TSL3108 TEACHING OF GRAMMAR IN THE PRIMARY CLASSROOM

Introduction: Grammar is central to the teaching and learning of any language. Grammar teaching has always been one of the most controversial and least understood aspects of language teaching. It is usually thought to be one of the more difficult aspects of language to teach. Language teachers have to constantly debate on whether to teach grammar in an up-front way or to give it less prominence in the language classroom. Grammar is partly the study of what forms (or structures) are possible in a language, All language in use can be analysed at each of the four levels; sound, word, sentence and text. These rules tell the speakers  how to pronounce syllables (phonology),  how to form words (morphology),  how to structure sentences (syntax) and  what style of language to use in a given context (pragmatics). These are the forms that language takes. The study of grammar consists, in part, of looking at the way these forms are arranged and patterned. Thus a grammar is a description of the rules that govern how a language’s sentences are formed. Meanings and definition of grammar Grammar according to Rutheford (1987) is “a necessary component of any language teaching programme” (p.9), and therefore plays an important role in language teaching. However, the focus on grammar in language teaching was challenged with the emergence of teaching methodologies based on different learning theories. Such a challenge influenced not only the content and the curriculum in language teaching, but also the implication for teaching grammar. Thus, a fresh look at grammar was necessary causing linguists and language educators to rethink the status of grammar in language teaching and learning. This led to a constant debate among language educators and linguists regarding the nature and type of grammar instruction, which affected the understanding of how second languages should be taught or learned. There are various definitions of grammar. Among them are; · Grammar can be defined as a description of the structure of a language and the ways in which units such as words and phrases are combined to produce sentences in the language 1

This is 0168385043. ( Ur. It consists of three sentences. in part. which themselves consists of words and the words (when spoken) consist of sounds. 2007) Grammar is a description of the rules that govern how a language’s sentences are formed.TSL3108 TEACHING OF GRAMMAR IN THE PRIMARY CLASSROOM · (Dictionary of Applied Linguistics) Grammar is roughly defined as the way a language manipulates and combines words (or bits of words) in order to form longer units of meaning. of looking at the way these forms are arranged and patterned. (Thornbury. Look at the following example: This is 0168385043. sentence. 2003) Grammar is the system of rules governing the conventional arrangement and relationship of words in a sentence. All language in use can be analysed at each of these four levels: text. word and sound. 1994) Grammar is generally thought to be a set of rules specifying the correct ordering of words at the sentence level. That is the kind of text it is. We are not at home right now. The study of grammar consists. These are the forms that language takes. For example: Please leave a message after the beep. Please leave a message after the beep. (Nunan. We are not at home right now. 2008) · · · From the various definitions of grammar we can deduce that grammar is partly the study of what ‘forms’ are possible. 2 . You will recognise it as an answerphone message. (Brown. If you change the order of the sentences you no longer have a well-formed message.

Now can you explain why the following two sentences are not acceptable? Not we at right home now are. and 3 . grammar enables us to use language to describe the world in terms of how. We are at home right now. Right now we are not at home. when and where things happen. We is not at home right now. Grammar is partly the study of what forms (or structures) are possible in a language. Principally. the order of the words in each sentence is fairly fixed: ‘Beep after a leave the please message. The forms are grammatically correct.’ might not make much sense to some people. Please leave a message after the beep Grammar communicates meanings – meanings of a very precise kind. Grammar and Meaning Read the following sentences. Can you explain why the following two sentences are acceptable? We are not at home right now. If someone pronounces the word ‘beep’ as ‘peeb’. Syntax rules disallow the first incorrect sentence above. the ability both to recognise and to produce well-formed sentences is an essential part of learning a second-language. there might be miscommunication between the speaker and the hearer. Can you explain why it sounds odd? This is 0168385043. grammar convey two kinds of meanings: · representation – that is. Morphology rules disallow the second incorrect sentence above. This is because the system of rules that cover the order of words in a sentence is called syntax. Grammar is conventionally seen as the study of the syntax and morphology of sentences. The same applies to the order of sounds in a word. From a learner’s perspective. The system of rules that cover the formation of words is called morphology.TSL3108 TEACHING OF GRAMMAR IN THE PRIMARY CLASSROOM Likewise.

● Activities: students' attention is focused on a particular target item. Fluency versus Accuracy The aim of the communicative approach is to get students to use language to communicate efficiently and to seek information. for example. a distinction first made by Brumfit (1984). solve a problem etc. 4 .TSL3108 TEACHING OF GRAMMAR IN THE PRIMARY CLASSROOM · interpersonal – that is. Speaking. give information. a word. Reading and Writing activities to so develop fluency in using the language in spontaneous communication. their performance is assessed on how few language mistakes are made. we need to get things done using language. students' errors are corrected. ● Purpose: the primary purpose is to help students practice language in Lisstening. tasks do not usually simulate real-life situations. the target items are usually practised out of context or situation. ISSUE: Do you teach accuracy or fluency first? Accuracy To achieve accuracy Advantage: produce students who can reproduce accurately sentences learnt Disadvantage: May not be effective in communicating the language in real life situations. A classroom activity may aim either at accuracy or fluency. ● Material: the texts are usually composed of separate items. An accuracy-oriented activity such as pattern drills is usually used in the teaching of a new target item. grammar facilitates the way we interact with other people when. or a sentence structure. Accuracy activities: ● Purpose: the primary purpose is to help students achieve accurate perception and production of a target item which can be a sound. their output is usually predictable. A fluency-oriented activity such as extensive reading and information gap aims to develop the students' spontaneous communications skills in using what they have already learned.

stories. ● Activities: students' attention is focused on communicating information and expressing ideas. unless activities are extremely engaging. · · · · · They respond to meaning even if they do not understand individual words. explicit grammar teaching is more effective at the intermediate to advanced levels than beginning levels (Brown. competences and cognitive skills (Harmer.3.3. In relation to the teaching of grammar for young learners. etc.4 The place of grammar in the Primary classroom (a) The KBSR syllabus Harmer (2005) further explains that young learners learn differently from older children. 1. ways. 1.TSL3108 TEACHING OF GRAMMAR IN THE PRIMARY CLASSROOM ● Material: the texts are usually whole pieces of discourses: conversation. 2005). adolescents and adults among others in the following As stipulated in the curriculum specifications for the primary school. texts are usually authentic and used as they would be in real life. losing interest after ten minutes or so. They often learn indirectly rather than directly – taking every information around them rather than focussing on the precise topic being taught.. students' errors are not corrected unless it interferes with communication. 2007). They find abstract concepts such as grammar rules difficult to grasp They have a limited attention span. This corrective feedback can facilitate acquisition if it involves a mixture of implicit and explicit feedback.3 Grammar for Young Learners The age of our students is a major factor in our decisions about how and what to teach. their performance is assessed on how well ideas are expressed or understood. Their understanding comes from explanation as well as from what they see and hear and interact with. This is because incidental focus on form is valuable as it treats errors that occur while learners are engaged in meaningful communication. People of different ages have different needs. their output may not always be predictable. they can get easily bored. the English Language lesson aims to equip pupils with skills and provide a basic understanding 5 . tasks often simulate real-life situations.

2 and 3 and Stage Two. Grammar is only 6 . Stage One referring to Years 1. the English language curriculum emphasises on the pupils’ development of basic language skills in building the proficiency in the language. (b) The KSSR Syllabus Under the KSSR syllabus. introduced from Year 3 onwards. and show an awareness and appreciation of moral values and love towards the nation. to read and understand different kinds of texts (from print and electronic sources) for enjoyment and information. write (including e-mail) for different purposes using simple language.TSL3108 TEACHING OF GRAMMAR IN THE PRIMARY CLASSROOM of the English language so that they are able to communicate. primary education is divided into two stages. In Year 1 and 2. both orally and in writing. speak and respond clearly and appropriately in common everyday situations using simple language. Objectives of the KBSR Syllabus i) ii) iii) iv) v) listen to and understand simple spoken English to be able to function in common everyday situations. in and out of school. 5 and 6. Year 4.

pupils should be able to: … use correct and appropriate rules of grammar in speech and writing.” The following diagram shows the conceptual framework of the curriculum model. pupils should be able to: 7 .TSL3108 TEACHING OF GRAMMAR IN THE PRIMARY CLASSROOM KSSR ENGLISH KSSR States that: “By the end of Year 6. THE MODULAR CONFIGURATION Objectives Of the KSSR By the end of Year 6.

read and comprehend a range of English texts for information and enjoyment. appreciate and demonstrate understanding of English language literary or creative works for enjoyment. style and form through a variety of media. 8 . It should be used as a reference for spelling and grammar as well as pronunciation for standardisation.TSL3108 TEACHING OF GRAMMAR IN THE PRIMARY CLASSROOM i) ii) iii) iv) v) communicate with peers and adults confidently and appropriately in formal and informal situations. and use correct and appropriate rules of grammar in speech and writing CURRICULUM ORGANISATION The Standard-Based English Language Curriculum for Malaysian National Primary Schools (SK) is designed to provide pupils with a strong foundation in the English language. write a range of texts using appropriate language. It is stipulated in the KSSR syllabus that teachers should use Standard British English as a reference and model for teaching the language.

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