and ai1oi,r, ther-t, to fer'l t,'tt'l :-: ':.-.' lltih-evel, sincc learning is il-,.-r can think ancl flttrctitlu an actirre llrocess, learnels shouid de'nlollt::-':-' effectivcly through thcir own decisior-r-ri'.:r: 'r -

I-.:<.::::S:-

-t\*-=\\

IDP\I

4

ltAtH\NG

GRA\,\i',)rri. :S

D}DDUtI { -)\

tli:i,r#

l*.ig

GRAMMAR. CONTEXT AND CHOICE

In real-life communication, a learner chooses \t/hat to say, and how to say it, depending on the contcxt. However, none of the actrr-ities proposed provides the learner with authentic choice. Such activities present a changeless view of
grammar as an object of study, detached from the movement and transformation r,vhich is typicai of grammar in language use. This isolation may well be beneficial, irelping learncrs to carefully scrutinise and reflect on language form. But if we were to concentrate exclusively on this kind of approach, then we would be misrepresenting the nature of grammar in use.

In real contexts, grammar is not a motionless object. It is a resource providing us with options from which wc choose in order to signal our meanings effectively and appropriately. \Atren learners practice a fixed dialogue in pairs, we are presenting them with the product of someone else's choice.

How does tl-re following activity allow for a degree of controlled choice bv the learner? What kind of listening does it aryt to develop?
Procedure: Students work in pairs. Student A looks at Picture B arrd decides whicl-r changcs:

1. 2. 3.

Have been made.

Are in the process of being made.

Will be made in the future.

Student A then communicates this information to student B, by saying (for example) 'A hotel is being built' or 'A national park has
been ooened'.

Student B listens and rnarks the information on her map:

1. 2. 3.

For changes which have becn made For charrges being made For future changcs

72

TOPIC

4

TEACHING GRAMMAR A5 PRODUCT

By giving learners some responsibility for the choices they make, the teacher cir-rissisi to increase their u.[i.r" engagement with grammar as a functional and

meaningful device. In the above task, for instance, explaining differences between past, present, and future centered on the choice of one form over another. By discloii.tg grammar as a tool for communicative decision-making, we are seeking to promo"te"the learner's seif-discovery of grammar as a resource for choice. This brings us to consciousness-raising, which is defined as:

,'... the means to an end, not the end itseif. That is, whatever it is that

is

raised to consciousness is not to be looked uPon as an artifact or object of study... Rather, what is raised to consciousness is not the grammatical product but aspects of the grammatical process' "" i
Source: Rutherfor d, 1987 :704

Grammar is also a resource for choice in the social context, a device for constructilg ancl expressing our attitudes and our relationships with each other.

How does the following activity focus on gra.r{rmar in a social context? \ Ihich particular forms and social functions are being highlighted? 1. Below is a part of a dialogue between two people who share an
apartment.
These shelves are disgusting! They look like they haven't been cleaned for months' You mean you haven't cleaned them.

well, I'm not sure that it was decided who would clean them,
was it?
Yes it was, honey. we agreed that you shelves down here. Remember? done.

would look after the

well, you could be right I suppose. oK, I',ll make sure it gets

TOPIC

4

TEACHING GRAMMAR A5 PRODUCT

73

When A says..

A means

fhese shelves look like they haven't been cleaned for months.

(i) I'd like you to clean them.
(ii)
They need cleaning.

I'm not sure that it u'as decided who would clean them. was it?

(i)
(ii)

i want to atro d agreeing to clean We haven't d scussed this yet.
I promise to clean them myself. ciean.thcm. Source; Batstone,1995 to

i'll

make sure it gets done.

(ii) I might ask someone else

(i)

(a) (b) (c) (d)

\A4rat kind of relationship other? \Alhere are they?

do you think they have with

each

Working with a parkrer, tick (i) or (ii) in the given table above: Do you notice any grammatical forms which are used to express the meanings you chose in (b)?

With your partner, plan a similar dialogue on a different subject and using different characters.

2.

How might a similar approach takenzto demonstrate other contextsensitive grammatical functions?

This perspective on grammar, where the forms are presented in direct association with the contexts in which they are chosen, helps us to represent
grammar as it is used, as a communicative resource for choice.

PRODUCT TEACHING

IN

PERSPECTIVE

Product teaching provides a clear framework of the language points to be
covered. Such a structured approach can give learners a strong sense of direction, and this can have a motirrating effect. It allows iearners to focus their attention on specific aspects of the language system. Research suggests that product teaching can promote rapid learning of explicit grammatical forms, and can contribute to a high level of ultimate achievement (Larsen-Freeman and Long, 7997:372-27).

Another positive feature of product teaching is its flexibility. Once particular
grammatical forms have been targeted by the syilabus designer, the teacher has very considerable scope in deciding how thesc items shor-rld bc revealed to the learners. We can vary the emphasis given to form and meaning, concentrating at times on formal aspects of the language system ard oir specific functions of the grammar.

74

TOPIC

4

TEACHING GRAMMAR AS PRODUCT

time to time betrveen explicit Teachers can also vary tire emphasis from careful encouragement of active direction provided for the learners, and a lnore A11 teaching must involr'e a involvcment ancl self-discovery by the learners. much guidance to provide' and measure of guidance. \Ahat matters is how can choose

activities',we. in rvhat way. with both noticing and structuringrequire of the learner' With to how much to girre to the learner, Ind how much

involvement and learner decisionstructuring actirrities the element of active principled grammatical cl-roices afe making can be extended to the point where bcing t,:tac1e in a carefuily controlled way'
'Ihis flexibility is sometimes overlooked by critics of product teaching' t'r"ho discuss ma^ipulating forms' O'e it as if it were f".g;lf " matter of learneri mechanically involved i. asking lear'ers cltical account, t?r'"*o*ple, talks of the problems no associated meaning' (Lightbown' to ,repeat and or.,er-learn ior-, which have over-generalise from such criticisms' i983:239). we sl]luld be careful not to most highly controlled atrd cotrstrained kind of rr irich ma,v apply only to the ptoa"ct teaching for we can never be ,,..rti.1.'.Ct teachir-rgl 11'r"r. are.limitationsio the abiiity to process-u"q T" grammar in sure that all thrl acdvity will lead to teaching this unpredictability in the roles rc.rl-Jife conlnnnication. with product and i"r-, tlt"it pitt.tt-tt of intcraction, partitipant, proo; i^1h" topi.s ir"t"f J""r with, out for gclod reason' in ti-re time pressure they aie.rt-,dei; are taken

approach' In what ways are Compare and contrast product. and process which approach do you they difterent or simiiar? If given the choice, why do yt.ru say so? Provide prefer to adopt *uh^;;;, .iu# of students? point' at least tr,r,o reasons to sribstantiate your

e 4 + g e' tt 4 a * + { e & e tt q 4 A 6 4 & & 4 & q a & & q * 4 & q 4 & &

vk

rrrl glammar' with teaching lrroduct teaching takes a product persp-rt't1it'u .,i i:lr-,g'.r.tge forms that provide ihe strnctured around a careful specificatitrn targct language for each iesson'

I

t-toticing for the learner

l----

I l-"orr-r"r. are presented wjth explicillr
formulatcii informatiou aboltt form:
.r, rrr artrl I ht' i l. l.trtrt'l

.,, ..,^f"O-t,.l *.,t *,t t";
rr.rrtr .'stllVit-tg

i.rrnratitlt-t abotrt ttlrms

1

I

iotts

I

I

Ir"an't1r1,'.

Substitution Tables

aclirttttt's

i

IEACHING GRAMMAR AS PRODUCT

75

Meanwhiie, process teaciru-rg engages learners in language use, formulating their own meaninss in contexts and drawing on grammar as an ongoing
resource. Teaching grammar as skill emphasised on learners to attend to the grammar while working on tasks n'hich retain an emphasis on language use.

This topic can be summarised as follows:

A product approach offers no explicit opportunity for proceduralisation, whereby knowledge becomcs internalised to the point where it carr be
product teaching can achieve this.

drawn on automatically. There is no clear evidence from research that

On the contrary, a number of studies seem to indicate that with .respect to many key grammatical forms, product teaching has little effecl on
spontaneous language use (Ellis, 7984; Kadia, 1988).

Proceduralisation requires sustained practice in using grammar when learners are negotiating their own meanings. For this wi must turn to
consider process teaching.

&4@8

@& v 6 & * @& e 6

Ye

& I

e I

6 &

e

a6agaaeaaaa

Internalised Proceduraiisation
Process teaching

Product teaching
Structu ri ng

@q*q4&4AA4&&9&A*&q

5@98*4*SqqePluraaa

1

I.

What is process teaching? What happens at the presentation stage?

1.

4 e t t & 4 t A 4 C f4 & * q & & q @ &
1

"?

& @& e & q & q & q * 6 v 4 v Z e

%

What is meant by active engagement in process teaching?

l

A

Top*e F Teachi*g
Grammar
as Process

INTRODUCTION
Latin Proverb quoted: "By learning you will teach, by teaching you will learn".

Source: Retrieved February 26,2006 from http: / /www.teachingheart.net/tquotes.htm

Topic 5 analyses the process approach or task-based approach through consciousraising activities. Additiorrally, it gives you erplanation on the terminologies that ar:e pertinent to the process approach sr-rch as interlansuage stretching, regulating

language use, regulating time pressrlre, reeulating topic and familiarity,
reguiating shared knowledee, and context-eapr.

This topic cicrnonstrates the process apprrra.h via some tasks ancl ictivities and would be bencficial to yor-r ir-r thi: aspeci i.r le.::hins srammar as process.

TOPIC

5

TEACHING GRAMMAR AS PROCESS

77

PROCESS TEACI.fi!NG
Process tedching preoccupies learners explicitly in the procedures of language use with teacher guidance. The objectives are:

(a) To develop the skills and strategies of the discourse process; and (b) Constructing tasks which learners can use to express themselves more
effectively as discourse participants.
In process teaching, we want learners to achieve self-discovery which is facilitated by consciousness-raising, and also the self-expression of language use. The kind of process teaching is sometimes referred to as ,task-based,. ,
(1987), provided a detaile_d taxonomy for the qualities based learning and this is presented in Figure 5.1.
.Cand-l1n

of 'good, task-

?l$gn,

j,egr er:ls

Figure 5.1: Taxonomy for the qualities of 'good' task-based learning

78

TOPIC

5

TEACHING GRAMMAR AS PROCESS

1

I

\t\&at do you think are the specific justifications for each of
Candlin's requirements listed above? Bearing these in mind, which of the following two activities most clearly involves a process, i.e.
task-based, approach?

L.

(a)

Based on the picture above, discuss the following questions your group. Then present it to your course mates. \A4rat was the purpose of the ciemons#ation?

in

(b)
(c)

lVhat do you think of the way in which these people are trying to achieve their goal?

(d)
(e)

Will they be successful? \AIhy (not)?

If you have,not
and STRIKE?

seen this picture, would you be able to just reading the text i.e. WAGES, NOT FAIR understand by you rvanted to make a poster, protesting against police brutality?

(0
3.

\Mhich elements

in this picture n'ould inspire you, if

Look and analvse the picture. The character is this picture is called Ali. Explicitlr, this picture shows that someiirins l-rad happenecl to Ali last n'eek. Tell tiris story to your partner
r-rsing \-rl'.ir- r)\\-r-r r..,olds. Try to see

who is

alrle
ti

tt

rl.r:,.'nt the story in the shortest

tt-,.

TOPIC

5

TEACHING GRAMf\,lAR AS PROCESS

79

Novq, assume, a teacher r,vho has recentiy alloted reasonable time to the teaching of the past tense through product work which has been presented and practised in various rnodes; utilising all sorts of ways in dialogues and drills, in groups and in pairs. Latet the teacher decided to give learners the opportunify to express

themselves more freely in process work. With this objective, she gave them the following task: Example 1 Describe what you see in the pictures given belor,r'.

This is not an example of process teaching, but merely of process activity. The teacher did not consider the effects of the task on the learners' performance. She thought that it was time to release control-and to observe the outcome. To this effect, it is important to distinguish betw6en process teaching and process
activity.
Process activity refers to the unregulated production of language br. learrrers

who are unaware of the purpose underlying their performance. It ma_r-, as with the AIi's story, resuits from an inferior activity. There is not much attempt to regulate what learners are doing and why they are doing it, just
like in free conversation.

Process teaching, in contrast, requires precise attention to task design, so that we can make principled decisions about the effects of the task on learner language. In particular, we wiil want learners to take every opportunity to utilise grammar in their talk, stretching their linguistic resources so that they use language which is grammatically rich. This procedure is sometimes referred to as 'interlanguage stretching', arld it requires learners to 'operate at the outer limits of their current abilities' (Long, 1989:13).

80

TOPIC

5

TEACHING GRAMMAR AS PROCESS

In the table below, write what you understand by the tertns 'process
activity' and'process teaching'. Provide one example each.
Process

Activity

Process Teaching

Definition:

Definition:

Exarnple:

Example:

Interlanguage stretching requires meticulous regulation of task design. Without sucl-r regilafion, we will be involved not in principled process teaching, but i1 tu'rpircipled process activity. The danger of the latter is that learners will cor-rsiiteltlr: fail to stretch their language, ultimately proceduralising a vcry iimited language S)'stem.

5.1

.1

Regulating Language Use
f'J$gtt y\

Raising Duncan b;t Chris Browne.
g
bJeFid S.

ftf

9r*,&ffi

#

ii4

*&F f ##

$,*eEWE

li€Y' {r T#et#$ #1jr l"*t! t4&'{

,?17EtE*{.

w

e

Fas*aa{T!

Source: http: / / www.comics.com

Language use is conrposed of many skills. Competent language users manage to deafwith this becaur" rotrr" of these skills har-e become automatic. In particular:, they harre learnecl to proceduralise their language knowledge so they can use it unconsciously, watcl-ring out for meaning. Learners, especiaily ESL, will not be alrle ttr acrltiire this ievel of skill without adequate prictice and guiclance. Humatt L.t'r',i: .rrr lttrliteci in their capacity tO consciouslv atter-rcl to mbre than one t;'isk a: : .rr'.J Shrffrin and Scirneider, 1977)I{encc, it i-s tough for'learners to coi-tcei-iirl-t r::l-,'.:,:.1',':ously both to iir': qr-ralitl' :sing. Sometirirrg ir;is to girre of tireir language attrti to thc meanings tl-r.'' wa1r, atrd very ofien it is grammar n'htt l- :

TCPII

5

81

what kinds of factors can help us to reguiate lea:r-L.r s tanguage to prevent features of the grammar being cast aside in this r,r'ar.l
So,

There \vere two key factors which were inadequatei', regr-ilated activity involving Ali's story.

in the above

(u)

Pressure: the teacher had effectively set ottt ff frut the pressure on, by imposing an imperative to complete the task as tlriickl,v as pctssible. But the more pressure learncrs arc under, the less time n-il1 be available for them tcr reflect. Hence, time prcssure is an essclrtial eiemc'rrt ir-r task design.

(b)

The second key factor is associatcd r,r,ith meaning; the teacher r,t,anted his/her learners to use the past sirnple tense, although it was obvious that the narrative took place in the past. It rvas tiren, part of the learners' initial shared knowledge: the pictures were about Aii and something rn'hich happened to him last week. For this reason, why should learners convey something r.t hich would be communicatively redundant? As we have already seen, the more shared knowledge there is, the less need there is for meanings to be made clear through the use of grammar. Here, then, is another important factor for task design: the regulation of shared
knowledge.

Regulation in process teaching is a more elusive kind of control than that which is practiced in product teaching. Instead of simp,ly blocking out major aspects of language use, we are influencing and shaping'certain feafures of context more indirectly, in the hope that this will lead to a corresponding effect on the grammar which learners use. For example, airline pilots are given a similar kind of regulation. Before the,v climb into the cockpit and take several hundred lives into their hands, tirey spend hundreds of hour's in a simulator, where specific features of the context are purposely varied: speed, weather conditions, the amount of competing air traffic. All these are factors which computers regulate so that trainee pilots can learn to cope with them simultaneously in real-time flying conditions. In aviation, this skill is known as'time-sharing'.

lVell-planned regulated process work provides learners with repeated opportunities to notice and restructure their working hypotheses about language and to proceduralise this knowledge. However, there must be limits to the accuracy of their restructuring process, and therefore to the accuracy of the language which tirey proceduralise. Our objective is to evolve the skill of rnaking use of grammar to exprcss meanings as clearly as possible in language
use. Conrrersely, we sirould not implement product teaching that is to control the learner's accurate prodr-rction of granmatical forms.

Howerrer) the cr-riture oi tire process classroom is distirrctly diffelcnt from the prrochict classroom, u'ith lcarners harrir-rg much greatt'r lesf.rtinsilrilitv for their or,r'rr language prodtrciiirn. \\'e cannot fonnulate rr:le: irr;rclvance about ithich

82

TOPIC

5

TEACHING GRAMMAR AS PROCESS

particular forms will be used in a task, or about the precision with which they are utilised. If we think of process teaching as an uncertain and preoccupy lots of time to get iearners to formulate specific forms ther-r we are misrepresenting the very nature of pr:ocess teaching. Learning is learner-centered, and it foliows that whatever we do in the classroom is conditioned by the learner's individual intrinsic motivation and wish to study grammar.

Predominantly,

objectives of product and process teaching are complementary. The focus in process teaching is on the learner's own self expression, and consequently we cannot directly step in to focus on specific and selected grammatical form. In product teaching exactly the reverse situation appiies. Effective grammar teaching is prone to include a combination of

the

bbth approaches.

Now we need to consider how to implement process teaching. For mostly, we n ill concentrate on speaking tasks, where communicative pressure is likely to be at its greatest, and where effective re-structuring and proceduralisation is difficuit
to achieve.

5,1 .2

Regulating Time Pressure

Teachers should give learners adequate time to plan what they are going to produce. We have all experienced the perplexity that pressure can bring on our language production. For instance, when attending an interview for a job, we may find ourselves struggling to get our language out: slips of the tongue and endless 'ums' and 'ers' make a mess of our performance. When it is all over, we re-run crucial moments in our minds eye with the thought'If only I'd said this hrctesd of thot'. How much {nore strenuous the whole experience of spontaneous language nse must be for the learner, and particularly for those learners whose personalitv does not incline them towards self-expression under the judgmentnl gaze of a teacher and peers.

Research showed that giving learners planning time will enable them to produce language with a much wider range of vocabulary and more varied grammatical patterns than was the case when no planning time was permitted (Crookes, 7989). In a study, lean'rers were given three kinds of task: a planned writing task, a planled speaking task, and an unplanned speaking task. The study fourrd that learners used grammar to signal regular past with greatest accuracy in the plamed r.r'ritirrs task, iess accurately in the planned speaking task, and least of all in the unplamred speaking task (Ellis , 7987).lt rvas found that the process oi r,t riting pro.;ides much nlore opportunity to plap and organisc tl-,ougirts than does speaking, hence the pri.1i111et1 r,r'riting task lecl to the most accurate p;:oduction. Here, again, is cvidtr-rct ti'rat planling time reduces pressure and so ailorvs iearners time to reflect ancl tt-' nranagc gramtnar more effectir.el)'.

TOPIC

TEACHING

-]1CES5

83

What devices are utilised in this actirrity to gir,e leamers timc to plan? Look at the picture above and discuss what you think is happening, and how people feel.

Now imagine you are one of the people in the picture. Writc an account in your diary of what happened that day. Use some of the following adverbs: at first, then, later on, afterwards, soon, finally, at last.
Here are some guidelines. 1. Cuests/arrive 2. Relax/spend a quiet afternoon talking 3. Have a swim/a pool
4. 5. o.

An accidentf car crash Shouts/screams/panic
Be frightened embarrassed

/hurt/

startl ecl /

.

According to Skehan (7994),learners might use planning time in different ways: some to lay the groundwork for their ideas (planning/meaning); others to think about language content (planning/form). Hence, plar-rning time should be taken into consideration when designing tasks for courses. Prabhu (7987), forwarded an approach whereby every classroom task starts with a "pre-task," where learners rehearse some of the cognitive demands of the task itself. On the contrary, we do not want our learners to become too dependent on planning time: our aim is to gradually tune them into the pressures on real-time ianguage. Teachers could think of ways to reduce preparation timc and er.eutually the pressure of spontaneous use graduaily appears less difficult. Figure 5.2 shows some suggestions for manipulating planning time o\rer a series of lessons.

84

TOPIC

5

TEACHING GRAMMAR AS PROCESS

1.

to Give time for written preparation' Learners can refer and written notes for a start, followed by oral preparation

L.
a l

finally no PreParation. Begin with group work followed by individual work'
Slowly reduce time allocated for preparation' the slowly reduce the time allocated for the performance of
task.

-.
/l

5.

For listening activities, start off by- referring to. transcript for when they Iisten and gradually reduce time allocated and referring io the transcrlpt or reducing the frequency
length of Pauses.

Figure 5.2; Some suggestions

for manipulating planning time over a series of lessons

"strategic interaction approach"' Alternativell,, DiPetro (1987), proposed a rvherebv learners are given utt"tpl" titt't" to prepar"l 4.Ti111t*i::t"::::,?; :l':l::i':::'.#; ;;;f^i' ;n""'tn'v u'" u't"ullv performing the teacher will or rclle-Play' lrle ,1 , --r1 ^ f ^- Lr^ r^^-,-^ro r^ .ocr-.,nnd ilrr:'j[5j,|*;j "*.p".,"J mror*ation that cafs for the learners to respond .,- ^ ^t^A g":l"Jt#:",: quickly and upp roprluielv', Hen'",,lv- iT:::tig^ where ;i;;:;;G" l.urr,"r, to activate sranxnar under pressure/ ^^-.^l-, ::il;il'; -, ^__ they have to improvlsg .aJa assemble tneir ]iig;1s^',f:":::::::ff::?,:"""::i{ illffi;;;";:#; should aim for an approacn #ne'e the practice of dealing with

:: ::::::

change is a typical characteristic of the course'

framewofk on which to In the following activitY, learners are given a clear
base a dialogue.

Role-plaY travel agency' The travel.agent Get into pairs or smal1 group. Yo_u are at a to other big cities in the has a timetable of fligf,ts from Kuala Lumpur act out the conversation world. Choose one of the following situations and with the travel agent.

Situation

1. 2. 3,

You r,r'ant to go to SingaPore. Yor-t ttailt

it' L''e there beiore 2p*.
l

You n'ant to go to Melbourlle.

\rrll

-"".

.,

:e ihere before 9am.
::-ierc before

You r,vant to go to London. Yotr

\'..-r:- -

: i'

6p*

TOPIC

5

TEACHING GRAMMAR A5 PROCESS

85

You Greet the travel agent.
Say where you want to go.

The Travel Agent

Ask if there is a flight in the morning / evening / at night.
Enquire what time it leaves. Enquire what time it arrives. Request the travel agent to book you on the flight.

Reply "there is"

Repll' "H'hen"
Reply "\r,hen" Repiy and give the flight number.

Source: Abbs and Freebairn, 1982:50

How might you adapt it so that, having planned and rehearsed the role
play,learners are called on to negotiate some unexpected developments?

The above controlled dialogue is common and can be utilised during the initial stage. Gradually, you can build in an element of unexpected deviation, to encourage learners to activate grammar under pressure, where they have to
improvise and assembie their language spontardously just like in the real r,r'orld.

5.1

.3

Regulating Topic and Familiarity

Time pressure can be regulated by varying planning time and through controlling the time avaiiable to perform the task. The teacher can judge how much time to provide with reference to a particular group of learners. Learners will have their .own optimum ievel of time pressure - the point where they can stretch their language without feeling either over-pressurised (to littie time) or not overpressurised enough (too much time). space for planning creates a sense of familiarity with what will follow which can strongly influence the quality of the language produced and attended to. Another way in which familiarity can be exploited is through giving learners s for discussion which they are aiready familiar with so that, as with plam-ring time, they have more mental space to attend to the quality of their own and each other's language.

Consequently,

by providing

This can be conducted in a number of ways. One way is to stimulate learners to talk about a topic r.t'ith r,vhich they are already familiar from their life experiences. English for Specific Purposes teachers, for instance, often report that thetir learners are highiy motivated to explain quite technical aspects of their work witir whlch others in the class are irot familiar.

86

TOPIC

5

TEACHING GRAMMAR AS PROCESS

Another way is to give opportunities for revising a topic or theme which learners have already lcarned beforehand. Here, we are giving learners the chance to re-encounter and to develop specific language routines without the added pressure created by working n'ith unfamiliar material. Eventually, within these domains restructuring and proceduralisation can be practiced successfully. Generally teachers are too concerned with variety and originality in the topics they select for classroom work, and that they should cor-rsider including materials that are farniliar ancl comfortable to learners.

On the contrary; there is aiways the danger that the learner will relax and take it easy in these circumstances, comfortable in the knowledge that the topic presents her with no great probiems, but not particularly motivated to use the available time to make her language ricl-rea like doing reference work at the library, the internet or the dictionary and thesaurus. Hence, we need to think about how we can regulate familiarity, keeping learners alert to the language thev are working with. One possibility here is to integrate a careful selection of topic n ith a reguiation of planning time. The teacher might choose an unfamiliar tireine but gir-e icarners plenty of time to prepare their ideas in advancc. On the other;hand, this procedure could be reversed, so that a familiar theme is provided but relatively little planning time is allotted.

The suggestion that learners shorlld sclect a tt-rlric n hich others in the class are interested in but knorv littie about nreaiis; tirat there could be a genuinely communicative motivation f<ir the rest tri tl',t ciass to attend to as eacl-r :;tudent spe.rks. In other w-ords, what is familiar ttr tr-:c -':caker rvill be less iamiliar to the
listener, anC tlrrr:; tl'.eil s1^Laretl knort'ledgt' t.' -,- .--. .r:r-,ited. Tiris raises the questiou of the particular meanings lt'hich leartl.'i- .::. -, :r''aiins tirrough their language
use.

TOPIC

5

TEACHING GRAMMAR AS PROCESS

87

The exact outcomes of this kind of regulation will depend on the learners' endurance of pressure, their engrossment in specific topics, and their aptitude to manage the unfamiliar without serious disruption of their language. In short, we can say that given a certain amount of time, in association with a familiar topic,

wili

encourage a stretching of their language resources.
Less Pressure

More Pressure Familiar topic, with little or no time to plan
OR

Familiar topic, given to plan

Unfamiliar topic, with no
piar-rning time

Unfamiliar topic, plarLning time spedified

5.1

.4

Regulating Shared Knowledge: Context-gap

Generally, under the pressure of real-time language use, learners will find 'themselves unable to concurrently manage all the skills required. However, this 'do"t not mean that they will appiy grammar entirely. Instead they may carry out those aspects of the grammar which are unnecessary because they would onlrsignal meanings which were already self-evidery.It is advisable, for leamers to concentrate resources on those points which need to be communicated becau-se they are not part of shared knowledge. In fact, the learner who is too dependent on a supporting context will have great difficulty in expressing his/her meaning in situations where shared knowledge cannot be depended to, assist him/her. He/She runs the risk of becoming so used to avoiding certain aspects of the grammar that they stop to exist in his/her working system altogether. He/She will get into the habit of avoiding grammar, so that what gets proceduralised is a language system which depends much more on lexis than on grammar, as with 'he no play', 'me no go' and so on.
We need to consider how we can push learners beyond the stage of getting their message across, because otherwise they will not greatly develop their underlying knowledge of the language system.

According to Swain, "Simply getting one's message across can and does occur with grammatically deviant forms ... Negotiating meaning needs to incorporate the notion of being pushed towards the delivery of a message that is not only conveyed, but that is conveyed precisely, coherently and appropriately"
(1985 :248-9).

In process teachirrg, the accuracy of learner languaee is dependent on the context of the task, and on the r,otivation and limitations of the learners themselves.

88

TOPIC

5

TEACHING GRAMMAR AS PROCESS

we can push learners to use language with greater accuracy through exploiting the principle of shared knowledge. If learners reduce the qtrantity and quality of their language in rcsponse to information which is
Nevertheless, already shared between them, then this can be overcome by buildir-rg into tasks a need to make certain meanings clear which are not already self-evident. Hence, they will share knowledge through the performance of the task, rather than rely entirely on knowledge which is shared from the start of the task.

teaching this is achieved through information-gap activities. Specifically, tl-rese require the careful distribution of inforrnation between, two learners who have to share their respective knor,t'iedge through the carefully

In product

controlled exchange of question and answer. Here, we want to motivate learners to make their own meanings clear. So, in place of the traditional notion of an information-gap, we might think instead of a context-gap. Context-gap is the gap in knowledge between what is known, and known to be knou,ll, between all learners at the outset of a process task, and the knowledge rrhicl'r thev need to clearly express to con-Lplete the activity. Context-gaps can be created and regulated in various ways, and at the same time controlling the specific forms which learners will use.

How much of a context-gap is there likely to be in the following activity, and how might this depend on the learner's background and culture?
Love story They fly off to Langkawi for their honeymoon.

'They move into a small apartment together.
She takes him home to meet her parents, and he does the same.

Th"y get married, and invite all tl-rcir friends aud relations to
wedding.
They start going out together regularlr.

the

They have a baby boy, and they call hin-, Sir a, after Raju's grandfather.

He inrrites her out to
together.

See

a film,.ltr: .';,ltl.'.',',lltls they have dinner
sc.1t-tence.
l

1. \Arork in pairs. Put the sttltv il-, th'- - -: 2. i)o yctu iike the stor,v as it isl 1,1 - . ,- any way you like.

--

---,1

- i. , ".\'1r version. Changel

it in

ICPI(

5

TEACHING GRAMMAR AS PROCESS

89

Every task in process teaching presupposes a context-gap of some problem to solve, or an argument to conciude. The learner's job is to complete the task by reducing or eliminating the context-gap through language use. A proper regulation of context-gap requires careful thought which the task designer needs to consider, what exactl,v is unclear or unavailable when the task commences, and how the learners can be motivated to discover and share this information. This means getting a suitable balance between two extremes: on the one hand, avoiding an over-rigorous control of learner language (this would be product teaching), while avoiding texts and tasks which are so ambiguous that the learner
is left wondering what she is required to do, and w'hy.

How does each of the following responses establish a context-gap? \Atrat kind of baiance is struck between controlling the learner's choice and leaving them free (or too free) to construct their own responses? How important will the iearner's personality and culture be?
Sorry, nhat did you

say?

Sorry?
I, didn't get the bit

| Communication Problems | tt is very easy to misunderstand someone on
the telephong

about. you.

I I We can't see the person \4/e are speaking I The line can be bad.

ttr.

I thete may be other noises arottnd us. Can you please spe3k louder! | In this difficult situation, we use the phrases in the list. I May I call you back later? | Work in pairs with these serious situations.
['m sorry I can't hear
Correct communication is essential.

I

tt's a very bad line.

Can we meet somen'here to I One student is the telephone receptionist for talk it over? | emergencies. Take it in turns to be the caller. One of the situations I fnint of an emergency situation which you provided: I have been involved in yourself. Act out the situation with a telephone
receptionist.
Source: Keller and Warner, 1988:82-3

90

TOPIC

5

TEACHING GRAMMAR AS PROCESS

5.1.5 Context-gap:
V\rhen we are involved

Reasoning and World-Creating

in an argument or a debate, we rnay find ourselves using quite complex language, because we are concerned to get over and justif our point of view, as with:
'I believe that...', 'because...', 'but if we don't...','then...', 'lf what you say is true, then...',
A1so, when we are engaged

in a debate, we reason, explain, and justify our idea-s, and perhaps check and evaluate them in relation to the points raised by others. During this kind of reasoning, quite complex and elaborate grammar are used as we are called on to search for evidence and justifications. Duff (1986), suggests that learners as well as proficient users tend to eiaborate their grammar quite extensively when they are asked to debate and reason in this way.

Duff (1986), recorded some intermediate-level learners who were asked to
have a debate on the question of whether televi#on is a beneficial or a bad influence on children's morals. In the foilowing extract, can you see how this learner's use of grammar seems to support Duff 's hypothesis?

it's a-you see-you can let people know-more things about tlrc world. This is ztery usefttl uery helpful people. So they can just sit at horne emd know eaery tHing happened in their state in their country-eaen in the world- SPACE!What do you think?'
because Source:

'OK I thinkTV is beneficial

Duff ,7986:177

The key here is the ability to reason. V\4ren we ask our learners to explain and justify, \,ve are drawing them into an inner n'orld of their own making. They are not simply describing a picture or saying rvhat they did last weekend. Instead, they are creating a world which is independent of the world around them, corrjuring up ideas which have to do r.t'ith possible futures and unreal conditions.

Here we have a rvhole range of world-creating forms, including cot'tditiot'rais, clauses and conjuncts to signal cause, and so t.'n. \\'hen learners reach into their own mcntal worlcls, thev are automaticallr ','" r)rking in a rvorld 'w-here little knolvledge citn be assumerl to be shart..i. it.r ij.:'::tes and arguments learners are trat'Lrraliv inclinecl to 'diverge'-keepiir{ :t''il-'-' '';;r1r5i1i6n and distance betn'een each other. As long as tl-rey pcrsist in t-lir er:-r i ii-Lr'f€ n ill inevitably be a context-

TOPIT

5

TEACHING GRAMh'1AR,\S PROCESS

91

gap between them, with each learner having to make her orvn viewpoint clear and, perhaps, seeking to persuade others that her opinion is valid.

It would be very difficult to express such thoughts rt-ithout the aid of grammar.
if we can encourage learners to use reasoned argument or debate in the tasks we design, then we will be encouraging them to expioit grammar as a necessary
So,

device for their self-expression.

But there are many kinds of reasoning, and the kind of reasoning we do will inevitably affect the language we use to signai it..V, for instance, we are busily trying to work out where on earth we last saw the car keys, we may catch
ourselves using the language of deduction

'They can't be
because. . .'
.

in the sitting

room becnuse..., but

I

could haue left them at work

If we are discussing how to deal with poliution, we may well use clauses of
purpose:
'We should do tl'is so that/irt order t0...'.

' hfhen we call on our learners to reason in some way, it is worth considering just what kind of reasoning will be required because that will have an effect on the kind of language they use.

There are many kinds of classroom activities which can include a reasonilg component. How do the following activities encourage learners to use the language of reasoning, and what kind of reasoning is involved in each case?

Persuasion
1.

List down three things you dislike doing (camping, swimming,
snorkeling, jogging, cooking, eating out, and traveling).

2.
a

List down three objects you can never imagine yourself buying.

List down three features of a rnan/woman you dislike having your life partner.

as

4.

List down three things you dislike receiving as a present for your birthdav.

In groups, exchauge lists and select one item from the list you are given. Pair up with the person rvho wrote it. imagine the sitr-ration and try tcr persuade him/her to do thc'thing tirey hate doirrg.
(Repeat for thc otl-rer lists)

9Z

TOPIC

5

TEACHING GRAMMAR AS PROCESS

PROCESS TEACHING

IN REVIEW

Learners are faced with the difficult task of coping with a number of competing demands under great pressure of time when they try to express themselves spontaneously. They have to be precise, clear, accurate, good listener and speaker und .ff".tive turn-taker. In process teaching our job is to gradually regulate some of these factors so that the learner can have every chance to elaborate her grammar. But, in any one task all these factors co-exist, and there will be a time li*lt of some kind, a topic which is more or less familiar, a measure of shared knowledge, and a number of other factors besides. Ultimately, it is their combined

effect

influence the learner's performance. We therefore need evaluate task design from a number of perspectives'

*hi.h will

,to

.,

How would you evaluate the following activity? Think of your students' proficiency level and consider hou' you might modify it to reduce or
ir-,.reut" the pressure which learners have to endure.
Talk about one of these topics. Can you keep talking for one minute? Common

Topics

Friends Enemies Food Diet Iv{ovies Holidays Work Stress
Emotional relationshiP

I I I I I I I I I

Ut familiar/Iechnical Topics
Bone Cancer

War

Radiation Acid Rain
SARS

Aids
Space Travel

Cosmetic SurgerY

ioPlc

5

TEACHING

GR-'.".'-: - j

r?CCE55

93

You can use the checklist as shown in Table 5.1
Table 5.1: Checklist for Classr-,..,,-r-.
r.,-

Time pressure:

Horv much time to plan? I{ow much time available for ti-Le ,:ciir itr itself? Will the learncrs lrave more tir: - rirrt',uqh n.riting, entirely an oral one?

or: is

the task

Topic:

How familiar is the topic? Ijovv familiar (to the ieamt'ri

rr

iii

t}-,c

through the task? (fore'xam1-le, interaction?) Shared knowledge:

hr)1.\' r-tit-rch scope

tlevelol-,ment of tllr: topic be for lrnpredictable

How much built-in regulaiion oi sharecl klowledge? Will listeners have to listen for unshared information? Will speakers harre to speli or-rt certain meaning;s r,r,hich are not
self-evident?

Many teachcrs are experienced in makir-rg quick judgmcnts about r,r,l-rether a certain activity will or will not work r.vith their class. Thc suggestion i-rere is
tirat we make the reasons for such judgments explicit, and that we follor,t' them through so that once the task is ovet we can rnake a reasonable assessment about what worked, what didn't work, and n hy. This does not mean that teachers need to observe and to identify the gramrnatical aspects of their learners'performancc'.

It is much more a matter of making a rough assessment of the gerreral facto:s which lve can observe as learners work on the task: Were tirey cvitlentlr urrJe:' too much pressure? Did they complete the task before time? Did tht,i irar-e lerr' little to toyt Oia some learners loot uncomfortable, sl'ry, at lost, tired, i-',,r..1,.f.1
Each of the factors we have examined: the regulation of time, topic and contextgap falls into one of three distinct stages in the performance of a task (Skehan, 1994). The ideas examined fit into a framework which can help teachers to utilise and to evaluate process tasks in a more systematic and organised way. (see Figure 5.2)

94

TOPIC

5

TEACHING GRAMMAR AS PROCESS

il:,

z ,j;

Figure 5.2: Stages in the programance ot a task

Another form of Post-task work is reflection activity, where learners explicitly consider the qualitY of the language they used in the'(nain task, and reflect on
possible improvements.
Table 5.2: Process Tasks

While Task
Regulating topic

Post-task Stage

Regulating context-gaP Regulating time avaiiable

Presentation Reflection

5.3

TEACHING GRAMMAR AS SKILL

Through a combination of procluct and process teaching, teachers can give their lea.neis both a fgcus on specific grammatical forms and opportunities tcr utilise these forms in lansuage use. The two approacl-res have complementary functions.

ln product teaching, r,ve focus the learner's atteutioll ol1 forms. But, be alvare that rnuch of this k'owiedge can remain delicatc al-rri iransitt rlr L111icss the leaincr can in a meanirtg focused context in ir hicl i','e turn tO process teachirrg. put ii tcl 'se flolt,{l'er, i,lS \{'e harre juSt Seen, prOCeSS ;t.:Chli-r{ requires a deliCate tOttCh, arrd many of thr:se forms *oy rl"rr"r cln('rq-.i :i--;ii.rie1\'. So, \ve can easily fincl

TEACHING GRAMN4AR AS PROCESS

95

ourselves facing a kirr.l .ri critical gap between process teaching and product teachirrg. Manv feattlues tri thc srarnmar rn'ill be focused on and practiccd in product teaching, \'et rrer er e mereing adequately in process rt ork. We need an approach ir'hrch a1lows a focus on grammatical forms, hower.er, at the same time retair-Is a nleasure of self-expression and meaning-focus. If r.r,e can achieve such a balance, then we can guide thc learner to use grarnmar as a communicative derrice, encouraging a richer utilisation of grarnrn.'ir in nrr)r't regulated proccss tasks. Br-rt this focus on form lvili harrc to bc br-, r;rther' ,,.,.r for; tl're iearner. Also, thc attention to meaning.and seif-cxpressi,rir trt,i .-.,, to inrzolve the learner quite directiy. This appioach, tircn, rnealrs {.r1r.r-.:.-,leatner's own attentiorr to grammat and designing tasks r,r.hich h., -- ... r -r.:-i learners the skill of using and atterrding to grammar in languagL. Llsr Ii is itri. iiris reason that the approach is called 'teaching grammar as skill'.

\Are

Its objectives are complementary to those of product and proccss teaching. will look at three diffcrent ways of teaching grammar as skill. First, we

'

cor-isidcr hor,r' listening and reading activities can combine a focus on meaning with attention to grammar. Second, r,ve consider how learners can be guiciecl to make their own decisions about how to utilise grammar in tasks whcre they are prorrided only with n,ords. Finally, we consider how learners cun be guicled to reflect more explicitly orr the quality of their own grammar as well as to think "/ of ways in which it might be improved.

5.3.I

Noticing as Skill

We introduce a way of exploiting noticing, with learners who are requirecl tcr notice grammar in order to make sense of language in context, presented through listening and reading tasks. Listening and reading tasks furnish rich opportunities 'for learners to notice grammar in context, as part of the wider skill of making sense of written and spoken discourse.
Let us say, for examplc, that we want the class to think about tense and time, and the way irr which different tenses signal different time references. We could usc a dialogue such as the following:

TEACHING GRAMMAR AS PROCESS

Example 2

Arieza: F{ll Zahren. how's life?

Zahren: Terrible, since you ask. I didn't get that girl i dated via tyhe internet, the one I told you about and my cat ha started scratching the
carpet again.

Oh, and my sister Azizah arrived recently and decided to stay with me without even qsking if it was OK or not. I don't really like her very much, but al least we have the same taste in film shows, s6 we're both going out to a lot of movies. I don't adore her cooking, though ...

1. As you read the dialogue, decide whether each of the events in the iist: .,. (a) happened in the past (b) began in the past but is still going on (c) is planned for the future. ./
Put a tick in the right column.
Event Zahren applies for job Zahren gets result of his application Zahren's cat causes problems for Syima
Zalltren' s sister arrives

f

Happened Still going and finished on

Future

Zahren and sister go to movies

2.

How might you adapt the activity to make the target grammar more explicit, that is, to vary the type of consciousness raising?

In what setting might you follow this up with further work on the
tenses involved?
Source-' Adapted from Batstone, 7995

I

Lr

TOPIC

5

TEACHING GRAMI"lAR AS PROCESS

97

includes a lot of time references which are signaied almost entirely through the grammar: 'I didn't get that giri'(past),'... and mv cat has started scratching ...' (recent, including and up to the present), and so on. In fact, the text has b""t-t specifically designed to ensure that it is grammar, and not lexis, which does this signaiing. in other words, lexical clues such as 'I r,vent for that job interview yesterday' (where'yesterday'reinforces the past meaning) have been deliberately avoided. This makes it difficult for the learner to process the language top-down. lf we rvant learners to attend to the grammar, and to demonstrate that they have really noticed it, then we have to construct tasks which require them to notice and to process grammar in order to complete the task successfully. Predominantly, learners are given listening and reading tasks which encourage them to listen and read in a top-down way, formulating predictions about whit the text might be about, taking bearings from the lexis, and skimming over the grammar.

Of course, this text is a specially constructed one, but for a good reason. It

Read the passage below, which is the beginning of a novel, and answer the questions.
Syima was late. The Abu Sayyaf Army had planted a bomb at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, and Syima, who had gone the long n.av ro,.urd Fast th.e airport to avoid the usual congestion on the approach roads to ti-re Kerinchi Link, had been delayed for two hours by police and army checkpoirts. \\.hen she finally joined the motorway further down, she put thoughti of Redzuan out of her mind, and concentrated on her driving. She drove quickly for an hour, breaking the speed limit all the way, and not particulaily concerned about being spotted by one of the police helicopters.

left the motorway near Puchong, and cirove steadily down the main road towards Nilai. The plain was grey and misty. It had been a cool, wet September in Malaysia, and there had been reports of hearuy rain and thunclerstorm along the Seremban Highway, and flooding in parts of Serdang.
She

A few n-riies beyond Puchong, on the road to Desa serdang, syima stopped at a roadside Rest and Relax cafe for ice-cream, and as she sai at the glasi -toppecl table she had time at last for reflection. It had been the surpris" of seeir,g Redzuan that had probably upset her more than anythir-rg else; that, and the way it had happened, and the piace...
Source; Aclaptcd from A Drc.am of Wessex

98

TOPIC

5

TEACHING GRAMMAR AS PROCESS

1.

In what order do you think the five events below happened?

. n t . . 2.

Syima was stopped at army checkpoints. Syima stopped for ice-cream. Syima saw Redzuan. Syima joined the highway.
The Abu Sayyaf Army planted a bomb.

At which point in time does the writer choose to begin her story?

Basicaily; this is effective, because it is what competent language users do: they Frrocess top-down, only giving direct attention to the grammar when all else fails. Br-it thev can only do this because much of their systemic knowledge, including knon'ledge abotit the grammar, has been automated and proceduralised. They seldom notice the grammar because they can follow its sign posting more or less ar-rtorhaticall;,. 1-"ottrers, though, are in a different position altogether. They need to notice grammar, because if they do not, they will never learn it very effectively. The question is: how much do we make noticing grammar a necessary condition for completing the task? We can, as with the task a6out Zahren, make it very necessary indeed.

5,3.2

Ref

lection

I
I

|ohn Milton (English poet (1608 - 1674)) quoted:
"\\4rere there is much desire to learn, there of necessity will be much arguing, much r.r'riting, many opinions; for opinions in good men is but kirowledge in the making".

I
Source: Retrie',,ed February 26,2006 from l'rttp: ' '.r-rr-tr'.saidlt'hat.co.uk/quott's/ political / john-milton/ where-thprr'-- l: nr ttc h t-lesire -to-5082

In teachine grammar as skili, we aim to en.r'-.:;gc greater attcntion to grammar in meaning-focused work.'I'he difficultr'-.'...1- r-: rtr:> tasks, as we have seen, is that tire teachcr has a very indirect inflrtt:- --- . :.- - .,r;ality of learuers' language. It rn;ry bc that the lealners harte bccn n'..---. : -.rr-rSCior-rs of shortcontings in their language. We know that grarnrrla: -- -r - - -:i-, ii.i"lportant objective of the

rcPl[

5

TEACHING GRAMN4AR AS PROCESS

99

task, but what have our learners made of it all? To some learners, it is possible that all this confusion of process work means very little. At the end of it all, they

may shrug their shoulders tn puzzled amazement: 'Whr- clid the teacher makc us do that? \z\hy didn't she teach us anything today?' One soh-rtion is to encourage learners to reflect on the quality of the language they are using, evaluating its strengths and its weaknesses for themseives. Theie is every chancc that thcy will be motivated to do so, precisely because it is their latrguage, and as such it should be more important and significant than lar-rguage taken directly from the syliabus. Furthermore, through reflection activities we are implicitly providing a rationale for process teaching. Once a process task is over, teachers and learners consider precisely the language used, and the purpose in using it. In short, reflection activities can be regarded as a kind of post-task stage.
A reflection stage will assist to leacl learners to critically reflect on their gramrnar, comparing what they actually said with what they might have said. Theoretically this sounds fine, but there are practical constraints. For some learners, all this critical reflection may just add to the pressure. 'It's bad enough that we are asked to express ourselves in such a public way', they might be a reason, ,but then to have our language subjected to criticai.dcrutiny by all. . .' Oncc agaur, rr e encounter the difficulties posed by pressure: learners will only commit themseh ..> to a task if they feel motivated, but they are unlikely to throi.t' themselr es irlirr ai activity if they have real doubts or fears about their own role in it. Somehow, then, we need to lead learners gently into self and peer-er,aluation, perhaps through tasks which encourage them to look critically at ianguage rvithout feeling that their own efforts are being singled out for critiial attention.

100

TOPIC

5

TEACHING GRAMMAR AS PROCESS

How do the following activi.ties seek to achieve this aim of reflection? What other wavs can you think of to accomplish the same objective?

7. 2. b. 4.

Ask the students to work on their own and write down five
sentences they know are wrong but feel right to them'

Now ask them to rewrite five sentences they.know are correct
English but which all the samc feel wrong to them'

Ask the students to read out some of the sentences from botlr categories and explain why they feel the way they do' To help students deepen their awareness of feelings of grammatical rightness and wrongness in the target language,
harre two enrrelopes pinned up in your classroom, one marked:

Right thnt fc,el(s) Turong

and the other marked:
Wrong that feel(s) right

Invite students to put new sentences they find tlat fit either category into the approPriate enveloPe.
Every now ancl then ask the class to look at the sentences collected and discuss them.
Source: Rinuolucr i, 7984

\\ e mar- 1'ant to leacl learners into the art of reflection step by step, with a gradual shiit au.ay from the controllecl evaluation of someone else's language, through to the point rvhere they feel both happy and able to assess their own and each others, oral production. We also should encourage them simultaneously to both communicat! freely and attend carefully to the quality of their output.

rOPIC

5

TEACHING GRAMMAR A5 PROCESS

t

Imagine that you give your learners a role-play activity. Listed below are four options for language reflection which could be attached to the activity. How wouid you assess and grade each option in terms of the degree of guidance and control which it offers? What kind of listening is required with each option? Option
L

After you have finished your dialogue, try to remember some of
things you said.

the

How did you put some of the points you made? How well do you think you expressed them? Option
2

Record your dialogue. When you have finished, listen again to what was said and discuss the language you used.

Which points are you huppy with, and which do you think you could

improve?

Think particularly about the expressions you used to persuade the other
person to do something.

/

Option

3

Before you start your dialogue, work notes of what each 6f you might say.

with your partner and make brief

Check your plan with the teacher, then pass it over to another pair of sfudents, who will listen carefuily as you act out the scene.

Afterwards, discuss and compare what you planned with what you
actually said.

Option 4
Work in groups of four. As one pair acts out the role-play the other pair listens out for how verbs
are used.

l

When both pairs have finished, discuss together what you did well and what you would like to improve.
Report your summarv to tl-re rest of the class and the teacher.
Source; Batstone, 1995

102

TOPIC

5

TEACHING GRAMMAR AS PROCESS

Motivating and educatilg learners to operate in this way can have a very positive impact on the learning process. The learner is able to tune in to her own language, a skili rvhich shc may then carry lvith her outside the classroom. At the same time, a single reflection task might require attention to a wide range of language forms, each one occurring in the iearner's own discourse. Learners do not iearn grammar on a conveyor belt systern, systematically noticing and instantly strucfuring each grammatical form as it swings briefly into view. They need to keep re-noticing. l-eaching grammar as skill, \^re can offer them rich and recurring opportunities to re-notice and restructurc their hypothcses about latltr-tage.

a 4

a

q

;r 4

+ ?t q

?4 a

q +

& 4

/... 4

t

lt

4

4

4

& 6 4

& & 4

4 4

4

4

6

4

?t e

,

The definition of grammar depends on how you choose to look at it. We can regard it as a formal mechanism, as a functional system for signaling meanir-rgs, or as a dynamic resource which both users and learners call on in different \ /ays at different times. Yct, whatever our perspective is, clcarh', that grammar does not exist itt a vacttum. In language description, u,c have seen that the more precisely we wish to formulate statements about form and meaning, tl're more we are cornpellcd to acknowledge the irrterdependency between gralnmat lexis, and context.

Similarly, in language learning there is nopbvious boundary between grammar and lexis: learners may represent much of their linguistic knowledge in lexjcal terms as formulaic chunks or as partially fixed routines so that n,hat may look like grammar to thc outside observer may be thought of as l;rrgely lexical by the learncr. In language Llse it is clear that grammar is closely tied to discoursr:, acting as a resource to be activated to different degrees and in different walrs depending on the context.

'

ln short, grammar is a dependent, ratirer than an independent, phenomenon. An understanding of these issues is important for language teaching, where no single or narrow conception of grammar will do. Learners themselves have a multiplicity of needs: they rcquirt' srrnle scnse of the regularity in the language system, thcy necd somc urrde r statrtlir-rg of the relationship between forms and functions, and they necrl an .-rbiiitr. to act on this knowledge in language nse. But, learning to dcal rr iiir tiresc needs takes time, because langr-rage learning is a gradu;rl pr'..,c.'-- Fiit'ctive grammar teaching means .1 havinc th resources at our having thc bcing a-ware of these differcr-rt rrcr-. -i'his .r r.uictv of teaching strategies i r .lrictv teachinc rr i , :. clisposal for meeting them. ,.:rti'o1 of granrnrar (as plttduct) ancl approaches, ranging from tir.' ,.' -r ia>ks. Ultimatcly, tire tcaci'ring through to the n-{ore subtlc Shal-'i1-,.
r-.lf

gra rnin

ar is rnul tidinr ensi

ctn,r i

TOPIC

5

TEACHING GRAMN,'IAR AS PROCESS

4&44&6&@qq@4&49&

Consclousness-raising Context-gap

Interlanguage
Perplexity,

Information-gap

&v

&&

*&

@4 *&

*9

ee

&z

e4

* & * & a * e & & * &*

4 e 4 g * * &&

& *

E

1.

\Mhy is context important in process teaching?

1.

What to key factors influence language learning?

In process teaching, how do we know when the forms we teach has taken
hold?
A T.

Regardless of the teaching perspective we take one aspect of grammar is taken for granted and this fact is what differentiates the teaching of grammar and research linguistics?
V\4rat is the ultimate goai of process

5.

teachiy?

1

l.

\Alhat is a meaning focused context?

.1-.

How do we teach grammar using a meaning focused context?
Process teaching is also often known by another name. \A4rat is that name?

.J.
'1

-)

f.

Is it possible to say that the focus of process teaching is a form of selfreflexivity in the student?
Is being perplexed a good place to start?

Tepie ts Story-Based
Approach to Teachi*g Grammar

In this topic, we will look at a story-based approach to the teaching of grammar which emphasises that "communication" is at the essence of second-language
learning.

Communication has been defined as the personal expression, interpretation, and negotiation of meaning where information, feelings, and ideas are exchanged in talk, gesture, and writir-rg (Lee & Van Patten, 1995).
Communication also involves the developn-rent of intimate relationships betr't'een indivj.cluals as they utilise language tt-r tiei elop social bonds, demonstrate empathy, short, concern and assist each t-'tl-r-'r. This type of communication is referrecl to as phatic cornmunication ar.il :.-... is tliffercnt from communication that is;rimed at excl-ranging informaticrt't ::-. '".:::l trausactions.

ToP|C6SToR'V-tsASEDAPPRoACHToTEACH|NGGRAMMAR<

LANGUAGE AND COMMUN ICATION
by Johnny Hart
#."s:et< ge,$t*+

wfr r€EW

'*lr\f :

%tw:

W*wr*xr $*€fre 'f+{f '5r#{*t{*z s# rt1
g*

GFt"€ fSqFe#G ?

g' i r,K.g.' *,&tJ, * s+cil

&##*'Fl#fw*-

furtl grz&'sl rr* r:*e

T*

fur1gte&M4

Srea$xe SFr*c*i€. tr4.

Source: http: / / www.comics.com

'

Communication inrrolves "communication with the seIf," to plan, organise, and evaluate one's thinking and doing (Brooks & Donato, 1994; Brooks, Donato, & McGlone, 7997). This definition is refined by organising language-using activities into three modes such as:

(a) (b) (c)

Interpersonalmode; Interpretive mode; and Presentationalmode.

Each mode specifies fow language is used in the process of communicatiorr. The traditional classroom with its emphasis on grammatical competence and explicit knowledge of language rules did not provide occasions for learners to "communicate". Consequently, many learners who spent years learning the formal properties of the language (sound system, verb conjugations, rulei of syntax, vocabulary lists, etc.) could not, in the end, exchange-information, express ideas or feelings, construct and control problem-solving, or develop a social relationship in a second-ianguage (Adair-Hauck & Cumojohanssen, tggZ; Hall, 1995,1999).
There is, therefore, a need to prorride learners with opportunities to reflect on the language system they are learning to use. Teachers who are committed to provicie communicative and interactive language learning experiences for their learners often fincl it a challenge to integrate what is called "grammar instruction" or "focus on forrn" into their classrooms. As mentionecl by Lon g (199r),,,focus on forill" cap. be beneficial to learners and is critical to making progress as language users. Liskin-Casparro (1999), illustrated what teachers attempt to c1o when

106

TOPIC

6

STORY-BASED APPROACH TO TEACHING GRAMMAR

they focus students' attention on form for purposes of accurate communication: teachers are "supplyirg information about how the language works when one or more students experience what r,ve might call communicative urgency, a need to say something and, thus, a desire for grammatical information".

Like road signs, grammatical structures are meaningful only if they are placed in a context, in people and in connected discourse. As pointed out by Krashen (1982), gramrnatical structures wiil become internalised only if the learners are placed in a situation in which they need to use the structures for communicative purposes. The teacher's role is to create learning situations in which the learners feel a need to call upon and make use of the grammar in order to comprehend
and communicate in the target language.

6,,2

i THE TEACHING OF GRAMMAR

The rationale for teaching grammar is multi-faceted. TWo reasons exemplify this rationale.

(a)

.The first reason is theoretically motivated. The Variable Competence Model @ialystok, 1.982; Ellis, 79BB; Tarone, 7983), shows that depending on the social and communicative context, a learner draws on two of their language

knowiedge, which

are:

(i) (ii)

,/

Automatic (non-analysed) knowledge; and Controlled (analysed) knowledge.

Ellis (1988), pointed out that analysed knowledge regarding grammar can develop into automatic or non-analysed knowledge if the learner is placed into interactional situaticins that call for a two-way negotiation of meaning
bgtween learners.

(b)

The second reason for the teaching of grammar relates to the dynamics of classroom practice and, particulariy, to the background knowledge of the learners. Learners in middle school and high school are already literate and therefore, have established expectations concerning language instruction (Celce-Murcra, 1997) and languase use.

Grammar instruction can also be beneficial because it raises learners' consciousness concerning the differences and similarities of Ll and Lz (Rutherford, 1988). In this respect, granrnlar instruction can be used as a "linguistic map," with reference poiuts or "rules oi thumb" to assist learners as
they explore the "topography" of the nen-

langi"taqe-

,

ToP|C6SToRY-BASEDAPPRoACHToTEAii:1.:GRAMMAR<

Devise two situations that will enable your sturlents to utilise one reievant grammatical structure for communicative purpose.

THE EXPLICIT'IMPLICIT CONTROVERSY
Baby Blues by Jerry Scott & Rick Kirkman
E;*ffie.{dr$&fi9€.

Source: http : / /www.babyblue/rom / index.php

The teaching profession has been struggling with contrasting vie\t's cotlcernins the teaching of grammar within a communicative framework. These vien-s concern the explicit method of grammar instruction on one hand, and the implicit grammar explanation on the other as shown in Table 6.1.
Thble 6.1: The Explicit and Implicit Methods of Crammar Instruction

EXPLICIT

IMPLTCIT
The implicit grammar explanation rejects the need for any explicit focus on form (Krashen, 1985; Terreli, 7977; and Dulay and Burt,
7973\.

Definition

The explicit method of grammar instruction involrres direct teacher explanations of rules followed by rclal"ed manipulative exerciscs that illustrate these rules

Illustration

Most of us have probably experienced this method of grammar instruction, since most textbooks present grammar in this fashion. Unfortr-rnateiy, maly of textbooks' manipulative drills are grounded in unir-itelliserrt and artificial contexts that harre little

It is argued that learners can acquire language naturally if they are provided with sufficient comprehensible input from the teacher. Also, if learners are exposed to a sr-ifficient amourt of language that irrterests thern aud is generally unclerstandablc to thr:m, thcv lt'ill

108

TOPIC

6

TEACHING GRAMMAR STORY-BASED APPROACH TO

conlection to the learners' real life (Wai2,1989)

eveniually be able to hYPothesise and determine how the structures of the laneuagcs work'

Theoretically, learners shouid be able to do the hYPothesising and language anaiYsis on their own'

Th"rl

observation and studies have show: tlot::1:,1:,it"ers do not be meaningful io sone ieo"t"tsl not attencl::::::i:t:l;: I = ] s'o1y"ti'1t facuttyi Implicit' ilcluctive lessons and imaginations, their *h.t communi"cate ] tf-t"y may not Ottto:":,*-^or their desire to concepts (Herron and | ""a"'rvi"g r-- o 1qq4\ i Tomasello,l992)' (Brooks & Donato,1994)

Ho*"t'"t'

in"i' ;''',;il;;;;?J.'-.*s, their

"g"ti 151:

l:il;T^::H;;;;;;;;s
^^-^+^

It is common for techers to obsen,e that these mechanical' repetitive drills often result h tinmotivated and inactive responses in learners, although **n context is given in the directions or much personalisation
is provided.

Another Potential Problem with explicit giummar instruction is thit the teacher has a direct instructional and authoritative role while the learners PlaY a more Passive role' Learner interaction tak6s Places, if it occurs at all, onlY after the
teacher's grammatical explanations and after several practice exercises that consist of dit.ont ected sentences unrelated to an overall theme'

Asagrammarteacher,wlrichoftl.renpplt.rclChesdoyoupreferto.teach tiiiil 1-6^crete and logical eviclence vour students? support your reasol-\s t#'^;;;.iri.^[y ,"iatecl to vour str,r.-1t:-i:
1

ToP|C6STCR'"l.Bi.SEDAPPRoACHToTEAcHlNGGRAMMAR<

REFORMULATING GRAMMAR INSTRUCTION
Although explicit and implicit instructions are clearly opposite approaches to
teaching and learning, thev both share some notable deficiencies; both approaches do not acknowledge the critical role of the teacher in negotiating and constructing explanations on hor.t, the new language works, nor do they acknowledge what the learners bring to the instructional setting

Both approaches also do not recognise how learning takes place among people in the real world; outside the classroom. This involves mutually responsive interactions that are fundamental to learning as it occurs naturally between humans in everyday life (Brown, Collins, & Duguid, 1989; Forman, Minnick & Stone, 7993; Lave & Wenger, 7991, Rogoff, 799q.

'

Therefore, w€ believe it is time to begin a serious reappraisal regarding the teaching of grammar and a new vision that goes beyond dichotomies in approaches. In this topic, we are advocating a story-based and guided participatory approach (Adair-Hauck,7993; Rogoff, 1990) that may present as an alternative approach to grammar instruction.

STORY-BASED AND GUIDED PARTICIPATION: AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH TO GRAMMAR INSTRUCTION
Table 6.2 shows the difference among the three approaches below.
Thble 6.2: imlicit Explanation, Guided Participation and Explicit Explanation

IMPLICIT GUIDED EXPLANATIONS PARTICIPATION
Learners analyse the gramn"lar explanatior-r for themselrres
Teachers and learners

EXPLICIT EXPLANATIONS
Teacher provides

collaborate on and co-construct tire grammar explanation.

explanation for learners
Source. Aclair-Har-ick, 1993

110

6.5.1
B.C. by

Story-Based Language Teaching Principles

johnny Hart S*. ffi#{"#\.4es;
F" W'l-?,-Lb1'#Si€ d^r.niR fil, L""t-t"-dJA&b'E,

Effi'{*FSTKIVVE.

fr€.6 frLC]f'T€p,Cr{

*li,LffiK, $gg

FtriKG?I{E ##.&WJ&Y\T**WK,

$ffi

#ENPZEK BR*F vHY"?.&}?$t).

str? *F"tr&€

,.

€4:t*

{

-{jF t,r'lf

:1

? 7;fr&

I,t,t:t?,:./n:;.

s.ftd.iitl{a, tr|ti

Source: http: / / www.comics.com

Ston'-Based Language Teaching is to some degree rooted in the research of tlreorists stich as Vygotsky (1978) and Leontiev (1981). Examples of supporting reseaich, please refei to Lave (7977); Cole (1985); Rogoff Qgga); Wertscir (1gg1l; Tharp and Gallimore (7988,1991,); Kowal and Swain (799a). in the following sections, we will discuss on some basic principles of;he story-based approach to grammar instruction, and then we will discuss on how to use guided and joint problem solving to en-hance grammar explanations.

Goodman (1986) stated that "language is language only when it is whole" and the whole is always viewed as being greater than the sum of its parts, and it is the whole that gives meaning to the parts. In terms of grammar instruction: words, phrases, or sentences acquire meaning when they are placed in context and when used in conjunction with the whole. According to Goodman, once learners experience the whole, they are then better prepared to deal with the analyses of the parts (Fountas & Hannigan, 1989). This indicates the importance of '..vhole texts rather than fragmented speech in second or foreign-language classrooms. T'his view is further supported by'many second-language specialists (Celce-N4urcta, \997; Hughes & McCarthy, 7998; Kramsch, 1993; Nunan, 1997) who emphasiscd the importance of content-based instruction, authentic texts for listening and reading comprehension, and the need for connected discourse in grammar instruction.
Conceptually, we need to reappraise oLrr (rricntatiorr to grammar instructior,. Tcaching approarches have all too ofterr ftrcu:til .-,rr fragmented discourse and artificial meihanical exercises. VIan',' larrg,-i:a- r-';.rirdmmes stress a bottcm-up cr transmissicn approach by emphasisir-..- :.'. :rt> ar-rd pieces" of laner-rage (i,r'ord iists, rri:rlr crlnjugaticlr-rs, or isrrlalt'i ..:-.-:-.-:-.a r'lernents). A trarrsmission,

TOPIC

6

5T:

i- : 'i::\
-:-J

APPROACH TO TEACHING GRAMMAR

usually results in what Goodman calls "non-langLlage," rvhicl-r can be characterised as being unnatural, cognitively undemanding, and dulj (cummins, 79s4). Moreover, words, phrases, or sentences do not take on iueanilrg when viewed in isolation from each other. On
aprpr1s26h,

or language differeutiafir-'rr

the contrary, these lingr-iistic elements gain meaning only when used in connected discourse forming a cohererrt n'hole.

If words take on their meaninss when used in connection to each other, learners will need to experier-rce "n'hole" contextualised language (stories, legends, poems, listening selectior-rs, cartoons, soltgs, recipes, etc.) with an emphasis on meaning-making and sense-making before a focus on form can be a productive instructional activity (Long, f991).In this way, a story-based language approach stresses natural discourse and encourages learners to comprehend meaningful and longer samples of discourse from the very beginning of the lesson. Once learners experience the whole, they are better able to deal with the parts (AdairHauck & Donato, 7994; Adair-Hauck & Cumo Johanssen, 1997; Fountas & Hannigan,7989; Freeman & Freeman,7992; Hughes & McCarthy, 1998).

r

I

, By introducing the lesson with a whole text, the teacher foreshadows the grammar ' explanation through the use of integrated discourse that will highlight the critical
grammar structures to be taught. Galloway and Labarca (1990) explained that foreshadowing of new language elements is beneficial, as it provides "learners with a 'feeI'for what is to come and can help l6arners cast forward a familiaritv net by which aspects of language prompt initial recognitions and later, graclualli'. are pulled into the learner's productive repertoire" (7990: p. 136). In tiris n'ar-, the story or text highlights the functional significance of the grammatical structr-rre before the learners'attention is focused on form.
This approach agrees v('ith Ausubel, Novak, and Hanesian's (1968) idea of using advance organisers to assist learners by providing an "anchoring framework" for the new concepts to be learned. Unlike many classroom textbooks which may offer a group of disconnected sentences or a "contextualised" drill (WaIz,7989), a story-based and guided participatory approach invites the learner to comprehend and experience the functions and purposes of language through integrated discourse in the form of a story.

What do you understand by the phrase, "learners will need to experiencc whole contextualise langu age?" Elaborate with relevant
exarnples.

112

TOPIC

6

STORY-BASED APPROACH TO TEACHING GRAMMAR

Anatole France (French novelist (7844 * 1924)) quoted:

"It is better to understand little than to misunderstarrd

a

lot".

Source: Retrieved Februarv 27,2006 from htfi:://en.thinkexist.com/quotation/it-isb e t ter-to-u nders tand li t tle-than- to / 2226 44.html

The story-based language approach is in agreement with Krashen's Input Hypothesis, rt'hich stresses the importance of .cornprehensible input that "contains strucfures a little beyond our current level of competence" (KrAshen, 7982: p. 21).As a result, from the very beginning of the lesson, the teacher and learners are engaged in authentic use of language through joint
problem-solving activities and interactions to make the story comprehensible. By using pictures, mime, and gestures, the teacher scaffolds and guides the learners to comprehend the story. Once comprehension is achieved, the teacher can then steer t1-re learners' attention to various linguistic elements.

Storytelling is significant in second-language instruction, since it is natural to tell Stories orally: stressing listening comprehension, followed by role-plays and then reading and r.t'riting activities. Oller (1983), reminded us that the episodic organisation represented in stories aids comprehension and retention. Furthermore, by recycling the story line throut'h picture displays, Total Physical Response (TPR) activities, or roie-playing scenarios assist to strengthen comprehension. The framework of the story provides a continuous flow of mental images that help the learners to assign meaning and functions to the
forms they hear.

After the initial activities add interactions that help the learners to understand the meaning of the discourse, the teacher turns the leamers' attention to specific ianguage forms or strucfure. This approach is in agreement with Celce-Murcia's (1985) suggestion concerning grammar instruction for ESL leamers, when she
stated that "one of the best times for them [the leamers] to attend to form is after comprehension has been achieved and in conjunction with their production of meaningfu I discourse" (p. 301 ).

Do you think the "story-tcllin.g allF'rioach is appropriate for yotir students? Cive two reasons to Stlf'rptrri \-ollr answer.
otit on \rour stuclents.

TOPIC

6

STOR\'.BASED APPROACH TO

TE,I.'-

i]:

GRAMMAR

INTEGRATING FORM IN A STORY-BASED LANGUAGE APPROACH A MODEL

-

topic of intense research and has been shown Focus on form has recently become the teaching (Ellis, 7998; Fotos' 7994; to be an important design feature of l*guog. Cadierrio, lq93)' Kowal & Swiin, 7994;Long, 1991; Van Patten &

Haltlbook emphasises the The theories of learning espoused in the Teacher's learner so develoY,*""' importance of creating a zone of proximal -Y]tl^tl" with, *i11 emerge as independent' that what the learner currently ,-t""d, help teaching can also be viewed in automatic performance at a laier time. Grammar between expert and novice than any this way and is no less an interactive process otheraspectofdevelopingcommunicativeabilityinlearners.Learnersneedtobe meanings'

g"i[a

oi'vn io reflect on th^e language they use to create their

'

Languageteachingshouldnotbedrivenbygrammarinstructionalone, to mean instruction nor should gramiar instruction be literally inteipreted rules for on morphology (e.g., adjective or subject-verb agreement' the

ltfi"n the-teacher focuses on form, attention is drawn to pluralisation, "i..). ?or-ul properties of the lan$uage, which includes:

(a) Its sound sYstem; (b) Word formation;
(c)

Syntax; Discourse markers, and Devices for relati4g one sentence to another'

(d)
(e)

increasing comprehension .Classes that focus on language form for the purpose of language guit: than classes in and meaning have been iho*r-, to result in freater forms are leamed as meaningless which no focus on form is available or in wilich the issue is not whether a teacher structures (Lightbown & spad a,7990).Therefore, when, and where to focus on form should focus on form; instead, the issue is how, in a lesson feafuring foreign language instruction'

A model

is utilised for contextualising interactions with learners ior the four stcps developed about the forms of language. PACE is an acrotlym language lesson to integrate fonnal instruction in the context of a story-based
called, PACE

(Donato & Adair-Hauck, 1994)'
P - Fresentation of

Meaningful Language in a thematic rvaY. it can bc fhis step represents the "rt'hole" langriage pres:1]-t:d lessou, a recordcd autl-rentic an intcresting story (folklorc and legends)' a l'I'R

114

ToP|C6STORY.BASEDAPPROACHToTEACHINGGRAMMAR

of a real-life' listening segment, an authentic document, or a demonstration a sandwich, or doing a science authentic task, such as playing a sport, making (narratives' dialogues' experiment. Erren inateriais fiom ihe textbook chapter interesting and episodically stories) may be used if they are found to be and events are well suited for organised. Stones that include stageable actions can be made transparent and the presentation since the meaning"s of these texts storytelling' .ompr"hensible through dramatisation, actions, or TPR
disconnected sentences illustrating The Irresentatron does not consist of isolated, contextualised' story-based the target form in question; instead, it is thematic, provide opportunities for the language intended to capture learner interest and of meaning' Care should teacher to create .o*pr.h"nsion through negotiati'on adequatelY presents the structuie also be taken to ensuie that the presen"tation the learners' developmental in question and that the structure is appropriate to during the presentation to be level. The structure should appear ofi"" &ottgh language sound unnatural or stilted' saiient to the learners without making the can guarantee naturalness ,\uthentic stones, documents, or listening ,ag*"tttt occurring ipetltiot-ts, for example' the story of

a.r-l oiten c.rntain naturally

Golclilocks antl the three bears'

Whatdoyotrunderstanabtg:'-*terms'themnfic,transparent''ye&'o't.!Iiott

yi;":li;rf ::,r';:r,:ffi
i

l.#*liwavdoesthestory'"Gold'ocks

learners in the The presentation could be, made interactive by scaffolding of the language new element activity. Teachers can guide iearners through the which may take various forms: to be learTted during tte presentation of the text "of t"y phrases cued by the teacher during a storytelling learner repetition,

in a fitn activity, cloze exercises based on session, iearner-teacher role reversal that anticipate the content of listening segments, K-W-L activities, or discussions learners to stretch their language abilities by a reading. The gouih.r" is to enable language in meaningful texts through comprehending new elements of the target step nray last for part of a class, an the help and mediation of the teacher. this d"punding on the story selected entire class session, or even several class sessio'-ti, a storytelling lesson may and the sequencing of its presentation. For erample, knowledge' content' cultural contain pre-storytelling activities focusing Lrll FrIioI '1ur-rgt-rJg", dramatisatiorr, ;'r3i1'-1r-prk comprehension checks' or references, and re'luired depends on ,the nature of story-retellinp; exer."o.rl The length of tin.'.c charging the language a*d trre amount of neiotiatit-i'. ,r.rrr.thr: storv 'with ineanins.

'eLlllired

ToP|C6SToRY-BASEDAPPRoACHToTEA[l]1|.lGGRAMMAR<

NOTE: K-W-L activities are a way to organise classroom tasks around learners' background knowledge and their goals for leaming. From the learners' perspective , ",K" stands for "what I know altead\'"; "\\-" stands for "what I want to know"; and "L" stands for "what I have learned." For instance, if the topic is Aids, the "K" activities might include making a list on the board of everything learners know about Aids; the "W" activities might include the creation of a list of questions students have about Aids, e.g., "How long do Aids patient live?"; and the "L" actir.ities might include a videotaped presentation of a skit students wrote about the life of an Aids patient and its effects on famiiv members and friends. A - Attention
Raising Duncan by Chris Browne
9* t'*tj {{€ft ftt|* 5T tt*gg 7*
€e#EEt4TgA{€7

{*cFyP Yeg #*f;eaT tr*r Q$697rc#?

f"dp'Jr.-i'ght

g mAZ U*rte$ Feat-tse *4r&Le*t*, lreSource; www.comics.com

This step focuses the learners' attention on aspects of language use during the presentation activity. In this step, the teacher highlights some typical (common everyday) lapguage: ask questions about patterns found in a written text or about words and phrases repeated in a story. Overhead transparencies .of sample sentences from the presentation story can be prepared, with essential words and phrases highlighted. Most importantly, is to get learners to focus attention on the target form or grammatical element chosen for discussion.
Research has shown that learners do not always process or attend to input in ways that we expect (Herron & Tomasello,7992).

Adair Hauck (7993), for example, found that when learners were presented with contexhlalised sentences and were asked by the teacher what they noticed about these sentences, the learners were unable to answer. Instead, they responded with puzzled looks. However, when the teacher provided responsive and graduated assistance and included the words hnri ini (today) and sentalnrn (yesterday), which are semantic, not slmtactic clues, the learners were able to express the differences in the meanings of the sentences. After paying attention io the sennntic c/ues (focus or1 meaning), tire learners were able to atter-rd to the sqntnctic cltLes (focus cln form). This classroom-based observation highlights the important roic of the teacher in guiding arrd assistine the learners to attend to the lcsson objcctivc.

116

Does that ring a bell? Can you elaborate on this aspect of using translsted phrises to assist students in comprehending grammar structures? Use examples from your own class'
C - Co-construct ExPlanation

Learners and teacher can become co-constructors of grammatical explanations' Initially, iearners focus attention on the target form and the teacher will then assist them in raising awareness about the target structure by contrasting the structure rvith what th+ know about their first language. During this step, learners are guided to hypothesise about the target forl-r by utilising higher-order thinking ip1tt, that requires learners to perform the following:
(a)

Observation,

(b) , Evaluation,
(c)

'Analysis, and
Synthesis.

(d)

B.C. by JohnnY Hart

W* &T

ffiTWryEJiE?

TVLL & .JF. q

*€{*t#"r-t']l*'a*"

"a*f ffirri3l&?lffi."

e€ffffi,P@

".. ee4

ffiWt*4T" w' t&w&*Ttlw- rffi,p*tlT {p,e* WLL*A L}E ?

. jt4.

+.r'P.

t. * e'1 q

&w
e''a*}4 &

w

@;y''qhz

* W& {t

$r€*At#le'

e

w
Source; htt;r:/ / n'lv tr-.comics'com

well chosen, Co-constructing an explanation requires teacher questions that are of teachers who can clear, and direct. Questions are effective tools ir-r the hands of their acclimatise their questioning to meet the t'ler elopring understandings
learners.

ToP|C6SToRY-BA5EDAPPRoACHIoTEACH|NGGRAMMAR<

For example, questioning (cognitive probes) is one way to heip learners draw insights from the language they hear and understand. (see Figure 6.1)
a

\Alhat words do you hear or see are repeated in the text, and what could they mean?

a

\Alhat pattern
words?
a

do you see in this group

of

How do certain words change as their meanings
change?

Figure 6.1: Examples of cognitive probes

These cognitive "probes" help learners discover regular grammatical patterns, sound systems, word order, unique cuitural meanings of words, or language functions. Additionally, questions cannot be predicted in advance and need to be responsive to learner contributions. Learners should also be encouraged to ask the teacher and each other questions if the explanaiion is to be truly co-constructed and negotiated. As learners hypothesize and generalise about the target form, teachers can build upon and extend the learrr6rs' knowledge. Teachers need to be aware that the help they provide is graduated and may range from briei hints about the target form to explicit instruction if needed.

Co-constructed explanations also recognise that learners may not be able to perceive the formal properties of language on the basis of the teacher's questions alone. A co-constructed explanation is as participatory for the teacher as, it is for the learners; that is, teachers need to assess their learners' abilities and assist them by providing, as well as eliciting information when necessary. By listening closely to learner contributions during this step, teachers can assess how much help is needed to attain the concept. In time, some learners may be able to work in small groups on their own grammar problems and report back to the class about their
discoveries.
E - Extension

Acitivity

teacher never loses sight of the "whole." Therefore, the extension activity provides learners with the opportunity to use their new skill in creative and interesting ways while at the same time integrating it into existing knowledge. The extension activity shouid be interesting, be related to the theme of the lessorr and, most importantly, ailow for creative self-expression. Extension activities are not worksheets on lvhich learners use the target form to fill in blanks of

Focus on form is only useful if this knowledge can be utilised and applied by the learners in a new context in future. In story-based language teaching, the

118

ToPIC6SToRY-BASEDAPPROACHToTEACHINGGRAMMAR

information-gaP activities' role-piay disconnected sentences; instead, they can be writing l1o1e5ts, paired interviews' situations, dramatisations, games, authentic simulations of real-iife situations' class surveys, out-of-class pioiects, or
iearners have the chance to try to use The possibilities are endless, as long as the meaningful, and connected to the target form * *uy, that they"r". u, useful, phase of the lessons allows the the theme of the lesson. Moreover, the extension standards such as cultures' communities teacher to adcLress clther goal areas of the address culturai perspectives ancl connections. The extension activity cotlld \g95), bring lear.ers into contact with embodied in the story (west & Donato, for further investigations of the target-language *"r11b"r, of the community them-e to an academic subiect area' story,s country oi orlgi", or link the story's the PACE lesson and puts the "rvhole" The extension activity"closes the circle of The elements of story-based language back i^to story_based language teaching. learning can be found in Figure 6'2'
1. Presentation Teacher foreshadows the grammar exPlanation through thc usc of \ integrated discourse (stories' poems, '..r'--- lislening selection' u rv\ "'vl taped

/

,/

,/

./

\

\

\

4. Extension

Through extension activities (i.e. integrative and related to the story theme), the learners need. to use the grammatical structure(s) in orcler to carry out a particular lunction or task

Z. Atl.ention T5acher trses "MultiPle Passes"

/.

and recYcles the storY line through pictures, TPII activities, and role playing, which deePens comprehension and increases learner ParticiPation. Again, emphasis is on meaning'
3. Co-construction

C)nce comprehension is achieved and

meaning understood, the teacher turns the learners' attention to focus on form. Both teacher aud learner co-construct the grammar exPla nation

participatory Figure 6.2: PACE: A story-basetl an..1 s''rided approach to larrgr-rr :e itrstrltt-tion Aiair-Haitck & Cumo: johanssen' Sources: Donato & Adair-Ha.,ck, 199a;

1997

'

p'

43'

from the 'll-lus far, it has beeu shorvn tirat ianguage l':':-r'":-'g ls a thinking Pl'oCeSS 1-br' ,. -r.^^^lfgfS ii-lUS IaI/ lL lrd) L/cLlt 'rarv"-"^ ^-- ffggd ftO ^,-,-l n ,- -.. ^:, i,.,- .., .--.. -': .-,,. Challengng allc Lllli',.t'.'-'L-.. \Ll\.).llr|;. b(rrl viewpcint, a challenging anC i'rir-"'u::'-:'-" ittesstng i.1llL. i"*.1.^-..*uoqi.zo lear'ncrs, leotr-,crsi il-'':, '' i ' .,--t:l:]:'].:"-]:^?]"Xi,:.t1}-|,:'nfifi: clcsign cogrifii,'clv .i"*ur",diniactii'itie:

TOPIC 6

STORY-BASED APPROACH TO TEACHING GRAMMAR

Eventually, the leamers will become active participants in the leaming process. The story-based and guided participatory aetivities described in this topic encourage learners to be active thjnkers and hypothesizers as they coilaborate in languagelearning activities with the teacher or with their peers.
Table 6.3: Teaching of Grammar: Story-Based/Guided Participation vs. Traditional Approach

Story-BasediGuided Participation

Tiaditional Approach

1.

Use of higher skills and language before moving to procedural skills.

1.

Sequencing of tasks from simple to complex. interaction;
teacher-d irected explanation

2.

Instructional interaction between teacher ("expert") and learners ("novices")

2. Little teacher/learner 3. 4.

3. Richly implicit explanation
perticipation)

(guided

Explicit explanation of grammar
Learner must master each step before going to next step (competence before performance).

4. Encourages performance 5.

before competence approximation encouraged Learners participate in problem-solving process and higher-order thinking skills (opportunity fir learners' action to be made meaningful).

5. Learners are passive and
participate
e(planation.

in

rarely constructing the

6.

Language and questions must be tuned to a level at which performance requires
assistance.

6.

Few questions-mainly rhetorical.

7. Lesson operationalise functional significance of grammatical structure
before mechanical procedures
place. take

7. The functional significance of

a

grammatical point often does not emerge until end of lesson.

Table 6.3 summarises the differences between a story-based language approach and the traditional approach to teaching grammar. Basically, in the story-based approach learners are actively discovering and hypothesizing about the target language by listening to storytelling activities, co-constructing a grammar explanation, or collaborating with peers during an extension activity. This approach is in accordance with the framework for the communication standard that advises learners be engaged in cognitively challenging activities that erlcourage them to use communication strategies, such as guessing intelligently, deriving meaning from context, asking for and providing clarification, making and checking hypotheses, and making inferences, predictions, and generalisations. Moreover, all the classroom activities described encourage
$
I

s

r
7

5

I

1ZO

functional and interactional use of language by giving the learners opportunities to share information, ask questi.ons, and solve problems collaboratively.

Finally, a distinguishing theme of a story-based and guided participatory approach to grammar instructiou is that learning needs to be integrated,

contextualised, and meaning-centred (Pearson,1989). As noted earlier, integrated and meaning-centred activities facilitate comprehension and retention on the learners' part. Furthermore, the extension activities encourage learners to integrate meaning, form, and function r,rrhile experiencing language in context. It should be mentioned that creating irrtegrated and meaning-centred activities is one of the most difficult aspects of story-based language teaching, since many textbooks still stress context-reduced practice and fragmented materials. The following activities will provide you with suggestions on how to incorporate integrated and story-based language activities into your classroom.

6-7

DESIGNING A CONTEXTUALISED STORYBASED LANGUAGE LESSON

This'subtopic will discuss how to design a contextualised story-based language
lesson.

6.7

.1

Lesson

The first step in clesigning a story-based lesson is to select a suitable text for the learners and for your instructional purposes. Interactive storytelling is an excellent way to make use of the myriad of stories that exist in the target-language cultures. Thiough storytelling, natural,simplifications can occur, and teachers can adapt the story to be within the learners' zones of proximal development. Figure 6.3 arc a few guiding principles for selecting a good text for a PACE iesson.

ToP|C6SToRY-BASEDAPPRoACHToTEACH|NGGRAMMAR<

Figure 6.3: Guiding principles for slecting a good for a PACE lesson

$s a comprehension check, the teacher might play the "I Have: who FIas" game with students (Polette, 7991). This is an attentive listening comprehension game. The game can be constructed from any story and can be played as a whoie-class activity or in groups. The teacher constructs a number of questions concerning the setting, character, major events, and final outcome of the story. The learner who has the starred card reads the first question. The first question is "Where does the story take piace?" The learner holding the card with the answer reads it and then provides the next question. By listening carefully, the learners should
be abie to respond correctly and thereby retell the story.

Creative extension activities are important as it provides learners with plenty of opportunities to develop skills in interpersonal communication. In a constructive approach, learners need to have opportunities to crcate and construct their owrr thoughts in the second language. Extension activities also encourage learners to coilaborate and cooperatc in nreaningful, interpcrsonal contexts. Although these activities may seem challengins for them, it is through story-based language

1ZZ

Extension activities often incorporate graphic organisers (such as story mapping, character mapping, or discussion webbing) to serve as anchoring devices to help learrners organise their thoughts arrd ideas concerning the story'

learning activities will they be able to express their own thoughts with more confidence, and improve on their iistening, reading, and writing skills' Vygotsky (1978), urg.t"r that these grapiric organisers may be viewed as *"Idlutltig devices as weli as psychoiogical tools to organise the learners' higher psycholo[icai processes such as pcrceptiot-t, .tttention, and memory. Story mapping-iy cl-taracter mapping can be accomplished in p.airs or in groups. During story-mipping activities, learners -work together to cotrstruct the dominant elements of the story. The story map eltcourages lcarners to focus on the main characters, problems, major events, and solutions to the problem. For charactermapping acitivities, learners focus on a number of features, such as the character's -,-hrlr,ca1, as n-e1i as intrinsic traits, and the character's good and bad actions'

-i

S(rlne point, the teacher will u.'ant to move the lesson from mere .r,:11-rehc11.iqr1 actir,ities to activities that stimulate the learners' critical thinking skills. These actir,ities encourage learuers to analyse the events of thc story and then, to dray. conclusions about the story. Alvermann (1991), suggested that critical thinking activities should be carried out collaboratively and cooperatively since "some of the best thinking results in a group's coilaborative efforts" (p:91).

According t3 Alvermann (1991), critical thinking activity can be developed for a^y story Discussion webbing nioves learners from what happencd in the story to why it hopp"tled. For example, using the "The mousedeer and the crocodile" story, tn" t"uiner can develop a discussion-webbing activity around the question "Should the crocodile release the mousedeer?". Discussion webbing encourages the learners to think about,an even number of yes/no answers. Finally, the learners try to form a consensus on the best reason WHY the crocodile should or should 1oi rclease the mousedeer. This cncourages the learners to look at both sides of a1 issue. Later, the groups can share their results from the discussionwebbing activit)'.

And finally, )r,,,., rnay also r.vant to integrate an intertextual activity as a \vay to encourage learrleis to move beyonci the mere recalling of events to higher critical ttrir:rhng skills. During intcrtextual activities, learncrs working in pairs or groups analyse the cornponents of stories by iuxtapositioning two different tert.s or stories. Iirtertextual links Ccrn b€ nrade at r,ariotts levels, that iS, bir juxtaposing characters, cotrtcnt, plot ticveloptnent, style, and So on' (Bloome & Egal-iiobertson, 19-c)3). A Venn diagram is often used as a graphic orsaniser (Clii.istenbury & I(r:lly,, 1983; Eclrr ar.Js, 1989; Redmond,,1c)91) to help
lcar*ers;in;:lvse iheir tiroughts. IJere, lc.r11-,rr'- <'lr-tt cncollragetl to r'r'oik ir, gtor-ips ,r': -bascd approach empirasiscs ,iirlir-'r' i1r,'s,i ir-itcrtcxtt-ial activitii-ls :'ll-ra'-' .. .., ,' ..5 i a ngtt;t gc anci 1i teracl'. rncatriug-m a ki ng atrcl thc i n terpi:rsot t a l i'r'r

-qF

TOPIC 6

STOR'r-8,r.SED APPROACH TO TEACHING GRAMMAR

Many teachers rnight u,onder hor'r' learners with limited L2 resources will be able to participate in some of the more challenging story-based activities. For example, discussion .rvebbtng and u'rtertextual activities tap into leanters' higher critical thinking skills. Therefore, during these activities learuers use their cognitive
processes to concentrate on comparing and contrasting, analysing, and synthesizing

new information comprehended from the story with their prlor background knowledge. Lr order to participate in these "immersion type" activities, learners utilise a variety of compensation strategies to communicate their ideas in L2.
As a result, their producfive use of L2 r'aries.

'

For example, some lcarners feel comfortable mixing L1 and L2 (ctrde-switching), seek assistance from the teacher or a more capable peet and some learners feel more comfortable consulting a resource such as a dictionary (Adair-Hauck, 1996). The teacher creates a "social context" that assists and supports learners in activities that they wouid be unable to do alone or unassisted.

Normally, learners

,serve as a participant observer for the various groups by providing assistance '(e.g., essential vocabulary, verb tense, etc.) when necessary. But in many instances learners are capable of expressing their opinions regarding the eveuts/clutcomes of the story, even if those opinions are at times not grammaticallr- perfeci. Frustration on the part of the teacher and/o{learners r,r'ill be recluct'.i li:}',rteacher places arr emphasis on meaning-making as the learners tt'\'t(\.rtrfr ;:--l construct meaning during these interpersonal and socialiy mcdr.ritrl d. trr iiir:

errors whiie participating in groups, the teacher nceds to in these extension activities. As learners work

will make some grammatical

As a debriefing activity, the teacher may want to focus attention olt some CO1llila,rri', or frequently made errors. It is important to note that in a natural second-language setting, error correction tends to be limited to errors regarding meaning, including yocabulary choice, rather than on pronunciation and grammar. Errors that dcl not interfere with meaning tend to be overlooked by native speakers (Lightbown & Spada, 7993). Unfortunately, in many formal second-language classroom settings, accuracy has precedence over meaningful communication, and, therefore, errors are frequently corrected. Too much error correction can r,vithhold learner motivation (Harley, 7993), but, on the other hand, a teacher has the responsibility to bring to the learners' attention commonly made errors (Lalande, 1984).

A collaborative approach to error correction is advantageous sitrce it includes the iearners in the learning process. For example, during ti-re debricfing session, thc teacirer can remind the learners that erl'ors dr€ ci natur.rl Part of language
developrnent (l.ightborvn & Spada, 7993). in the natur;'rl second-langlrage setting, errors reear:ding meanir-rg would prompt a native speakcr to correct or to ask for clarifjcation. For purposes of instruction, the teacher t-ttav tvattt to identify errors that intcrfere rvith mcatrir-rg as strong errors,'tor cxample, a stlicleut llight sar' Ditt ltckcrin di loltor Enltru (He worked in Johor Bairr u), n'heu thc icarner rca11y

124

wants to say Din mernntnu di lohor Bahru (He traveled in ]ohore Bahru). This error irrvol'u,ins vocabulary choice would negatively affect meaning and therefore rt,oulcl requir.: a correction, or at least a clarification request, from a native
speaker.

Also, depending on the second-language in question, certain grammar or pronunciation eirors may interfere with meaning, such as in this example, the proirunciation error of the verb changes the meaning from "She zunnts to go to tlrr rnr" to "Tltt:r1 irttttrt to go fo tlte zoLt," thus interfering with meanirrg. It is thus
classified as a strong error.

By contrast, a weak error includes poor grammar usage or pronunciation but does not affect meaning; for example, lI has finish my homezoork ktst night.

This is a ,,t,eak error since it does not interfere with meaning and probably would r-rot bc corrected by a native. Learners enjoy collaborating with the teacher and irrr estigatils n,hich of their mistakes; are strong or weak errors (Adair-Hauck, i!,91; ia.-.a,..1996). Using an overhead projector the teacher can illustrate to the ieaners contertualised mistakes; that is, errors in meaningful exchanges with longe! stretches of cliscourse. Rather than identify discrete-point errors, the learners can n,ork in peer groups to investigate whether the errors are strong or weak errors. They can then use problem-solving techniques to correct the errors.

6,7,Z Moving to Independent Practice
At some point, the teacher will want the learners to practice the target language independently. Ideally, group activities on an interpersonal level will prepare the
learners to function independently on an intrapersonal level. As an independent extension activity, the teacher may ask learners to create a different ending to the story. Learners may also use the story-mapping technique to create their own stories. A number of foreign language teachers have reported that learners enjoy creating humorous stories related to the story in class. As a final presentational activity, learners can share their stories with their class members.

& U & * S. & 6 & 4 4 4 a 4 4 a,

e 4 e & 4 6 @V & 4 A 4 & + & a 4 &

A

you should acknowledge the thoughts and opinions of learners regarding story-basecl language learning activrtit's ior foreign lar-rguage iearners. adair-ttauck (t993), conducted a three-nrt-ruth, classroom-based research project rising ar story,based approach ttr it'acir interrnediate-level French tcl a class of tl.rrenty learners ranging fr.rnt :iii.'rl-; to sixteen vears pf age. At the clcl of thc prrljcct, learners' respttttsc: 'i.','.l'r trvern'hclmingly positive. For example,',vhen.askeci, "'WaS it easiei t,' ...:-:- Fl'et'.ch by listening to StorieS?" "]na," rrir-rety pcrcent of thc iee'irners ans\\-rr'L.t . --. r)lle leamer answereci

ToP|C6SToRY-BASEDAPPRoACHToTEAtHii,.GGRAMMAR<

and one learner answered "y"t" and "no." Learners' qualitative responses to the question "\\4tat did you like most about the storytelling activities?" were particularly enlightening. One perceptir-e learner commented, "I liked learning with pictures and props. That n'ar; if there was something I didn't understand, then I knew what it u'as." arother learner responded, "I liked the storytelling activities because thev had a good effect. You seem to remember things better if you have something to do with the words you are learning." Finall,v, one learner made this comment regarding a positive, affective climate: "i liked the fact that it gets the class into the story and it makes it more fun. I think I learn better r,r.hen I enioy the class."

q4&a&g&e&&

&8*&&&&ee&

Collaborative
Hypothesise

Scaffolding Theoreticaly motirzated

Proximal

9 4 & 6 @ @ 6 & 4 & & * & * @*
1

&&

& & * 6 & @ @ &&

/

e Q & a & & c e c c

G

I.

There are two reasons supporting the teaching of grammar, r.r,hat are ther-?

2.

What is a central factor
principle?

in the activities of the story-based teachir-rs

What are the four branches of the PACE model? Who are collabo.ui", in the collaborative approach model?

How can the teacher help student move from merely recalling event to using higher critical thinking skills?

1.

According to the principles of selecting a good text, what does a'stage-able' action mean? Why is it important to have an expandable story theme?
Can you include the student in the process of constructing explanations?

1.

(u) (b)

How does co-constructing explanation work? How will this help the student to learn better?

Tep*#
Grammar

INTRODUCTION
Robert Graves (British adthor & classical sholar (1895

- 1985) quoted:

".Every English poet should master the rules of grammar before he attempts to bend or break them".
ource: Retrieved March 2, 20A6 from http : / / www. quotationspage.com quote/2791.htm1

S

/

This topic focuses on the teaching of grammar. Some aspects of grammar such as: functions, constituents, and structurei for teaching and learning will be discussed further. The organisation of grammar teaching rvhich includes exercises, stages and processes iJ presented as well. In addition, it provides some tips on successful practices for classroom activities'
1

TOPIC 7

TEACHI:iG GRAMMAR

ffi,

WHAT IS GRAMMAR?
I rvPf !'IlNs &*
$P?V tl6.iytJf' tt{i?V Ntsr Yt^31 ttlf?Y Ntd

Baby Blues by Jerry Scott & Rick Kirkman

^vl i{{w \Jl ,c
{vt
']

lfpei itlfFi

f[?+t

YfrF:

tL/

t\

k

t

*s

F
*

>z*,

\ri lt
rlt
c

.a

€-

ti

ta

Source: http : / / w ww.babyblues.com / index.php

Grammar can be defined as the way a language operates and unites words in order to form longer units of meaning. For instance, in English, the present form of the verb is in the third person has two distinct forms, one (ls) being used with a singular subject, and the other (nre) witha plural; and if the plural nre is combined with a singular subject, the result is usually unacceptable or'ungrammatical'.
Tlrus, a sentence like: This is a bag is grammatical, whereas this nrc o lto.! is not. A set of rules dictates how units of meaning may be constructed in an1' language. Hence, it can be conciuded that a learner who 'knows grammar' is one rr-ho has acquired the rules and can apply these ruies to express him or herself in acceptabie language forms.

THE FUNCTIONS OF GRAMMAR IN LANGUAGE INSTRUCTION
The knowledge of grammatical rules (implicit or explicit) is important for the mastery of a language (Penny Ur, 7996). You cannot use words unless you know how they should be synthesised. However, there has been discussion on questions such as, do rt'e have to have 'grammar exercises'? and Isn't it better for learners to absorb the rules intuitively through'communicative' activities than to
be taught through planned exercises specifically geared at teaching grammar?

in the learning of a first language by a child, the amount of time and motivation
de','oted to learning is so great that there is no necessity for conscious planning o{ the learr-ring process as the material is absorbed, er.entually. However, in a formal course of sfuclv there is rrerlr much iess time available, and ofien lcss motivation, it hich means that learnins time has to be orgar-rised for optin-rum efficier-rcy.

128

TOPIC

7

TEACHING GRAMMAR

This means preparing a programme of study - a syllabus - so that bits of the total corpus of knowledge are presented sequentially and one after the other for gradual, systematic acquisition, rather than all at once. This also means preparing an organised, baianced plan of classroom teaching, learning proceciures through which the learners will be able to spend some of their time concentrating on mastering one or more of the components of the target language on their way to acquiring it as a whole. These components may be in the form of spelling or pronunciation or vocabulary or grammar. The learning of gramrnar should be seen as one of the mcans of acquiring a thorough mastery of the language as a whole, not as an end in itself. Thus, at the initial stage we may teach our students to learn a certain structure through exercises that concentrate on entirely mechanical drills or meaningless manipulations of language; we should quickly progr"iJ to activities that use it meaningfully. And even these activities will be replaced later by general fluency prattice, r,r,here the emphasis is on successful communication, and any learning of gramnrar takes placc only as subsidiary to this main objective.
Figure 7.1 shor,vs the principles of selecting a good text to teach grammar.

-i:

Does,1hes1o'vei]efa11deri{ons.ofthe1arget|angqagecu|lure?

I

>(r Jtlvi stj'ria:uic

uil rvnru vou = cn whicht yuu

Does the slo,v rnciti irr:?J' :'-

-' :- '=':-::Jn'l

Figure 7.1: Dril,.

-:- .r

:- : -':i-t's

TOPIC

7

TEACHING GRAMMAR

1

Think of an activity for the teaching of a grammar item that follows the
steps prescribed above.

In planning the organisation of our teaching, we need to be clear what our rg!j_"--.,t *atter is: What sorts of things are included under the heading grammar
and what is involvedrn'knoruing' a structure?

The variety of ali the different structures that may be labelied 'grammatical' is enormous. Some have exact parallels in the native' language and are easily mastered; others have no such parallels but are fairly simple in themselves; while yet others are totally new and very difficult to comprehend.
Some have fairly simple forms, but it may be difficult to learn where to use them and where not (the definite article, for exampie). Others have relatively easy meanings, but very varied or difficult forms (tl-re past simple tense).

Some involve single-word choices (a/an/some), others entire
(cond itionals).

sentences

./ \M-ren we teach these type of structures, we should be getting our students to learn quite a large number of different, though related, bits of knort'iedge and skills: how to recognise the examples of the structure when spoken, honto identify its written form, how to produce both its spoken and written form, how to understand its meaning in context, and produce meaningful sentences.
The aspects of teaching,and learning structures are presented in Thble 7.1 below.
Table 7.1: Aspects of the Teaching and Learning of Structures
Source: Penny U r, 7996:6

Form

Meaning

Listening

Perception

of the

recognition Comprehension of what the spoken spoken from of the structure means in context
convey

and

structure

Speaking
Reading

Production of well-formed Use of the structure to
examples in speech meanings in speech

Perception and recognition of Comprehension of what the written the writen form structure means in context
exan-rples in

Writing

Production of wewll-formed writing

Use

of the strncture to convey

meanings in lt riting

130

TOPIC

7

TEACHING GRAMMAR

Generally, teachers and text books focus on some ,"f,.t11t" - lot of time on getting'n",fo:11:tqll.:*^{:tl^t:,fl: LrrvJ 'rur : they may focus on written convey in exploiting the structure to coi' meanlngs' o], ^,__ r! :^ essenrial to Loor a r^ :t 'ttt,chrre to cover the oral aspects adequately. It is ^^^^-ri^r keep

ilffi';;;;
il;i#];?;;

,111]T:.:i:Y: Ti:,i::

balance,takingintoconsiderationtheneedsofyourlearners'

fry$i+ THE ORGANISATION OF GRAMMAR
TEACHING
,,He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and foilows him through the maze out the plan, carries u t"tl.ead that will gui-de l?id:where the disposal of of the most busy life. But where no plan1s chaos will soon time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidence, fergn." Victor Hugo French dramatist novelist' & poet (1802 - 1BB5)

Source: Retrieved March z,2006from http://www.quotationpage.com/quote/2785'html

Broadly speaking, the 'best'

;;;;'JJ;h"""il;;*."4,u.,ii"yl1.",:9.?lltllil'-:::11"1:f -i'"':;*f n the variety.of k4owledge and skils that need to be taught, and

wry to teach g1u*l?,ti 111::

*1:::i::::::*if,

ilffiffiHil;
ffi;;;;

d,.,;; ;i

, .7',,- ^ structures-subsumed under the heading'grammar'

t;-^^^n-l

framework into which The organisation suggested here depicts a general match' a myrii of teaching techniques wili
as shown in Figure 7'2: Penny (1gg6)proposed a four stage organisation

{a}

{bi

Fsffi€r?#if n kslatien strd Expleneticn
P'*md[e*

{e} {d}

?wa

Figure 7.2:Four stages oi organisation
\crl

Presentation rvith a text in which the grammatical You can start off by presenting the class learners to perceive the structure structure is distinct. fn" aim is to get the ;;i;"*ce, its form and meaning in both speech and writing'

TOPIC

7 TEA[!;Ii: GRAMMAR

A story, sketch or short dialogue can be used, lirst as a written form in the textbook and then read aloud by the teacher arrd students. As a follow-up, sfudents may be asked to read aloud, repeat, reproduce from memory, or copy the use of the structure within the text. \\here the structure is very simple and readily perceived, the presentation 'text' can be in one or two sentences, which can be used as a model for immediate practice.
Isolation and Explanation At this stage we move away from the context, arrd focus on the grammatical items. For instance, what tl-rey sour-rd and lo,ok like, what they mean, how they function and what are the rules that govern them?
The goal is that the learners should understand the various aspects of the structure. In some classes we may need to make extensive use of the students' natiie language to explain, transiate, and make generalisations and the like.

In more academic classes, or where the structure is difficult for the students to understand, this stage may take up a few lessons. Howerrer, where the structure is very simple, or similar to the native language, or when the students tend to iearn the language intuitively rather than intellectually, it may take only one lesson.

Practice

'/

The practice stage consists of a series of exercises conducted both in the classroom and for home assignments. The aim is to enable the learners to comprehena tt-," structure o. t"b transfer what they know from short-term to lon$-term memory. Obviously, not every giammar practice procedure can encompass all aspects of the strucfure as listed in Thble 7.1. Hence, we have to use a series of varied exercises which will complement each other and together provide holistic coverage.
However, to teach a structure whose formal rules are difficuit to understand, we can start by focusing some time to manipulation of the written and spoken forms, without emphasising meaning. Such practice is usually given through exercises based on 'discrete items' (a series of words, phrases or sentences with no particular connection between them.
Example exercises of this type are: (i) Slot-fillers (the learner inserts the appropriate item)
E.g.

. .

She is ... gir1.

They have ... envelopc. (A, an) Answer: Shc is a gir1. Thny have an enveiope.

132

TOPIC

7

TEACHING GRAMMAR

(ii)

Transformation (the learner changes the structure in some Prescribed manner) E.g. this is a man. (Put into the piural)
Answer: TheY are men'

of form more The purpose of such exercises is to help make the rules pr".ir" ar-,a to ensure that they. are learnt in depth. A learner who has to piactice through a series of-ill"* may find it easier, eventually, to a L"p..r, him or"herself correctly, in language that it'ill be acceptable
native sPeaker.

As they give no practice in making meanings with the structure these

(and aie iherefore, incidentally, usually .not very interesting) proceed to exercises have limited usefulness. Therefore, we. should_ have a basic meaning-based practice as soon as we feel our students (They may' of understandingoi th" ,rr1", of form and their application'
result of the presentation course, .rnderstur-,d these rules adequately as a in which .ur. *" will not need purely form-based

and explanation,
exercises at all.)

'

Another category of practice procedures still stresses the production but or perceptioi oi coriect formi, but invo1v96 meanings as well be done unlinked to any general situational framework and cannot on without .o*pr"hJrlsion. Such exercises are, again, usually based
examples: d.iscrete items, and. tend not to be open-ended. Some Translation, to or from the native language

Slot-filling, or multiple-choice, based on meaning' E.g. He (plays, is playing, played) at the moment' Answer: He is playing at the motnent' Slot-filling, with choice of answers not provided'
E.g. Last night we ... televisiorr'

Answer: Last nightwe Matching

wntchciT

television'

an atiimal

sol.liers

The men

lhe

cat

Ansr,vers:

TOPIC

7

TEACHING GRAMMAR

Here, we can see the language is still not being used to 'do' things, but merely to provide examples of itseif that is not 'communicative'. Hpwever, the exercises cannot be done through mere technical manipulation. They are certainly more interesting to do than purely formlbased ones and provide more learning value. This interest can be increased by the introduction of piquant or amusing subject matter, or some game-like techniques.

The third type of exercise is that in which the strcss is on the production or comprehension of meanings for sotne non-linguistic purpose, as well as on the way the structures are being manipulated in the process. Such practice may be obtained through information or opinion gap communication techniques or through activities based on
the production of interesting ideas.

For example, the students might discuss or write about the possibilities arising out of a problem solving situation using the modals may, might, could, should, or create stories to practice the past tense.
We may in the course of a communicative activity find that the students

are making consistent mistakes in a certain structure and decide to return temporarily to an exercise that focuses on correct forms. Or it may be found feasible in some .ur"y'to do only one kind of practice (usually the third, as described above), if the structure is r erv easilrmastered. (d) Test Tests are conducted in order to demonstrate to the students themselves and to the teacher how weli they have mastered the material they have been learning. The main objective of tests within a taught course is to provide 'feedtrack, without which neither teacher nor learner would be able to

progress very far.

Most testing is done automatically and almost unconsciously by teacher and learners as the course proceeds. The learners' current performance in class and in home assignments provides feedback on learning. Often 'practice' exercises are used to supply such informal feedback, in which case they may function virtually as tests: but if this aspect is stressed, their effectiveness as practice techniques is usually lessened.

In grammar teaching the practice stage is the most important, for it is through practice that the material is most thoroughly and permanently
learnt and transferred to long-term memory. So let us consider next rvhat grarnmar practice iechnique entails, and what makes it effective.
a

134

TOPIC

7

TEACHING GRAMMAR

THE PRACTICE STAGE
and The practice stage commences after the initial presentation/set induction material the explanation, when the learner is assumed to have comprehended be said to have and concept and taken it into short-term memory, but cannot really mastered it Yet.

lqnguagr on the Practice may be defined as any kind of engagemenf with tf1 puri of the learner, usually ,rr-,d"t teicher iupervision, and befter stili within

During grorrp learning whose pri*ury objective is to consolidate le.ar1inq memory and the learner is i.u.ii." the rnaterial is'absorbed into long-term it with gradually lessening' uft" to comprehend and produce examples of
teacher supPort-

A practice technique may involve reception 'passive'exposure to spoken

or

*.itt"n

input or'aitive'pioduction of language items and discourse'
a grammar practice/procedure effective?

what makes

are the Figurb 7.3 shows Some factors that contribute to successfui practice following.
Pre-learning

Volume and rePetition
Sgccess-orientation HeterogeneitY
Teacher Assistance

lnterest
Figure 7.3: Factors that contribute to successful grammar practice

7

,4.1

Pre-learning

learning a structure' The Practice is the second or third stage in the Process of "is to familiarise learners with the material' function of a practice procedure not-yet been taught' Learners shoulcl not be isked to practice material they have do in fact launch This sounds ob.,vious, but it is surprising horv often teachers

TOPIC

7

TEACHIi'.IG GRAMMAR

into practice activities in the classroom without sufficient initial presentation of the material. If effective pre-learning has not taken place prior to the practice - that is to sal; if the material has not been cleariy understood and transferred into short-term memory by the learners, then time will be wasted
on incomprehensiou or rncorrect responses, forcing the teacher to interrupt the procedure for explanations and corrections, and reducing the time available for real practice. If there is virtually unlimited time available, of course, as in a 'total immersion' situation, this does not matter so much; the learners will gradually understand and absorb the material through the practice itself.

7,4.2

Volume and Repetition

Zitsby Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman
(EE1CX)ffi..

A{priAr}@4
?'gt3Hr11F7Sfl

,r

t9,€ilLsipwa,wra.
ft€ra#z

146 RilE, i1r S{ie{ ARru5)

Kffire..

*g

Tlt}{Cff Wrs?

HLOr€s rcJ+\*

Voiume refers to the amount of (comprehensible) language that is spoken, heard, read or written in the course of tle activity. Vtore importantly, the more lang-uage the learners are exposed to or produce, the more they are 1ike1y to learn. This means devoting plenty of time to practice sessions, and exploiting that .time efficiently. When the material to be practiced is non-specific, as in fluency exercises, this just means spending as much time as possible using the ianguage in general (as distinct from talking about it). When, however, the material is specific, as in the learning of a grammatical structure, most of the volume should consist of repetition of the items to be learnt. In other words, we want to design procedures that will induce the learners to engage with the items to be learnt as many times as possible. This does not mean mere mechanical reiteration of forms, but repeated reception and production, in speech and writing, of different examples of the structure's form and meaning. In a brief exercise where there is insufficient volume and repetitioir, the learners may provide ;roll witlr some feedback on what they know, or do not know, but they will not get much opportunitv to consolidate their lcarrring. hr other rvords, the procetlure will probably function as an informal iest rather than as a practice.

T

136

TOPIC

7

'q

TEACHING GRAMMAR

have to get the learners Generally, the principle of repetition means that you t]t1"q the present to produce or perceive e*umples of the structure, for instance, interest and repetition' perfect tense repeatedl!. However, the tivo features of exclusive' Also' in ino.rgt-, not easily .o*birred_, are by no means mutually is perhaps the order to think of'*uy, to achieve uotn of them simultaneousry writer when designing most challengrng fucio, facing the teacher and materials effective Practice techniques'

7,4,3

Success-orientation

(ot't a conscious, Correction of mistakes does contribute towards learning learners have lots of intellectuai plane). After mistakes have been corrected, on of '.loir-rg it right'. Thys, practice is most effective if it is based

"*p"ri"r,..perform#.", aid practice successful

activities should be designed and presented is be i' such a way as to make it rikery that rearner responses willthat acceptable' Thisfor we are aiming material the kind of thorough, semi-intuitive absorption of in language teaclring'

'principle of success orientation has wide pedagogical . implications' The develop a positive A student rvhose performance is consistently successful will frequently fails will be self-image as a language learner, whereas one who note'd that tension and anxiety air.o.rru"ged and ,r.ri-,otirruted' It should also be of 'failure' (that is, if they are in are fairly"high if learners feel there is a possibility lowered if they are confident of a sense of being testecl), and are .or..rior-rdingly significantly to a positive classroom success. Thus, success orientation contiibutes the other hand, the fact that climate of relaxation, confidence and motivation. on language, lessens the when there is no risk of failure in producing acceptable *-" hut'u to find other ways of challenge of the activity for some purti.ipur-rts, so making it interesting.
7

.4,4

HeterogeneitY

A

at Various different heterogeneous (contrasted.) exercise can be conducted of mixed-ability groups' levels because most classes are in fact composed practice for all the A homogetleous exercise cannot possiblv 1',r..'l.:id. efiective proficient learners and lacking in students: it will be too difficult ftr the-loiv It is' however' possible -to volume and challenge for the advancetl lcarlrers' anJ pc'riormed at whatever level the design practice tasksihat can be interprcte'l *-ill be ablc to do more than indiviclual st.rdeni i."1, oppropriate, so t6a: .nt--,. others in terms of both quality and quatrtri" '
basecl on multiple-choice An exampie of an exercise lacking liLltcr.t]-'-':-'.l.l ': trlre
c

uestions; for cx,rnr Pit':

IOPIC

7

TEACHING GRAMMAR

A career woman neglects her family.
(a)
Does
i

rh)
1c)

Isn't
Doesn't

(d)

Aren't

Such an item can only be done by students above a certain level of proficiency, but on the other hand gives no opportunity for the really advanced ones to cxercise their capabilities. An example of a heterogeneous task might be to give an initial sentence model. and ask students to contribute further examples.
I

For instance: A csreer womafl does neglect her family.

Students may respond with simple sentences ltke'She doesn't cook', or more complicated ones hke'She cannot giae ftLll attentiort to her children's upbringing.' In this way, the slower learners can succeed at the same time as the brighter ones can stretch themselves to the limits of their ability. Also, of course, the quicker orles can simply make more sentences, as well as more difficult ones, particularlr' if the exercise is done partly or wholly in writing

An exercise which is not heterogeneous will provide you n,ith more reliable feedback on learner performance, because the task is standardised and it is possible to assess the relative acceptability of different learner responses. But if
this aspect is seen as a major objective, then the procedure is probably being used as an informal test, andis likely to be less effective as practice. The use of heterogeneous exercises not only ensures that a higher proportion of the class get learning value out of the practice; it is also, like success-orientation, has a positive effect on learner attitude and motivation.
Itesponse at many different levels can be 'nght', hence these exercises provide an opportunity for the teacher to give slower or less confident students the approval and encouragement they need.

7

.4,5

Teacher Assistance

Predominantly, there should be very litt1e correction of mistakes if there has been proper pre-learning, and if the exercise is reall;, success-orierrted. We need tcr make sure that our students perform it successfuliy and fairiy briskly so as to get through as much volume of lansuage as possible and to maintairr interest.

138

TOPIC

7

TEACHING GRAMMAR

In the course of the practice teacher activity should be largely directed toward
supporting and assisting the students in their production of acceptabie responses rather than toward assessing and correcting.
Examples of such assistance are: simply giving extra time to reread or think; ."p.uiit-,g or simplifying a text; approving the begiming of an utterance in order to encourage production of the whole; suggestions, hints, prompts.

this means tirat we have to be very alert sensing when and where help is needed and what form it should take. Again, there is a wider'message':
A11

f, the teacher, is ltere to assist and guide yau, to, succeed and progress in your Ie,anting, not to judge, scold or belittle you in front of your friends. the argument is, if we constantly help our students to get it right, we wili never knor,r, if they can be independent later on. Part of the answer to this is, of course, that n'e should be sensitive enough to feel when they are going to be able to
produce acceptable utterances on their own, and not rush in to help unnecessarily. if, or-r the other hand, we let them get it wrong and then correct, there will have beefr virtually no practice: only a brief (failed) test, followed by a re-presentation of the corrcct form.

p
ts,

,ry!

7,4,6

lnterest

Interest in language-practice procedures may derive to some extent from extrinsic motivation. Fclr instince, a student may be motivated to take part and succeed in exercises if by doing so he or she may earn class 'credit points' or 'stars', or if he or she badiy t',."dr to know the language for promotion at work. But such factors are based on success or failure in test-like procedures and therefore, do not operate well in success-oriented practice Moreover, they are often completely beyon.l our control and unpredictable (like how tnuch the learner needs to know the language fc',r career purposes). Thus, in most practice activities, motivation has to derive rather from the intrinsic interest of the activity itself.
inrell-clesigned practice procedure may fail to produce sttccessfttl learning simpiy because it is boring. Interest is an essential feature of successful pra.ctice, not just an optional extra. Leartrets n'hci are bored find it difficult to cclncentrate, iheir attention wanders, and thev may spend much of the lcsson tirne thinking of things other than thc learnitrs task in hand; even if they are apparenti,v erigaged with the exercise, tl-re qualitr,of the effort and attention given

An otherwise

to learnii'r* drops apPreciablY-

l

Moreorrer, bcca,-tse boreciom, particuiarlr i:-, \ rrllngCr classr:s, often produces r-rnruly bchaviour, more l''alrtabie learl-'itl': :.,r-.a i-t-t.tv bc rt'astcc-l on coping rvith

TOPIC

7

TEACHII''JG GRAMMAR

discipiine problems. If, horvever, the class is interested in what it is doing, its members will not only learn more efficiently, thev are also likely to enjoy the Drocess andito want to continue.

i

CLASSROOM GRAMMAR ACTIVITIES

Classroom grammar activities are set out to suggest a number of interesting communicative practice techniques that can be used to supplement those provided by regular course books (Penny LJr,1996).In this topic, we move on to a discussion of topics which has something to do with the practical design of such techniques: the structure of the task on which they may be based; factors that contribute to interest; various useful models of learner activation. The Practical Design of Classroom Grammar Activities is summarised in the Figure 7.4.

The Task
(a) Clear Objective (b)Active Language Use

Interest
(a)Topic (b)Visual Focus (c) Open-endedness (d) Information Gap (e) Personalisation (f ) Pleasurable Tension (g) Entertainment (h) PlayActing

./

Learners' Activation
(a) Reception with No Overt Response (b) Reception with Minimal Response (c) Teacher-Student Exchanges (d) Student-Teacher Exchan ges (e) Brainstorm (f ) Chain (g) Fluid Pairs (h) Semi-controlled Small Group Transaction (i ) Free Group Discussion

Figure 7.4: The practical design of classroom grammar activities

The two esser-rtiai characteristics of a good language-practice task are: a clear objective accorrlpanied bv the necessity for actirre language use.

140

TOPIC

7

TEACHING GRAMMAR

7

,5,1

Clear Objective

The objective may be language-based (getting the language right). However, the objective'getting the language right' on its own often leads to the composition of ,uih". boring, meaningless language-manipulation tasks, such as putting a series of sentences into the Past tense.

If the objective is to get some non-linguistic result the task is usually much more interesting and has more learning value. This objective may be, for example, to solve u pr"obl"*, to get someone to do something, to create some kind of pleasing
composition, to explore a situation, or to get to know one another'

In effective grammar

two kinds of objectil.es are combined, the non-linguistic one being the main motivating focus, while both teacher and 'I sfudents are aware of tne 'secondary', linguistic one. You may say, for example: rvant you to guess what I'm thinking of - and use "yes/no" questions as you do
exercises, the
so. The amount of attention paid to each aspect varies:

if students get involved in ciiscussing personal feelings whiie describing past experiences, it obviously will be inappropriate to ask them to concentrate on using the past tense correctly; but if thd oU;".il"" is to produce or edit something for publication, correct usage wiil
be stressed.

In any case, the objective should be a simple one tdt

be defined in a few wordi, so that students are clear in their minds at all stages where they are go1ng, and what the point is of what they are doing. It is very much easier to define an objective if ihere is a tangible result to be achieved: a list to be written out, a solution to be found and displayed, a story to be narrated, and a picture to be
car-,

drawn or marked

.

you can explain the non-linguistic objective in terms of the end product (Find ntrl write tTozutt the solution to tlis problem.. ) rather than in terms of ih. pro."r s (suggest soffie w&ys you might solae this ltroblem. ..).

In sugh

cases,

.

7

,5,2

Active Language Use

The learners should be able to attain the objective only by an exertion of effort 'lhis may involve the 'passive'skills, that in some kind of active language use. is, liste.ing ald reading. ihe active lairguage use should provide for repeated the exposure to or production of the structr,rre(s) being practiced. In other words, task rr,ust provide for volume and repetition'

First, n'e shttuid n'rake sure that the actir iir' is in fact based mainlY on using language and cioes not rvaste too much tiil-,.' rrn nlime, artistic creation clr silent brain-rackilrg. lt i' temoting to think tirat ii shrdents are happilY absorbed in

TOPIC

7

TEACHING GRAMMAR

doing a task in an Engiisii iesson, they are therefore learning English, but that is not always the case. Th.l' mar; of course, be achieving other equally or more important,educational objectir-es, such as thinking skiils: creative and critical, for the sake of which \ /e ma\. choose to sacrifice ianguage-learning efficiency. But in any case, we need to be a\\:are of what is really going on: to keep a careful eye on how much they are acfually engaging with the language they are supposed to
be practicing. Second, we may need to put certain constraints on the process of achieving our task objective in order to make sure that maximum language use in fact takes place. For example, if you ask students to fill in information (using the past tense) on an empty grid by referring to another, completed, grid, then they will simply copy out each bit of text into the appropriate square. If, however, you put them in pairs, where one student has one partially-filled grid and his or her partner the other, and they have to ask and answer in order to get the information, the amount of language used will be much more, and will include orai work and both interrogative and affirmative form.

If we design our task in such a way that it has clear linguistic and non-iinguistic 'objectives and oblige learners to engage repeatedly with the structure that is being learnt in the process of achieving them, then we have the basis for a good grammar practice activity. However, it is only the basis for learners may stiil not / do it very well if they find it boring.

Do you think writing and speaking practices will improve the students, grammar skills?'\Mhy?

7:i;

INTEREST

Generally, learners may be motivated to participate in a learning exercise by extrinsic factors that have nothing to do with the nature of the activity itself. In that case, they may need to know the language, for example, or want to be approved of. But we are more interested with intrinsic motivation: what kinds of features within the activity itself arouse learners' interest and attention ind make them want to take part in it?

142

TOPIC

7

TEACHING GRAMMAR

7

"6.1

Topic

The (non-linguistic) content of the activity is obviously a major factor in arousing or deadenin[ learner interest. The importance of the topic as a focus varies. If the activity is a discussion or essay on a controversial subject, then obviously the topic must be one that holds the iearners' attention; but if the activity is a gu*"-lik" one where the emphasis is on problem-solr'ing or creating amusing unimportant, and the luxtapositions then the subject matter becomes relatively task itself is what proviCes the interest. There is no singie 'formula' for the selection of subjects that will arouse learner interbst, but it may help to ask (you) the following questions: Is my topic something my studbnts cin relate to because they know something about it and it arouses definite positive or negative reactions? Or alternatively, something they lvould like to find out more about, and can do so through participating i1 ihe task? Is it something which stimulates their imagination or curiosity? Or something the,v are already familiar with or personally involved with and *-ould like to cliscuss or tell others about? Is it something I am interested in and can communicate my enthusiasm about them to the class?

if the chosen topic gives a positive

ans\,ver to one or more of these questions, it will probably be found interesting ... but then again , rtlnay not: even experienced teaciiers find themselves constantly surprised by the unpredictable reactions of their students to topics they had thought would interest or bore them. For example, the currentlrend among teenagers is the world of virtual reality that is mostly inrrolved with unrealistic aspects of life, such as magic and charmed. One hai just got to look around and notice the television series or ASTRO

programs that ieceive high ratings among today's youth: Charmed, Dark Angel, l.ord of the Ring.

A common reason for the dryness of many language textbooks is the iack of

variety of their subject matter. They tend to concentrate only on anecdote, or only o1 the dornestic cloings of a set of characters, or onlv on informational newspaper articles, fclr exar1ple, and fail to cover a sufficientiy rvide range of subiect matter' The sarne is true of teachers: many of us get irrto the rut of certain types of subjects, ancl neglcct to change them. Not onlv does a frequent change of topic in iiself help to maintain attention and interest ir-r the classroom, it also makes it more likely that sooner or later e\/ery studerrt r-nav get to something that interests him or her.

TOPIC

7

TEA(lr

:.:

aP'AlvlMAR

A good range of subject matter for grammar practice might include the following types asian Figure 7.5.
F**tual,i*fsr*ali*r: orr t*pi** *f genercl4rttar**t: histcry,
pelaties, sc;ierree, etc geog;-aph1.. p*y*tu*l*gy,

Qa*lr*ver*i*! *ubje+ts *€ E*e,ryZ *r g*nu*t inf*rest

7

*.rs**a1 vivc.p*ir:te, experi**r.es, fe*E[*g*, tastcs

Ft*t3*rs". trl*'v"els.

sh*rt st*rie*, a*e*d,etes, f*[k l*les

Fit?1ilsifig

*r

piea*E*g ed**s ss

*xpr*s*ed in,p*qt;rV, pr*,v*rbs, quctati*cis -

Eiltertsr nr**

n

t

fi

9s

:'ts, p !ays, t*f*vi slsfi prmsran-:E

Persoeralities:try:{Yv kToyFe*Fge, fem*us*€lebrltt*$:

ffqg,nary cfraracters

Figure

7.5

A range of subject matter for grammar practice purposes

7

.6.2

Visual Focus

Exploit the learner's firre senses (see, smelI, hear, touch and taste) for a holistic perception of the learning task. It is easier to concentrate on thinking about 'something if you can see that something, or at least see some depicted or symboiic representation of it. Learners who are asked to discuss or listen to something without any visual focus often find their attention wandering. This is because sight is an extremely powerful and demanding sense. If you do not provide your students with something to look at, they will seek and find it elsewhere, in objects that have nothing to do with the learning task and that may distract them. An exercise that uses both aural and visual cues is likely, therefore, to be more interesting than one that is only speech-based.

A written text may provide sufficient visual focus in itself; but accompanying graphic material often improves comprehension and performance if it helps to elucidate difficult content, adds meaning to a very short or boring text, or is used to compare and contrast. Such material is usr-ialiv in the form of a picture, a poster, a magazine article, a slide or overhead transparel-lcy. lJorvcver', it ma1'
of course be a representation of the information being talked about in brief notes

144

TOPIC

7

TEACHING GRAMMAR

or a diagram. You as a teacher can be an excellent visual aid, when using your own facial expression and physical movement to illustrate a topic; so can your
students and tl-re classroom environment.

7

.6.3

Open-endedness

A task that is open-ended aliows for different learner responses during its

performance, and is therefore, conducive to the production of varied and original id"or. Erren if the basic structural framework of the response is prescribed in advance, learners' motivation to participate rises significantly if they are allor,vcd to choose the actual 'content' words to use: the contributions, written or spoken, become less predictable and more interesting. As an example, supposing you want to practice adverbs of frequency'

One technique is to supply a sentence such as He has coffee for breakfast, and then ask students to inscrt the adverb always. The result is boring because it is predictable and of totally uninteresting content. But if students are asked to suggest all sorts of things they always or usually, or sometimes do when, say, they are feeling depressed; or when they have a free dav the exercise immediately becomes more interestigg for all participants
Example: Wlrat do yott do when ...?
Someone steals your things at the hostel You are grounded by your Parents. Your best friend talks behind your back.

Your sister likes to wear your dresses. Your teacher ignores you in class. True, it also nleans they have to find their orvn vocabulary: but usualiy they can manage with what they know and you can always supply the occasional new words as needed.

it is not true to say that all closed-ended tasks are boring. When you want to drill certain patterns that the learners still have difficulty in producing
However,

o1 their own, thcre is a place for actir,ities based on very controlled responses and these can be rr-Lade more interesting br r arr ilrg intonation, facial expression and gesture, bv thc usc of visuals, or t v inii..,j'-tcing garnc-like features such as competition, timc limits, role-play, jazz char-tS antl so on'

TOPIC

7

TEACHING GRAMMAR

7,6.4

Information Gap

The trarismission of nen- ideas from one participant to another does occur in most real-life langr-rage-based transactions; and n'hen this factor is built into a classroom language learning task, the effect is to add a feeling of purpose, challenge and authenticity which improve learner interest.

For exampie, learners are often asked to practice the interrogative by taking an answer and reconstructing thc question; a useful exercise for sharpening awareness of interrogative forms, but certainly'not outstandingly interesting. If, however, students interrogate each other in order to get the necessary information to fill out a form then they are asking questions whose answers they do not know in advance, but need in order to perform a task and their interest in both question and answer is likely to be much greater.

A variation of the 'information gap' is the 'opinion Bdp', where the
communication involves a transfer of ideas or opinions rather than facts. The interest generated by opinion-gap activities is similar to that of information-gap ones, but with the added feature of 'personalisation'.
7

"/ Personalisation denotes the use of interaction based on the students' personal experiences, opinions, ideas and feelings. Many textbooks seem to see the learners merely as potential containers of knowledge, and neglect to relate to them as individual people. This expresses itself in exercises which ask them only to do things such as to express objective facts, or to manipulate texts about unknown characters, 6r to discuss issues that do not touch their (the students') own lives. There is a lack of tasks demanding any kind of subjective judgment 'or individual variation. From an educational and moral point of view, I find these kinds of books uncongenial; it seems to me a basic tenet of good teaching that the teacher-student relationship should be built on the entire personalities of both teacher and student, like any other human relationship, not just on their language-teaching or language-learning faculties. But also from the point of view of interest, to faii to relate to the students'individual backgrounds, thoughts and feelings is to deprive ourselves of an excellent source of interesting activities.

.6.5

Personalisation

In an example of a non-personalised exercise, learners can be asked to practice present perfect forms by discussing hor,n' long something shown in a picture has gone on, or has been going on. This can be a useful, heterogeneous exercise providing ample use of the structtire. But a much higher level of interest is likely to result if we ask students to talk about thines th.ev tl-remselves have done or U
lravc been doing.

146

TOPIC

7

TEAIHING GRAMMAR

Example: I Lnue liued here for...

Their contributions are interesting not onlv bccause they are unpredictable and likely to be very varied and originai, but aiso because there is an element of personal investment. The students are'giving'of themselves to each other. There is an element of sharing, confiding, exchanging and giving suggestions. This not only raises the leve1 of attention to r.t'hat is said, it also tends to contribute to an atrnosphere of warmth and friendliness within the class.

A word of caution, howerrer: asking students to be very intimate or frank n'ith one another can sometimes carlse embarrassment or even distress; we have to be densitive to their personalities and relationships, and not ask them to 'give of
themselves'more than they feel comfortable doing. 7

.6.6

Pleasurable Tenslon

The reason n'hy most ganles are interestins is that they provide their audience rvith a feeling of pleasurable tension; and this feature can contribute also to the rrrteicst of language practicc activities.

A grammar practice activity should be presented to tl're class frankly as such, but may be made more enjoyable and interesting tordo by the introduction of an element of tension associated with game-playing. Such tension is enjoyable because it is rooted in the drive to achieve sorrle stimulating and clearly-defined objectirre, with the spice of uncertainty as to results, but without any threatening
real-life consequences attencling failure.

For example, if the class is shown a picture and invited to construct sentences about it using the present progressive, the objective is rather ill-defined, and there is no particular challenge involved. If, howevet we rephrase the objective:
"Construct twenty sentences about a picture using the present progressive, there is an immediate rise in tension and interest. We can increase it still further by introducing a time limit."

"Construct twenty sentences about the picture using tl-re present progressive within two minutes, and with an element of competition. For instance, which group can make thr: most sentences about the picture using the prcsent progressive iu two minutes?"
The factors r.vhich produce this kirrcl of pleastrrabie tension as illugtrated in the above exairrples are: the motivatiotr to 1'crforul a clearly defined, attainable but not toci easl. task; the addcrl ciralleng..::aitsetl by the introductjon of ertra constraints arrrl rules, such as a tirr-re irnrii, ti',': tit'ive to compete with others clr

TOPIC

7

TEACI-1I:.: :F,,!.N,lMAR

with oneself, as in activities based on breaking one's or\-n previous record. One
other useful generator of tension is the unexpected: n-hat is going to happen next, and wili they be able to cope with it?

7

.6.7

Entertainment

Another source of interest is sheer entertainment: the reception or creation of ideas or graphic forms that are in some rvay aestheticaiiy pleasing or amusing, or both. Listening to stories or songs or r,r'atcl-ring iilms or plays or television programs can obviousiy give pleasure; perhaps more effective for our purposes are those activities where the entertainment is supplied bv the students' own
contributions.
Exercises that are based on combining or comparing ideas not usually juxtaposed can produce all sorts of amusing results. For example, in Desert island equipment, where participants have to find reasons to justify using unexpected and incongruous articles on a desert island.
',

straightforward brainstorming procedure often produces entertaining contributions such as the use of an object: pen, hairbrush, knife, a

Apparently

a

i

battery, a transparency, etc. Here, students get pleasure from both composing and hearing (or reading) original ideas like, how n\arry things can you think of that you might/could do with a pen. More serious, but equally pleasing, results can be obtained from activities like: Cooperative poem, where students contribute ideas connected to a centrai theme, and these are all put together to form a free-verse composition. Sometimes providing entertainment can become the main objective of student contributions to a task, instead of a pleasing by product. In a variation on modal Symbols, for example, students compete to see who can suggest the most original or amusing interpretation of an obscure symbol.

l
I

7.6,8

Play Acting
I

Learners often enjoy 'being' someone else, or being themselves in an imaginary situation that is a temporary departure from reality, incidentally, is not only a means of motivating learners to participate, it is also a very effective way of widening the range of language available for use: if the students are acting the roles of expiorers in the jungle, or soldiers in an army, or young children arguing with adults, they will be able to use varieties of language not usualiy appropriate for learners in the classroom, There is a difference betrt een role-play, rvhcre cach student takes on a particular personality for an indivitlual purpose, and simulation, rvhere the entire group

I
I

148

TOPIC

7

TEACHING GRAMMAR

may be is talking through an imaginary situation as a social unit though the two combined. Either *uy prorride a framewclrk for some excellent grammar practice, both controlled and free, for example: Dialogues, Election campatgn'

Many information-gap and opinion-gap activities can function fat more interlstingly and eifectirrely if given the added dimension of a simulated

non-classioo* situation. For example, exchanges based on giving and taking

can be made can be given the imaginary context of shopping or problem-solving more immediate if the participants role-play the people involved.

-ffi

LEARNERS' ACTIVATION

A well-designed grammar practice activity should be based on a task that has and it clear objectives aid involves active use of the structure being practiced; chclice of topic, shoulcl maintain learner interest and motivation through careful
and the like' use of information-gap procedures, role-play, Personalisation,
class But.much of the effect of all this may be lost on a large proportion of the of its if wd do not do something to ensuie maximum, balanced participation listening members. When the activitY is based on writing or silent reading, or on by all the class to a central source of spoken text, then participation is less of a problem, all the students are, potentially, equally actir,4ted.

However, the problem arises when we want them to speak and this haPPens as in most classroom exercises. How do we activate learners in such a way that many of them participate in oral work? not only The way learners are activate'd when performing an exercise, may affect involvement, tt-," urrro.rnt of participation, but also the level of motivation and and the learning ,ralue of the practice given; and here we are talking about are reading, writing and listening aswell as speaking. Some modes of activation of practice' more Jppropriiie and efficier* than others for certain types or stages
to the In this topic, I shall describe some techniques of learner activation available for various teacher and try to assess the advantages and disadvantages of each are set out in teaching situaiions or kinds of practice actiYities. The techniques first trvo, which the order in which they are likeiy to be used in teaching. In the response, it is the teacher are based on language reception with little or no iearner who does most, or tn" language production, and coutrols learner activit)'.

ln one-to-one teacher-student exchanges thc most common form of classroom active activation, the tcacher is stil1 dominant' but there is increasinglv

further participation on thc part of the learners' il'''s i.articipatiot-r increases still in btait',stonning or 'chain' techniqut's: i-'i in most forms of Pair or grouP

TOPIC

7

TEACHIi'JG GRAMMAR

work, nearly all the actual language production is in the hands of the learners, the teacher merely providing instructions and materials and acting as monitor
and helperi

7 .7

."1

Reception with No Overt Responses

initial presentation of grammar is conducted through presenting learners the structures rvitl^Lin a written or spoken context. This technique can be used to provide some very useful practice at the early stages. Listening to or reading large amounts of 'compreher-rsible input'is far from passive process and arguably
one of the best ways to familiarise learners rvith acceptabie forms, certainly one of the most natural and simple. Its use is most effective in situations where the learners are young, or learn better through intuition than through intellect, and where there is plenty of time available - as in a 'totai immersion' type of course. Texts used for simple exposure in this way should be selected or composed to present instances of the grammatical structure being learnt in as natural a context as possible: an advertisement, for example, is likely to produce instances of comparative and superlative adjectives. Such texts can later serve as models for compositions, or bases for interactive tasks.

,

However, silent listening or reading by studelts can be boring, especiallv if the topic is uninteresting and it provides no opportunity for the teacher to monitor their learning whether they are in fact engaging with the language or not? Sometimes you can tell simply through 'body language'; but it is easier if ther. have to give some overf response.

7,7,2

Reception with Minimal Response

Making responses helps learners to concentrate on the exercise as a whole and focuses their attention on the particular points being taught. In minimal-response activations the learners are given a written or spoken text which may be an isolated sentence or a longer passage of discourse and asked to react to some aspect of it by physical gesture, brief answers, or written symbol.
Discrimination exercises, for example, where the learner picks out examples of specific items: looking' at advertisements come under this category, also, those requiring brief physical or verbal responses to questions, like Bingo nrtd Simon
savs.

But of course there is still no production by learners of the grammatical structure in full-sentence contexts.

150

TOPIC

7

TEACHING GRAMMAR

7,7"3

Teaeher-student Exchanges

ciassroonl is the The most common kind of verbal interaction in the question or elicits asks a teacher-sfudent '7ting-pottg' exchange: the teacher
approves or corrects and asks again' responses, a stud'ent"respi.td?, Jh" Lacher reaction' ur-roth". student responds, and there is a chain

answer together as are the The choral response is where two or more students or dialogues iu respotlse 'performar-r."r', rvhere stuclents rccite longer given texts focus of'attention, and is in full to teacher requests. Essentiali,v, the teache"r is the control of learner resPonses' stage of practice when This technique is most convenient to use at an early producing acceptable .,'ou wish to make sure that the learners are hearing and of teacher i;.;.r, b.,t it has its ciisadvantages. There is usually a high proportion cues tend the learners' Also' the talk but relatively little langrug" productiott bT. very useful practice for very to be geared to a single leiel,-thus, not providing is 'closed' to acl'a'r.J,1 members of the ilott' Since each exchange slo*, or to listen to 'ery participation by other members of ttre class, they often do not bother

:;;h;ilr;r

is iost' r"rpor-,ses and auother potential source of learning

where theJearner writes the answers The parallei in r,vriting is a textbook exercise /s ho*ework can provide a to a series of questiorl", o. cues. These exercises given useful controlicd follow-up to a classroom cxercisc'

7

,7,4

Student-Teacher Exchanges

'ping-pong', where the student initiates There is also the possibility of a reverse is a useful technique which is rarely the excha'g", u^d the teacher responds. This ;;;, N"rf",Xp, because teachers io not like to forgo the initiative' Its advantage utterances and provide good is that while the teacher can still monitor learnersr themselves can decide on the content' models of acceptable grammar, the learners of their contributions, and i^itiate their u*-r-, id.'os. Because of the originality mole than in the conventional students tend to listen to each other much ;;;;;-p""g, described above This technique is particularly good for practicing interrogative torms'
7 .7

,5

Brainstorm

rvhich serves as the cuc In a brainstorm, the studeirts arc girren a single stinrulus a question with ple'ty of for a large n'mbcr of re-cponr"r. th" stimul-r. t-tlar-be c'mme*ted
to be describecl' .r possibie o,-rr,,"..r, Vlhnt ,li ,tu, tlo uilrcn'.'; or ;-icir'irc biicf tt'r: i:-':t car' be expanded On or askecl abotlt; or a phrase Or :ttl'-l-' \,vavs; or a probiem tlctnatrding diverse

in differeni

TOPIC

7

TEAII-1.1. GP"AMMAR

The advantages of this technique are that ther prrrr-ide a larger volume of productive ianguage practice on the part of ti-re learners relative to the contribution of the teacher. Also, they allow str-idents tL) compose utterances at
levels convenient to them. Furthermore, they encourage originality and humour, and many brainstorming activities produce interesting and amusing results.
The wide range of possibilities open to the participants and the fact that many of them are original and entertaining means that students tend to be motivated to contribute and the activity usually moves forrt'ard briskly, with a high'density' of learner participation.

However, the very openness of the exercise and the emphasis on learner initiative may sometimes confuse and embarrass students who are more used to being told exactly what to say. In such cases, it is important to define very clearly the kind of response required, and use the more confident and imaginative students to provide some initial examples. Also, participants may not know the words they need to contribute new ideas: so you can either supply these as requested, or provide a 'pool' of useful words at the begiruring. But as far as possible, learners should be encouraged to make do with what they know.
Brainstorms can be given as written work as well, in class or for homework assignments; or written and oral work can be combined, as when learners are t 1 r 1 ,7 I 1 rr asked first to note down all the ideas they can tKink of and then to share them.

7,7.6

Chain

As in a brainstorm, instruction and an initial cue are given by the teacher, resulting in a large number of responses by the learners. The difJerence is that
whereas in a brainstorm ail these responses' relate to the original cue, in a chain 'only the first does, and there after each learner utterance is made in response to the one before. The simplest form of this is question-and-answer: A asks B a question, who answers and then asks C something, using the same, or a parallel, formula:
V\4rat do you like doing in your free time, B?

I like dancing. What do you like doing, C?
I like olaying tennis. What do you like doing,D? ...

Like the brainstorm, this technique produces a high proportion of learner talk, while allowing the teacher to monitor. There is usually solne flexibility of
response, giving students a chance to express individuality. In'cumulative chain', each student has to repeat ali the prerrious corrtributions, before makirrg his or her

own addition.

152

TOPIC

7

TEACHING GRAMMAR

Even if the actual responses are fairly controlled in form, the interaction in general is more learner-centered. Here, the students' attention is on each other rather than on the teacher or the board.

In writing, the chain technique provides a legitimate framework for a favourite sfudent pastime. Inpassing notes, papers are passed from one student to the next, each one contributing a further step to the story, description. The advantage of the written chain is that the whole result is often entertaining or aesthetically
plcasing.

For the types of interaction described above, only one learner has

been

speaking af a time, allowing the teacher to monitor all utterances. However, if slveral interactions are being carried on simultaneously in class, the amount of productive practice carried on is greatly increased, due to direct teacher control lf learner language. Thus, interactions of this type are useful when you are fairly csnfident that lcarners can produce acceptable instances of the structure without
Lrrompting.

7

.7',7

Fluid Pairs
a

The basic idea for

transaction-based exchange between two students is provided by the teachet often in the form of a prescribed dialogue. Each learner performs only one transaction with a partner, and then goes on to do the same with another. For example, in a beginner class, the simple dialogue is used by 'buyers' and 'sellers' in a shopping simulation, aS the 'buyers' move around trying to acquire the different items on their shopping lists.

A: B:

Do you have. .. ?
Yes, I do, here you are.

No, I'm sorrY, I don't have any.

If the information provided in the exchange is based on individual tastes or
opinions, then the same question will produce differcnt answers with different p^eopie, so there is some point in asking it again. Some activities, for example, are based on doing a mini-survey: Opittiort questiottnoire'

Here, learners go from one to another of their classmates to find out the answers to their questlons. The fluid-pair techrrique provides arl extremely useful framewori fot repetition, with a commuuicatir,e purpose, of set qucstions or exchanges. it is another under-used one: in this case possibly because of the fear by teachers that the large amour-rt of verbal ir-rteraction and physical morrentent will result i1 a loss of control. In my,- erpcri:nce, students doing a fluid-pair: exercise can be very noisy. Hence, it is a {rri-r.i ttlrta ttt have a beii or some trther prearranged signal for stoPPing.

IOPIC

7

TEACHING GMMMAR

7.7,8

Semi-controlled Small Group Transaction

The teachd provides a 'skeleton' dialogue, or idea ior a conversation, which the learners perform in pairs or small groups. The language to be produced by students is semi-controiled: that is to say, they are told to make use of certain patterns or kinds of sentences, but the exact content is left up to them. Usually such transactions are based on an information gap taskFor example, students may give each other directions or commands or request specified information. This can be done in writing, agatn through passing notes or short letters in a kind of intimate and immediate correspondence.

d,

This is a very effective type of activation for students who are well on the way to mastering the structure. You do, however, have to be very sure that they know what they have to do, and why, and that they have the language (lexical as weil as grammatical) necessary to do it. Thus it is usually a good idea to do a preliminary full-class 'rehearsal' of the task before dividing students into groups to try it on their own.
7 .7

.9

Free Group Discussion

This is the least controlled form of interaction/The teacher gives a task whose performance is likely to involve use of the grammatical structure being practiced, and simply lets the students get on with it, with minimum intervention. Sometimes students move from one kind of grouping to another within the same activity, as when a task done in small groups is later assessed in a full class
discussion

This is perhaps the most advanced type of communicative grammar practice: if 'the students succeed in using the structure correctly and appropriately in group discussions, you can be fairly sure that they have mastered it, at least in its spoken form.
The follow-up, or parallel-writing, though lacking the element of interaction is a free creative essay. Again, it is up to you (teacher) to choose a topic and setting that will be likely to generate use of the structures being practiced.

You notice that only few students in your class were participating actively in your classroorn activities. Are you going to stop them and
get other students to be more active? \AIhy?

154

TOPIC

7

TEACHING GRAMMAR

characterised To summarise, effective practice procedures, then, are usually by the feafures of pre-learning, volume and repetition, success-orientation, exercise may hlterogeneity, teacher assistance and interest' Any particular specific of course iack one or more of these and stiil be effective in gaining is likely to become oblectives; but if too many of them are absent, the exercise a virtual test, and provide little learning value'

we have also read that effective grammar teaching

comes with good so on' work, characteristics of lesson objectives, visual focus, group .and of grammar in language i,V" il"" looked at topics connected with the place have considered teaching and how it may, or should, be taught; and we of language practice, within the context of grammar teaching'

;;;"

aJpects

& 4 6 8 * e 4 &&

* @ & &%&

& & & @ & 6 @& I q &4&

4 q & 44&

HeteiogeneitY

Overt
Transaction

Incite isolation

l.
L.

\Mhat is an information gaP?

Why do we exPloit the visual focus? Why do we have tests? spoken Practice techniques involve of language items and discourse' input or

3.
,l

or written

*@4@8444@&4A444@4&A

learning. A teacher should give assistance to students' in their

(a) V\hat does this mean? (b) Why should we not give too much assistance? (c) What is the ultimate goal in girring assistance?

TOPIC

7

TEACHING GRAMMAR

Malaysian schoois often use volume and repetition.

(a) {hen can we use this form of practice? (b) What does it do? (c) The principle of repetition has two not easily combined
thev?

parts.

\{hat

are

Te$e F" Developing
Practical

Activities for Grammar
Structures

INTRODUCTION
Raising Duncan by Chris Browne

t wvtlt.* L*VE e ffi{€ *{E€ *F : *aaalg #*a6 ** e ?g6;r$ €f€ 6g{e* &A${g ry{&? #r'l * fg6te FrF sf1r i Wr*t & WLL?F n{ g&v*&v
'. T#*ii€tr4* !5*,4#p

WYY

we*'7 T*a
S+ttT

11'5 ffi88€ r$# &t wef-

v*e*4ft*6, S&ugx4ft**T

5*t#

e*{€r{,r

tn**

&tx {e*

g*u*tt|?

Cag,gight vi ?C:22

ab:?Ztz'j

Fe:iu" a ;.-*,:r-:.:rr. -.:.

Source: lritp:

TOPIC

9

FOR DEVELOPING PRACTICAL ACTIVITIES

STRUCTURES

teaching approaches rvhich focus on ,rnd language educators have favoured t" urg students to 3"utf'" language ::1:-1 it' acquire':, rhe approacires to languase

*ff:

iY,:,i:'"'"t iJ;;';m-"?a"i1o

::.::::lll:ti.tilT;Ji::

:hing is

in which analysing mo'e rlnon practices, and the rise in popularitliof fT""L?1;*:i;t"age use over rules oi lu'''gt'uge usage (\\riddowson' 1e7B)'

ou,"..,uiil% t*^;1ir'.3#'l:"tr**:,:l:ilTiir:Tilt"i:lf; this :H:, [, ,ffi.1;#,';"11.;'ic"i..-rrn"-* ,1s7s). An examl,le or the shirt, 1":;;+'1"?:'it "^i"ti'",:T*:-I;i::t#Xt is e in the opposite il;"i"" the structures a*d applying rules were

;ilffiJJlipiou.tt,

tt::1ti;::n::::$;$:

LANGuAGETEACHINGMETHoDoLoGY
devote a significant amount of following three language teaching methods among students (Larsen-Freeman/ ;room time to promoting communication
) e

methods are:

Co*-.rnitY

Language Learning

SuggestoPedia

Communicative APProach

for grammatical re Natural Approach explicitly refrain class time

analysts'

:iegatinganywhichdoes:"":.;-i:1",*:ii":::::X^,*""0-";:';'i:.::r:H1 and necessarv condit:"_T. j::,"uccessrul

$?:ltrr:ill"" ii;, the onry surricient learning i'" that learners receive
rond

:i';:l:r'iffirffi;;';;;,ldv.
":;;;;i;'

,".eptite"to the inpui (Krashen .^--^l rho .,r"a to believe that ir students learned the take care i'xrrm, communi.uiion i'xrrm' cL)rltrrtL't.i'i:;" would somehow if llTllilT-,:?..:T1^,1fi mastery of the forms will
:rective state make them
,;elieve that if students somehow learn to communrce tte' ;:ke care of itself" (P' 319)'

language and that the learners' .,illinil'f#ia'il;;':"".il, ,"g" or deverofr"", ::Tn-l*t;li:,lli.T and Terrell' 1983)'

learners' form does not take care i-;key (1983) further postulatecL that for many manner possible. In addition, researcher :i itself, at least not in the most effective up ihe instruction of syntax is to lienemann (1984), concluded that "giving form" (7984' p' 209)' :,low for the fossilization of interlariguug! i" simplifiedfor untuto.red second . i.rus, while comprehe*sible input i-tuf U" adequatethat instruction should ,-ro,-'r-r".essari1y foliow -enguage acquisition, it c1oe, shtlrt, the motivation for :c limited to u,hat is necessary and suffici"ent. In fr-rr effective and efficient conditions .inguage instruction is to create thc optimal & Long' 1990)' -: fiedagogy (Larsen-Freeman

ToPIC9DEVELoP|NGPRACTlCALACTiV|T|ESFoRGRAMMARSTRUCTURES<

171

Grammar, which has received a short shift for a decade or so, is once again receiving recognition. Perhaps we can take a modest step in the direction crf mainJaining baiance. Ib do so, we must come to a wider understanding of rvhat it rneans to teach grammar. Opponents of a larrguage-anaiytic approach have equated the teaching of grammar with the teaching of explicit iinguistic rules. We agree that r,t'hether or not the students are provided with ."ili.it rules is reallv irrelevant to what it means to teach grammar. Neither should the teaci-ring of grammar require a focus on form cxr structuls zlone. Itunc1amentall1,, communicative competence should be seen as to subsume linguistic competence, not to rcplace it. We assert that linguistic acctrracy is as *.t".n a part 1ri .o^*.rnicative competence as being able to get one's meaning across or to communicate in a socio-linguistically appropriate manner. In short, teaching grammar means enabling language students to use linguistic forms accurately, mcaningfully and appropriately'

The
a)

b)

The

tai

9,2
'

A THREE-DIMENSIONAL GRAMMAR
FRAMEWORK
(b)

The three-dimensional grammar ftamertork (Celce-Murcia 1997:780), serves as a guide in constructing orl-upptouch to teach grammar. it takes the form of a pie chart i"h.r" its shape helps us to make clear the fact tp'at tn dealing with the complexity of grammar there aie three dimensions of languAge that must be dealt with:

(a) Form or structures (b) Semantics or meaning (c) Pragmatic (practical) conditions governing their use.
is The dirnensiols are not hierarchically arranged. The arrows short' that there in any . interconnecteclness between the three dimensions, as a matripulation climension wiil have an effect on tl're other two'

Reg

toI
-1

app

\+L\:

{a)
1b)

In the i,r'edge of the pie, having to do r,r,ith structure, we have the noticeable fornrs that de.otes l-row a particulir gramrnar structure is constructed. Iu semantic, we cleal u.rith ',r,hat a grammar structure IneaIlS, that the meaning can be iexical (a dictiopary definititln for a prepr-.sitrorr like dorurt fclr instarrce) or it can be It grammati.ui 1".g., tl-re conditional state.s both a condition ancl outct-rme or result' distinct frortr semantjcs' anci i"r rr"ry clifficultict arrive at a deiinitton trf prragmatics ail aspects thus r,r,e agree with Ler.inson's sr-rggestitrn tl'.at pragrr'atics deals lt'ith "the study of those of mcanirig. li,-,0u"\rer:,'//e lvill limi: pragmatics to mean glammatic;rlised, or encOded in relatio*s bctn'een iangtiage and ct r-,i.'..: ti',.rt are q) tlre structui'e of a languaze" (Levil-'-":-' . -''l P

rc)

174

TOPIC

9

DEVELOPING PRACIICAL ACTIVITIES FOR GRAMMAR STRUCTURES

The term "context", has trvo meanings:

(a)

Context can be social (i.e., a context created by intercutors, their reiationship to one another, the setting)
a

(b) Lingustic discourse context (i.e., the language that precedes or follows

particular strucfure in the discourse or how a particular genre or register of discourse affacts the use of a structure).
The influence of pragmatics can be determined by posing tvt'o questions:

(a) . \A4ren/why does a speaker/writer select a specific grammar structure over another? For example, what factors in the social context might explain a paradigmatic choice such as why a speaker chooses a yes-no question rather than an imperative to serve as a request for information (e.g., Do you haae small change? vs. Please lend me some small change). Or what presupposition about the context would a speaker hold who used a negative yes-no question, rather than an affirmative one? (b)

.;Wf,en/why does a speaker/writer contradict the form of a particular -linguistic structure? For instance, what linguistic discourse factors would
result in a syntagmatic choice such as the indirect object being placed to create Swee Tin gave Hashim a red bag versus Swee Tin &afe a red bag to Hnshim?

of the thin boundaries between the dimensions, it is advantageous to perceive grammar from these three perspectives. The advantageous of this approach will become clearer as we proceed.
Regardless
1

A teacher of grammar may ppse the following questions:
(a)

How is it formed?
What does it mean?

(b)
(c)

\tVhen/why is it used?

T
ToP|C9DEVELoP|NGPRACT|CALACT|VlT|ESFoRGRAMMARSTRuCTURES<
1[

76

t
I

I

Hsvr ic it fo<med?

l I
I

1

Figure 9.1: Form, meaning and pragmatics S ource: Celce-Mur cia, 1997 :280

Let us take an example. A common structure to be taught at a high beginning 'level of English proficiency is the possessive form.

*o

$$*t*

FORM OF POSSESSIVg

.rE
I

The forming of possessives in English requires inflecting regular singular nouns and irregular plural nouns not endin I in / s / wtth /'s / or by adding an apostrophe after the- /s/ ending of regular plural nouns and singular nouns ending in the sgund /s/. Tihts form of the possessive has three allomorphs: /z/, /s/, and /n/ w11ichare phoneticdlly conditioned: /z/ is used when it occurs after voiced cbnsonants ancl voweis, /s/ following voiceless consonants, and after sibilants.

lf

i

MEANING OF POSSESSIVE

predominantly, most languages have a technique to indicate possession but they do not all regard the same items as possessable. For example, Spanish speakers refer to a body part using the definite article, instead of a possessive form. ESL/EFL studenti will have to learn the semantic scope of the possessive form in English. Besides possession, the possessirre form can indicate description h cleitor's prison), amount (a nontlls holiday), relationship (Hnshim's ruife), part/whole (n4/brother's hond), and origin/agent (Shakespenre's tragedies).

TOPIC

9

DEVELOPING PRACTICAL ACTIVITIES FOR GRAMMAR STRUCTURES

Figure 9.2; The forming of possessive in English

I

PRAGMATICS OF POSSESSIVE
A possessive determiner (his, her, and their); an

English possession can be expressed in two ways:

With the of the form (e.g., the legs of the table).
the ;essive determiners (e.g., his, her, and their) are most likely used when "distinct form, while from the context. As for the of the rent of the possesro, i, is used /EFL books will often offer the rule that says that the possessive r nonhuman head nouns and 's with human head nouns, we are aware of in pragmatic conditions where this rule does not apPly. For exampie, native kers of"ten prefer to use the 's even with inanimate head nouns if the head rns are performing some action (e.g., the train's qrrianl was delayed). Ftnally, dents *ill hurr" to"learn to differentiate contexts in which a noun compound forme leg) is more suitable than either the 's form or the of the

sequently, by using the ternary scheme, we can classify the facts that affect form, *!u.,irg, uid ,m" of the possessive structure. The articulation and ification of the facts is only a first step. Teachers do not have to teach all I facts to students. To recommence, iet us apply our approach to another ammar structure: phrasal verbs. We can state the following about phrasal verbs nalysis basecl Llpon Celce-Murcia & Larsen-Freeman, 1983).

ToP|CgDEVELOPINGPRACTICALACI-|V|TIESFoRGRAMMARSTRUCTURES

PHRASAL VERBS
Verb + Particle (or)

the

-m
AS

Par
(e.t

Verb + Particle + Preposition Transitive/Intransitive
Separable/Inseparable Stress and ]uncture Patterns

the

Figure 9.3: Phrasal Verbs

In pt

9.6,1

Form

of

Phrasal Verbs

m ar

(e'g'' to consisting of a aerb and a particle Basically, phrasal aerbs are two-part aerbs 'look up). Sometimres, they can constructed utiti three parts, in that a preposition -'be with)- lust li,ke other aerbs, phrasal aerbs are can follow the particie 1e.g., to k:"p up in many of of phrasal aerbs is .that(e'8'' transitive or intransitiue. A prominentihorort'rrirtic Adlin its aerb by an interoening obiect them the particle ,o, u, sep'arated from phrasai aerbs also haae distinctive stress and looked the word up in the dictionary). plus preposition combinations: juncture patterns, ifticLt distinguishes th'em from aerb

N ol

Pi

I

G

Adlin looked uP # the word' Adlin walked # uP the street'

d,

s(

d,

9.6,2

Meaning of Phrasal

Verbs

i

Thereareliteralphrasalverbs,suchastohangup,where.ifoneknowsthe it is nrlt difficuit to figure out the mearring oi the ve,b or tlre particle or both, EsL/EFL student
uniortu'atel;4, for the meaning of the verb-particle combinati.n-

178

f:ere are far more instances of tigurative phrasal verbs (e.g., to rttn into, meaning , by chance") where a kl --,i.,leJge of the meaning oi the. r'erb and of the 'eet prrticie is of little help in disce:r-u:-.g the meaning of the phrasal verb. Moreover, ;s with single-word verbs, phrasal r,erbs can have more than one meaning ie.g., to come across, meanini to tliscor,er by chance" or to make an impression"), lre"latter meaning occurrins rr-hen tl-ie phrasal verb is used intransitively.

Fill

the blanks n

suitable phrasal verbs
Phrasal Verbs

Types of Phrasal Verbs

Meaning

literal phrasal

rrerbs

figurative phrasal verbs
ohrasal verbs can have more than one meaning

9,6.3

Pragmatics

of Phrasal Verbs z

in what context is a phrasal verb preferred to a single-word verb? Generall,v, thrasal verbs is more common in informal spoken discourse compared to :nore formal written discourse. V\4een is one form of a phrasal verb preferred to
another; i.e., when should the particle be separated from its verb?

encounter difficulties with the meaning dimension of phiasal verbs. There is no systematic way of associating the verb and the particle. In fact, new phrasal verbs are constantly being created.

\ormally ESL/EFL students

e:i

THE LEARNING PROCESS
it is skill

Grammar teachir-Lg is not so much knowledge transmission as

Cevelopment. By recognising this, we can take advantage of several insights from second language acquisition (SLA) research concerning how students naturally Cevelop their ability to interpret and produce grammatical utterances.

ii

ToP|C9DEVELoP|NGPRACTlCALACTIVlT|ESFoRGRAMMARSTRUcTURES<

180

9,7,1

Three Particular Insights are Relevant

to Our Topic

9,7

Below shows three particular in insights relevent to this topic.

(a) Learning is a step-by-step process involving the mapping of form, meaning and pragmatics; structures do not emerge in learners
inter-language fuiiy developed and error-free. To expect that they will do so in an instructional setting is therefore unrealistic. It is more effective to recycle vanolis aspects of structures constantly.

\or
and
'"reri
',r.hi,
-essr

In general, learners do not learn structures one at a time. It is not the

case

that a learner masters the definite article, and when that is mastered, moves on to the simple past. From their first encounter with the definite article, learners might master one of its pragmatic functions - e.g., to signal the uniqueness of the following noun phrase. But even if they are able to do this pragmaticaliy appropriately, it is not likely that learners will always produce the definite article when needed, because learners typicaily take a long time bcfore they are able to do this consistently.

;he is li acti' reia acql

(b)

structure, \,\/c can find backsliding manifests when new forms are introduced to the learners'inter-language. For example, the learner who has acquirCd competence on the third person sifigular marker on present-tense verbs is likeiy to over generalise the rule and apply it to newly emerging model verbs. Thus, teachers should not be disheartened at similar regressive
behaviour exhibited by their students. Well-formed-ness is usually reinstated once the nen additions have been incorporated and the system reanalysed

Sometimes, rvhen learners seem to have acquired competency on a specific

1

1.

(c) '

Normaiiy, second language learners depend on the knowledge and the experience they possessed. If they are beginners, they will depend on the L2. Accordingly, there is no need to teach everything about a structure to a group of students; rather, the teacher can build upon what the students already know. Also, the chailenging dimension for a given grammatical structure r,vili change from class to class depending on the students' L1 backgror-rnds and level of L2 proficiency. Effective teaching implies identifying the appropriate challenge for a specific group of students.

3.

1.

A

(

Different aspects of language require different learning processes. In rcviewing a learning taxonomy from Gagne (1965), it is er.ident that a variety of types of learnir-rg lead to tlastery of a seconcl langttage. Cagne's taxononry is prturc towards behavior,irist learning, heirce rr'e ct'u1d anticipate languagc learning examples for iirc types of learning in ii. \itrr.c inrportairtly, the fact that,diffcrent lcarrring ilrocesscs contribute to SLA rirr -s'-15,.r treecl for thc teaching process to a dcircss; tlre t'l ifftrcnccs.

f-r

.il

: :-

180

TOPICgDEVELOPINc'Fl]-.CALACT|VITIESFoRGRAMMARSTRUCTURES

;

9,7 ,Z

Practicing Grammar Structures: Designing Act'ivities

three phases; presentation' practice' )Jormally, glammar ls5$1r11S comprise be conducted within one class if-ttt" *oy (althou-th and communication '-toi activities "ff and :lt*4r^f,ingphase of a If is effective to collcelrtrate on charicterising reriod). phase' GenErally' the practice ,,vhich could be used durir-rg tne p'uttice proven qraillrnar dri-lls' Hor'vever' since studies harte .esson is devoted mostir- tO there tlrilis as it does not actirlatc stud.ents, attcntion, :he ineffectrveness clf r'rsing to do J"ti'-'g the practice stage of a less.n' 'ractice is limited guidance o,', ,ulit of language they will be discr,rssecl ir-, ter*, o"f *hi.l-r dimension activrties of learning types applied in the to. Tabie 9.1 present, Cogr-,";r-Tu*o'-'o*y relate acouisition of the E'nglish Language'
Types Table 9.1: Gagne's Taxonomy of Learning
Types of Learning Aspects of English Addressed

1.

.signal Learning: Thele is a relationship 6Jt*,""r-, a signal (conditioned stimulus) and an involuntary resPonse (e'8'' "learned" Pnztlozis experintent ruhere n dog to sciliztste uponhe'ating nbell)' Stimuius-ResponsesLearning:Learntng involving is acquired through a process shaping and reinforcement' Chaining: The link of two or more Prlor learned stimulus-resPonse cQnnecrrons'
Verbal Association (verbal chains)

No clear relationship witl'r the acquisition
of language.

7. 3. 4.

A student learns hort' to pronounce
teacher's cue.

an
a

to unfamiliar English word in response

Students learn

utterances , e.8-,"Hout are you?" following

to

produce formulaic

item (e'g'' that's tight' (e.g., house) or a function tl-rrough associating, it r't'ith f Jor" rgrerrrnz ) either and L1 translation or real world

Stud.ents

learn a vocabularY

referent.

Multiple Discrimination: Being abie to distinguish among various verbai
chains.

A student iearns to descriminate FIag from banler, Inbel , utettke'n' etc'' or to

ciistinguish one exPonent for a particular function from another (e'g thut's right versus I agree, of cottrse, zuhtl nrtt?) for expressing agreement'

leart-is that prerrcrbal adverbs 6. Concept Learnin5i: Categorising A studerrt of fre.1-terrcv trigger- subiectthr:n in L.nglish

itenrs into specific group and ger-reralising about thc group'

at,xiliarv invei'..siorl 1e'g'' Nci'r't'bt'fort lurv
srr,/r -sgdlr rl slglli
).

I

ToPlC9DEVELoP|NGPRACTICALACTlV|TIESFoRGRAMMARSTRuCTuRES<

182

7.

Principle learning: Students learn that fronted negative. Learning chains of concepts and ti'.e relationship between/
among them.

Students leam that fronted negative

preverbal adverbs of
A

trigge.r subject-auxilliary

frequency inversion.

lhen ,ctiv
,,ues

(e.g., lJrz;crbefore hnue I seen such n sight).

-prrei

'r '-'

Froblem solving: lntegrating olcl principles irto new oncs to solvc
problerns. What emerges is a higherorder principie established thror,igh art "inductirre ieap."

student learns the principle that nen, information tends to occur toward the end of the sentence in English and old information toward the beginning of a st-ntcnce explaining a lot of prerriously uiraccounted-for structures in Engiish (e.g existential there) or rvord-order
phenomena (e.9., indirect
obj ect

itud
-,1 q]

:neal
.r.,

.tudt

..l, - t LrLil

alternotion).

9.7
)
:!-.
"..t

9.7 "3

Forms

Iloutinely, activity characteristics depend or-r the nature of the learning process arrd of the learning challenge. Take for irrst;rnce, n hen dealing with the formai .din,ension of grammar, the major learning processes involved \ /ould be Stimulus-response learning for phonemic patterns and verbal chaining or prirrciple learning for morphemes or sytrtactic patterns. Normal1y, stimulusresponse learning involves learning to pror-Iounce an unfamiliar word. Additionally, chaining and principle learning afe applicable learning processes for morphology and syntax since n,hat we are attempting to have our students learn is to comprehend and produce either verbal chains between morphemes /words or rule governed syntactic patterns.

J7 3

IX

lh
*
u'

--:* -Y

.4
.:-:,
I

Also, by identifying the type of learning assist teachers to think about the
favourable characteristic3 of a practice activity. For instance, for a verbal chain to be learned or a principle to be acquired would require a great deal of meaningful repetition. l-earners would have to reccive feedback c-in the accuracy with which they produced the target form. Finally, for a chairr to be acquired or a principle inferred/applied, it is important to concentiatc on only one form at a time, although, of course, the target forin could be introclucecl in contrast to forms that the student alreadv learned. demonstrate how these characterjstrc::rr'appiied, let us assume that n'e arc teaching Yes-lVo question formation trr ESL students. We rnight establisl-r the immediate chailenge to ber lin'guistrc ft)rl.Ir, basecl on the analvsis of the three dimensions and what o'r-tr studcr-rt.- f.no\t'. The first step in tlrc lesson is tlre presentation of the lingi-ristic rnie is,:r, inro1r-ing tl're bg r,erb arrd modals)-

-

.."..e
!-

d

Io

].,e -.]1
-:ll--a

W.'e haire scvelai opiions regarciing preser-itcc1 itrCr-tctiveiy or. cledu.fit-ci''

:t',--.r-rtation phase, the rule cor.ild be -i-it rlrlc coul,-i be rnadc explicit or

inrplicit

\32

TOPIC

9

DEVELOPiN.:

::

lr"1AR STRUCTU RES -aL ACTIVITI ES FOR GRAN'1

-ien, to plan the second (Pracil:. :-i-rase of the lesson, 1'e haye t3 select an the pattertl' l-tot verbatim -:ivity that cncourages meaninqfui repetition of ,,petition. We rt ant the St'.t;,::- r: it) cOncentrate on proclucing orrly yes-no to meet the criteria' J.rU";.r. A game like Tn-entr Questions would appear an obiect oI pelson in an attempt :rudents formulate 10 Yes-\o Questions about .,"..t. i.o.r'rers receive lots of practice in formulating guess the identity. In this each student to enable the :-eaningful questions. The teacher h'ould work with long as the patterlr rl.',L1ldte1)'. The game can be repeated for as
:i:udent producc

rrdcnts

re

main itricrt'stc'i'

9.7

,4

Questions

&4* 4l ..r?

r:#

'ef,r

ffi
f

€{{}tj€,,ff*tr *r?L"a1 tt:}?Jt *iLTt4{r'-!T t.1:9,\*,r',7\, }
j'i,{EEgn t:}t: 1 -..,t9

i.l. in t rtr' i{.r+ir'-l

's.L

L€&q!44#ey

?;y

l€ vE A-E '{ Lut 4ie "r|rt. I*€tT i*N, t'*4 Lt L€,lr,il i rtlg Aur r\.rr4€.q. j \+*..-'
:13
'.\7

4

-€.

ri,

E\ €,
ldtd;-

t{-,="

Source:httP. / / w t+' w.comics'com

structures when it is the formal Questions can also be used to elicit other a variation on the same Jimensior-r r,vith which the lesson is dealing. For example, Their resPonses (e'g'' If's game might be to harre students guess "whor. is it?" to practicc the Airrrt'S,lt's Srrrcsl t'5, It'S Snrnh's) liouid provicle an opportunity to the.gllesses r'r'ould three allomorphs oi the posscssive. Then, too, the responses i i i-s)' ,,ff., o good ieal of practice *'ith sirort f.rms (e'g', No, it isrt't ' )i'-s'

ToP|C9DEVELoP|NGPRACT|CALACT|VlT|ESFoRGRAMMARSTRuCTuRES<

184

Another example of a game which appears to meet the above criteria is the Telephone Game, which can be used to practice the forms of reported speech. One student would rt'hisper something to another student (e.g., "I'm happy it's Sundn!1").The second student would whisper to a third student rvhat he or she heard from the first student (Iskandnr said that he was happy it wns Sunday). Iskandar's message would be passed frorn one student to the next, rvith the last student reporting thc message out loud. What usually happens, of course, is that the original message has changed considerably during its passage aiong thc telephone. In order for the teacher to provicle feedback on accuracy to the students on their reported speech, it would be desirabie for each student to write down the message that she or he passes on'
Another examplc is a problem-solving activity. An example might be an activity wi1ere the students are given a class information sheet with certain items missing.
Name Age

Bab
Cttt

,irw: rufg

t+{r
I

Ir$*

-a&

M\ Rb,

ffi
-elc :imr

FFE

Country
Bolittig

Language
Spanish

Maior
Dentistry
Accounting

Hobby

i

Bcntriz Mttlttutmu:d

l8
19

-to
Going to Movies

: ilas

Algeria
France

,.)ml

iean Claude
18

French
.Education
Szrlss

I'ainting
Hiking

.rn

I

Brazil

--)ml

Werner

77

Business
'.1oj<
'.

Germun

Students could move around, questioning each other \\4r-questions to fill-in the chart. Another example yvould be a sentence-unscrarnbling task. This is a useful probiem-solving activity when the challenge is getting students to produce correct word orcler, such as when the objective is to have students use auxiliary verbs in the proper sequence.

-:tir

Iajc

9.8

MEANING
. -tn.
,-t
I

In the semantic (rneaning) dimension, a different sort of practice activity couicl

be planned. \A4ren working on the meanrng trf a prarticular grammar strttcture for e"ar11ple, verbal association, multiple discrimtnation, and concept learning could be conclucted. N{ost importantly, is to make t}re student learn to integrate the form with its meanilg ancl also to differcntrate the meaning of one particttlar fot'[-l from another. Hence, it is essential to irar.. rer-,eated practice to associate the fol'm a*d the meanilg. Sometirnes a single i-r.rrr.ir,: trf fortn and meaning is'suificient fclr a stuc-lent to rnake the bonci. Dtlt- i,\ll-.iilrrrj-\.constraints, it seems practical to limit tirc lunrbcr of ncrt'itcn-rs Lreirrg---i.:--.-it.-l at anyotrc tirne tci betrt'cen tn'o ancl six. Tlie str,rclcnts n,otitrd receir-e ie.J---:--.r,'1-, thcir abilit\t to dcmorrsi.rate that thcy havc acquircd the form-meanitrg :
-

,84

TOPIC

9

DEVELOPING -T

_iL

ACTIVITIES FOR

C1::.1','-P.

S

iRUCTURES

1[rby

Blues by Jerry Scott & Rrck
tlnt{$--

\':^man
t344rtJ,#,&W ttt*'
d\i$

rictsAtf
I?rt.

r* t4

tt&*A@trffi Etf#6 rt

5&t*P {&;€4L
r.1 q&hsf{r6'tt&Pt
n

t- 1gs;$t**l
3{Jtf
I ,
,

:,&i€?Cti ir+rAf ! !l&ti *{€ii 1 i€R$li{ T*!165,

I

{ a
Source: irttp : / / wwn.babyblues.com / index.php

1

--elce-Murcia and Hilles (1988), stated that when practicing rvith the semantic -mension, realia and pictures are very useful. An example taken from their work . to use pictures to teach thc semantics of comparatives. After a presentation ':rase in which students havc been presented with various forms for making rmplyisons in English (e.g., er than, as as/ nrore than, less than), students in be shown a pair of pictures for which they make meaningful statements of
-rmparison.
Formal
\ Iajor Learning processes

Semantic
Verbal association

Pragmatic Principle learning Problem solving

Stimulus-response
Verbal chaining/ Principle learning

\lajor type of practice rctivity

Muitiple discrimination.
Concept learning.
Associate form r,r,rith meaning. Discriminate one form from another.

Multiple
ctiscrimination.
Choose one form over anothcr

Meaiingful
repetition

lype of feedback given

Accuracy

Form-meaning match

Appropriateness

\umber of forms
.r'orked on at one time

1

2-6

'))
L-.

Source; Celcc Murcia, 1991:2E8

ToP|C9DEVELoP|NGPRACTlCALACT|ViTIESFoRGRAMMARSTRuCTURES<

Meanings can be highlighted by using actions. The first challenge for ESLI/EFL students to cornprehend prepositions is to associate the "core" meaning with each. Accordingly, a good strategy is to work with students by having them make an association between a preposition and its use in locating objects in space. For ilstance, to conduct a Total Physical Response sequence where sfudents act out a series of commancls together with the teacher whereby objects are placed in various parts of the room; e.g., Ptlt the book under the desk, Pttt the pencil on the desk, Put the pencil neor the door. Vlhen students demonstrated to have made the connection between form and meaning. the teacher can assess their ability to discriminate one form frorn the other by having them carry out commands on their own and by issuing differeirt commands e.g., Put the pen 0n the desk nnd assessing the 'students' ability to follow. Generally, it is a challenge for students' learning phrasal verbs for the meaning is not often noticed from combining the meaning of the verb with the meaning of the particle. One example of an activity that would address this semantic challenge is an operation (Neison & Winters, 1980). Flere, a sequence of separate actions is performed to accompiish some task. The teacher might issue .commands, or mime the actions with the students as she or he describes them.
First, look np the plnne nttmber. Then I utrite it down. I pick up the receiuer snd dinl the ntunber. The nttmber is busy I hang up and decide to '/ call back

I want to call try ttry fritnd.

I

latcr.

,1

With adequate practice, the students can learu to associate the form and meaning of certain phrasal verbs. If students are given an operation with which to associate phrasal verbs, recall at a later time will be enhanced. For evaluation purposes students might be given phrasal verbs out of sequence and asked to mime the appropriate action. This is followed by giving feedback on their ability to match form and meaning.

i

i

I

$ii$

PRAGMATICS

"The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice"
George Eliot
Errglish novelist (1819
Source: http: / / wwn'.qrr otetlcrl11.c- rg / quotes / 431 0

- 1890)

cs tcaching our students to bc able tcr select the right farm of a strtrcture for. a particular ccntext. Correspondingly, student:; will irc lranririg plilciples (e.:1.. rr-,ra.al vcrbs tencl to occur in infolmal contexts) anil rvill ire involvetl n-it'-, ii.r-'.rrir1 solrritrg (e.8., sortir-rg out an
Pragn"latic-. (practical ancl realistic),
trl..
:

irt

e

I

lL-

r86

iinbiguous social context to s..,cc: .r: appropriate form of greetlng). A1so, this ,'rli involve the type of learnir-,: kl-:tr\r-il as multiple discrimination, lvhereby -.,rdents will have to choose, frt-r-. ;11lilng the various rcPrcselriations, ttt suit the ::agmatic conditions of a gir-er' trrtr.text.
this way, suitable practice actrr rties r.vi1l provide sfudents u'ith an opportunity choose from two or more frrrnls for the one most appropriate for the context. :.udents would receir.e feedback on the appropriateness of their choice. :rmetimes, they have to cht'rose between two options (e.g., lt'lten to use the : rssive versus the active r-oice). Other times, their choice n'ould be flom among :1 array of options (e.g., rr'l-rich modal r'erb to use whct-t giving advicc); hence, e noted in Thble 9.3 that the number of forms being worked on at one time ould be at least tu,o, but cor-ild involve many more depending on the time and -:udents' proficiency level.

:

-elce-Murcia and Hilles (1988) proposed that teacirers use skits and role plays '. hen working on the pragmatic (practicai) dimension. This would be effective ')r the teacher will be able to systematically manipulate social variables :.g., increase or decrease the social distance between interlocutors) and to have ,:udedts practice how the changes in the social variables affect the choice of form :rey make.

Ine example of this is the role-play "dilemma." In thi/roie-play, one persor-L has , problem) e.g., the keys to the house have been misplaced. The housc is locked ,nd the person wants to get in. Students are asked to use modal verbs to give :dvice to the person with the problem; e.g., yoLt nilght try breaking thc iuindon,, ou could try calling the police. The teacher could next alter an important feature ,i the context, thus creating a new social context in which a different modal verb .r'ould be more appropriate. For example, the teacher might ask, "What if it was a , oung ghild (baby) that had this dilemma (she is locked in the house/car)?"
Role-plays can be manipulated and exploited to emphasise other structural :l-roices as well. At times it is neither the form nor the meaning of thc English .enses that is problematic to ESL/EFL students; rather it is when /why to use one :ense and not the other. In other words, it is the prngnntic usage of the tenses that s the foremost obstacle to their mastery. Giving students practice with situations :r rt,hich a contrast between two tenses is likely to arise may sensitise students to :re usage differer-rces. For instance, a problem for ESL/EFL students is to know .,,'iren to use the present perfect versus when to use the past tense. A situation ,r'here a contrast between them rt,ould occur might be a job interview. In such . context, the perfect of experience is likelv to be invoked (c.g., Have Vou eoer 'lne nny cotttTtuter prlgronuitittg? ). An affirmative ans\ver is likely to contain the -..ast tense (e.g., Yrs, Ihaoe . I once uorketl on. . . or simpl,r', Yes. INltcn I zt,orkcd 0t . .). :tudents can take tulns role-plavine the ir-rtervicwer arirci inten'iewec.

ToP|C9DEVELoP|NGPRACTlCALACT|VlT|ESFoRGRAMMARSTRuCTURES<

Similarly, the linguistic discourse context will determine the choice of which forms to use. In the case with the passive voice, its use is not particularly sensitive to social factors; i.e., whether one is using the active or passive voice does not depend upon with whom one is conversing. Normally, it is problematic for sfudents to determine when to use the passive voice. The fact that the focus of a particular discourse is on some noun that is not the agent motivates the use of the passive. Furthermore, if the agent has already been established in the linguistic discourse, it would like1y not even be mentioned in subsequent discourse. Thus, most passive sentences are agentless which call for text generation or text-manipulation-type exercises. As the passive is used rlore ofteir in written than in spoken Engiish, teachers might give their students a text-completion exercise in which the first few lines of the text are givcn. From these first few lines, it should be clear to the studcnts that the focus of discourse is on the "issues" not the agents (i.e., participants) at the Parent-teacher meeting.
Psrent-tescher nteetings Tr)ere held throughout sclrcols in Se.langor yesterday. Many i,ssrirs ruere tliscttssed, nlthottgh the big one for most ptarents ruos the issue of bullying. I4nnt1 clnngcs lnae been made recently' For exontple, ...

,By tl-re same token students are asked to complete the text using appropriate voice. Hor.t,errer, not all the sentences shcluld be in thc passive voice, students will be making choices, to suit the characteristic of the practice activities designed to work or-r ti-," pragmatic dimension. At the end ofthe lesson, the teacher will give feedback to the students on the accuracy of their choices.
Most importantly, the crucial challenge for students working on the passive voice is for them to reason out when to apply the passive. With the first iesson on the passive, horvever, we are likely to be concerned with presenting the form. If, while we plan our lessdn on how to form the passive, we keep the challenge in mind, we are likely to avoid a common practice of ESL/EFL teachers, which is to introduce the passive as a transformed version of the active (e.g., "Sruitch the xfuject rpith fhe rlirect object.. ."). Presenting the passive in this way is misleading because it gives the impression that the passive is simply a rrariation of the active' Moreover-, it suggests that most passive sentetrces contain agents. What we know in fact to bc the iase is that one rroice is not a 'u'ariant of the other, but rather the two are in complementary distribution, rt'ith their foci completely different. We aiso know that relatively few passive sentences contain explicit agents. Thus, from the first introductory lessou, the passive should bc taught as a distinct structure rt'hich oCCurS in a differeut colrtert from the active.
-l.his

concltides our discussion on hon' t,r rlestgtr practice activitjes for gramrnar points. Tht plactice phase is usualli crrr',sirlered the secor-rd stage of a lessou. Most approicires io second larrsuagc prrrlagogy involve a third, or lnore t'tllll I)'l tt tt it-,t t i r t' St.t gt', .t : tvt'i i'

88

b.i o

COMMUNICATIVE STAGE
,a{r1Se

Y,;iJ 11E*n*

Tti['lJltrr
v{ft5i*N{
V'

i l
I

l

'TliJ{1.,t{i"r,

THr'f{till'?

Source: http: / /www.comics.com

he aim during this stage is to have students manipulate the structures they have :een practicing in realistic context. Usually, there is less control over grammatical -:r'ucture and this may result in students' seeking ways to communicate which

're teacher is not prepared for and in which the intended structures are not
-:tilised. The teacher should be tolerant on this unexpected consequence and has ther contingency activities as backup.

I,n exarhple of a communicative activity which would follow the presentation -:age of a lesson on the semantics of prepositions is a direction-giving exercise. lne student traces a particular route on a street map while guided by the rirections of a partner. (Wslk to the corner. Trrn right at the corner. The hnnk is neor
:ie

corner, next to the police stntion.)

hother example is to complete a three-phase lesson on the semantics of :omparatives, where, students have to write a composition discussing their
:reference for studying in a day-school or a residential school. -'.iso,

a communicative activity which is appropriatc with the lesson on

tl-re

:ragmatics of usine modals for giving advice would be having students n,rite a :eply to a letter addressed to a ne\vsllapel columnist rn'hose advice rvas being - rught for somc personal problcnt.

ToP|C9DEVELoPlNGPRACTICALACT|V|TlESFoRGRAMMARSTRUCTURES<

9(

Additionaily, a communicative activity which would be appropriate to a lesson on reported speech might be to have students report r,vhat had happened at a
press conference they had been assigned to listen to or to observe.

The above are some examples to illustrate activities which would be appropriate for the commuuicatirre phase of the lesson. Since the commencement of the Communicative Approach, there are many sources a teacher can consult for more exampies of this type of activity. The ri;ie of feedback or error correction is another feature of the communicative stage of grammar lessons. Feedback was considered an essential part during both the practice stage as rvell as during the communicative stage. Teachers should try to instill during the communicative stage the students' fluency and subsequentiy, error correction during oral activities should be postponed. It is advisable to plan a remedial lcsson to attend to common errors that a teacher observes.
.

-i

_l

: .l

9.,,1 1

PEDAGOGICAL ISSUES
to activities
for

'

Tl-ris subsection discusses some pedagogocal issues related grammar structures.

9.1

1

.1 Sequencing

Comprehensively; grammar structures are not attained one at a time through a (Rutherfofi, 7987). Rather, different aspects of form, meaning, and pragmatics of a given strucfure may be acquired at different stages of interlanguage development. As we suggested earlier, this observation confirms the r-reed for recycling- i.e., introducing one aspect of a form and then . returning to the form from time to time for reinforcement and elaboration. Even when recycling, irowever, one must begin somewhere.
process of "agglutination"

Ordinarily, teachers irave littie control over where they start a grammar sequence for tiiey rnust folloiv tlre prescribed syllabi or textbooks. The usual advice is to begin .,,vith the simple structtires arrd work up to the more compler. Mrat constitutes simplicity and complexity has not ever been operationaliy defined with any succcss, although somc relevant lcsearch is currently being conducted wlrich suggcsts tl-rat learn ability, antl thirs teach ability, is deternrined by the complcxity oi speech processing strategies required for particular structures. h-r short, ail sinlctllres ervol.".e bv a partrcular stratcey or cluster of srategies shrtr,rid br: aciy-rirecl at louglily the :rarne dcveloprrc.ntal stage.
coirsetiLrtjnc() to this re:,earch fii-,.Jir.,g rs th;it lcalners shoultl folkxt'all tire sitigc:' iti it tic-,'eloprncntal scqr-reirce, sinat'cach rrerv stage arc intclrelated to the plcvii,-us sf.tgi:.'flii:. pledictior-, ilA-...1>rr -'r',--ir. strpporteci bl'cviclcuce in 2 study

A

90

TOPIC

9

DEVELOPING F?:

\L

ACTIVITIES FOR GR.,i,I,"I,1,iT. STRUCTURES

itenrs rtil1 be successfully rducted by Pienemann (19E-1). Hr. .iemonstrated that "rea'it-'' to learn them; ;-:ght only when students are rsr cholinguistically , ih"y have mastered the prereqriisite strategies'
,

tremendor-rs irnplications for the contrary, these fascinating iu]dings and their anv perfect develoPmental rammatical structure Seqr.iellclng, Ao ,-,Jt materialise resollrces for judgments u{g€ltC€. Hence, teacheis or. ,tili left to their ort'n - hor.t, to proceed. \A4rat happrer'cd in the classroom are based on teacher's Custtlmarily' .lgement, students' Sche'ma aud tl-re needs clf the sr'1labtls' l-rave a mixto ;trggle and ..oh"rr, especially the more experienced ones are able and ":-atch of strategies and actir,itiei that they had acclimatised to their students' a developmental sequence ,,.amination needs... We should also note that even if be lustificatiou for.preempting ere to be fully ,p".ifi.d for English, there might communicative needs were not ..,e developmental Sequence *'i-t"r-t students' need to be taught' :eing met and when, therefore, certain structures would i: least formulaicallY.

r

9.11 ,,2
:eductiveiY.

lnductive versus Deductive Presentation

inductively or )uring the Presentation phase, teachers can choose to either work

r) An inductive activitY is one in which tl-re students infer the rule or
ger-reralisation from a set of examples.

inversion rule in For example, students might induce the subject-auxiiiary number of such forming yes-no questionslafte, having been exposed to a

questions-

b)

, they appiy deductive activity, is whln the students are given the rule and A it to examPies.

Teachers can choose

to provide the grammar rules or not to depending on the .ituation and students' need as welf as levei. It is advisable to give the rules learners' teachers :xplicitly when teaching young learners. However, with adult matured learners induce the grammar -an choose to be imphJii that- is let the by this is that one :ules from the tasks and activities practiced. What we meant Tcachers should :ertainly can teach grammar without stating any explicit rules. follow the rules, not knowledge -r-rlti'ate in the 1eo.rie, linguistic behaviout thof avoid giving rf the rules themselves. Consequently, n'e hat'e Seen nO reason to Usualiy :xplicit rules, except perhaps ii one-is working r't'ith young children' Moreovel stating .tuclents request rules-and report that they find them helpful' as I ruic expliiitly can often bring about linguistic insights effectivel}', as long du11 that students elcounteL :ire rule is ngt oversimplified o. =o mctalinguistically ,iifficuity to understancl the rulc tl-ran to appiy it irnplicitlv'

ToP|C9DEVELoPlNGPRACT|CALACTIVlTlESFoRGRAMMARSTRuCTURES<

192

The choice of rvhether to be inductive or deductive is not one resolvable with an either/or approach. There are many times when an inductive approach in presenting a grammar point is more effective because by using such an approach one is cieveloping within the studerrts a lcarning process through which they can arrive at their own generalisations.

::ud
-.du
:1CO

--)Llt

t
-.r-rd

\Mrat little we know about the psychological process of second language learning, either from theory or from practical expcrience, suggests that a combination of induction and deduction produccs the best result. Learning is
seen as fundamcntally an inductive process but one which can be controlled and

.:dr

')r
-

c

-rid

facilitated, by descriptions and explanations girren at the appropriate moment and formulated in a way which is appropriatc to the maturity, knowledge, and sophistication of the learner. In a sense, teaching is a matter of providing the learner with the right data at the right time and teaching him/her how to iearn that is, developing in him/her appropriate learning strategies and means of testing his hypotheses. The old controversy about whether one should provide tl're rule first and then the examples, or vice versa, is now seen to be merely a matter of tactics to which no categorical answer can be given. (Corder, 7973, rn Rutherford & Sharwood Smith,1988, p. 133)

- rili
- l, --Ldr\

-l al t:rd ::rrl

9.1

9.1 1

.3

Presenting a Structure

./

An essential ingredient for this phase is having some language examples which illustrate the teaching point. In the audio-lingual method, grammar points are introduced via a dialog which students listen to, and subsequentiy memorise. \Mhile dialogs are useful for introducing points of grammar, there are a variety of other formats which can be used:

(a) '(b) (c) (d)

' songs and poems

authentic texts (e.g., newspaPer articles)
realia (e.g., clothes)
segments of taped radio/television broadcasts

For example, if the grammar point had to do with the distinction between mass and count nouns,

. . .

The tencher could bring

in an.rrlrertising cilcular from a local supermarket.

Or
T|te students might be

invited to bring irr their: favourite recipes. Or

The te,scher ntrd strttlcn fs might {r'nrrcrtc a laneuage sample together r,r'hich containcd count and mass nolins {c.g "l tr-ent to the supermarket" game).

'92

::udents would be presented n'ith the language sample, rr-hen pracficing an rductive approach, for example the advertising circular. Ther- tl-ien r,r'ould be :lcourag€d to ntake their ort'n observations about the form t,f tnass and count 'ouns. The teacher: would listen to tl-reir observations, and theu n-right summarise .\/ generalising about the two categories of nouns in English. If practicing a :eductive approach, the teacher would present the generaiisation ancl then ask .;udents to apply it to the language sample. This approach tvould be suitable 'lr our example of teacher-student-generated language since students might be -Lrided in playing the game by having knowledge of t}-re mass/count distinctior-r.

-tilising an inductive approach during the presentation phase enables teachers :o assess what the students already know about a particular structure and to nake appropriate adjustment to their lesson p1an. Evaiuation during this phase
rnd throughout the lesson is important to determining what needs to be taught ind to what extent learning has taken place.

9.1 'l

.4

Error Correction

Jordei'{1973) advocated that, "the function of the teacher is to proviclc data and :xamples and where necessary, to offer explanations and descriptions and, more mportant, verification of the learner's hypotheses " (Rutherford & Sharwood jmith, 1988, p. 13a). Accordingly, we agree with Coder who considers error :orrection an cssential element in pedagogical practice. However, therc are those ;vho disagree, believing that error correction wiil discourage students from .reely expressing themselves. \A4rile there are clearly times that error correction :an be interfering and therefore unwarranted (e.g., during communicative phase 'ctivities), at other times focused error correction is acceptable. It furnishes the regative evidence students need to discard or refine their hypotheses about how :he target language is formulated or operates. Sometimes students purposely :equest 0rror correction to assist them with their language learning task.
he pie chart,' A Three-Dimensional Grammar Framework', that we refer to when :reparing lessons can be a beneficial aid in recognising errors. When an error is
.

:rade by a studcnt, a teacher can check with the pie chart to determine the type : error: in form, meaning, or pragmatics. However, sometimes the cause of an ::ror is not clear. ln spite of that, the pie chart does provide a frame of reference, ,rc-i if the diagnosis is accurate, the remedy may be more effective.

re pic chart is practical in aiding teachers to evaluate n'here there are hiatus iaps) in their knowledge of the subject matter. For instance, teachers can ask -emselves w,hat are the formal properties of conditionals, the meaninc of logical ,rlnectors, the pragmatics of rel.rtirre clauses. Where hiatus occllrs, teachers can :ke an effort to educaie t1-rernscir,es. Nonetheless, ihcre arc still many g;rps lvhal is knort,n about the tirrec climcnsions. Specificallr, tl'rcre is a plcthora

ToP|C9DEVELoP|NGPRACT|CALACTlV|TlESFoRGRAMMARSTRuCTuRES<

.94

researches needed before we can accept and comprehend the pragmatic conditions guiding the utilisation of particular structures. Likewise, the pie chart can also serve as a medium by which items for a common research agenda can be propagated.
Teachers should not feel disheartened if they are unable to fully comprehend the contents of the three wedges of the pie for each structure. Teachers can only consciously teach what they know. By constantly r:eferring to the pie chart, hopefully teachers will be able to make more observations about the rcspective wedges. The uitimate challenge for teachers is to'be able to utilise the pie chart, to work towards the development of their students through observations about their learning as well as the characteristics of the practice activities to inspire their personal professional growth,

of

This topic has introduced second language educators to teachinr approaches and some analysis of language which can help the students to learn and encourage thern to use the language in order to acquire it. Approaches to language teaching has cl-ranged over time from the analytic grammar translation approach to the direct metho{ to Chomsky-inspired cognitive code upp.ou.h, and then to the rise in p.dpularity of more communicative approaches. Each approach imposes different theories and practices, forms and rules to teaching the language.

&&&4e&&a&&44&

4&&&@4&&&.4&@eA6&*

Communicative Methodology
Phrasal

Prasma Iics - -'-.)-^'Semantics

W
ffia19s1a@b@4e4qvq??r..z.z44e7&*4?.44e7?a4?a&4'v,4*&

1.

l\4-rat are thc tr.rro types of phr asal r.erbs?

1.

What is muitiple discrimination?
\44ren pr:actir:ing and semantic tlimcrtsions, rn'hat can be useful? S,4rat docs agglunation mean?

3. 4.
5.

lVhat is thc difference betu,een
deductir,c
ercti

r',

ir.ri i',appens in inciuctir;c .rctirrities anrl

i'i ties?

94

*.& t

e & 6 4 A & a a a a a a E a & 4 I & * A 6 A O '

t

'

'

'

3 A & 6 4 & @*

According to Gagne's taxonomy of learning,

(a) (b) (c) (u) (b)

How many types of iearning are there?
\Alhich do you think is most applicable to Malaysian classrooms?

How is concept learning different from principle iearning?

Learning strucfure.

In the phase of presenting structure, what can you use as educational
aid?

What do teachers need to do in the inductive approach?