Teaching grammar: a task-based approach

David Nunan

How is it formed? (Accuracy)

What does it mean? (Meaningfulness)

When/Why is it used? (Appropriateness)

With the development of communicative approaches to language teaching, the place of grammar has been uncertain. There are those who argue that there is no place for a formal focus on grammar in the communicative classroom of today. I do not share this view. In this presentation, I will argue that grammar has a central and fundamental place in the curriculum. However, this does not mean I am arguing for a return to "traditional" ways of teaching grammar. In the first plart of the presentation, I will explain what it means to look at grammar as a tool for communication rather than as a body of content to be memorized. I will then give practical examples of how teachers can implement these ideas in their classrooms.


 What is „grammar‟?  What‟s the difference between a „prescriptive‟ and a „descriptive‟ grammar?  In what ways are grammar. vocabulary and pronunciation interrelated?  What is a „task‟? Questions addressed in the presentation .

Warm up task: Dictogloss My name is David Nunan. . the food and the people in here in Cambodia. I love the weather. but I travel a lot. This is my second visit to Cambodia. I look forward to meeting new frends during the conference. I am a teacher. I live in Hong Kong.

.4). p.„Traditional‟ definition 1 Grammar may be roughly defined as the way language manipulates and combines words (or bits of words) in order to form longer units of meaning (Ur 1988.

„Traditional‟ definition 2 [Grammar is] a description of the structure of a language and the way in which units such as words and phrases are combined to produce sentences in the language (Richards. . 2003). Platt and Weber.

„Traditional‟ definition 3 [Grammar] is the way in which words change themselves and group together to make sentences. 1987). The grammar of a language is what happens to words when they become plural or negative. . or what order is used when we make questions or join two clauses to make one sentence (Harmer.

isn’t she? (rising intonation) = I believe that she‟s Italian. but I‟m really not certain. but I‟d like your confirmation on that. but I‟ve just received information that leads me to revise my belief. is she? (rising intonation) = I thought she was Spanish. . She’s Italian. (falling intonation) = I‟m pretty sure she‟s Italian.Grammar and pronunciation She’s Italian.

 A woman (pause) without her man is nothing. . woman without her man (pause) is nothing.Grammar and pronunciation A A woman without her man is nothing.

Mary J. page 70). but she’s really an oldfashioned blues singer wrapped in hip-hop beats and soul grooves. 2003. Blige … the Queen of hip-hop … she … an old-fashioned blues singer . Blige has been dubbed the Queen of hip-hop Soul. (Rolling Stone September 18.Grammar and vocabulary Mary J.

A „communicative‟ definition Grammar is a resource that enables us:  to get things done  to make choices  to express ourselves as individuals  to articulate our feelings and attitudes .

integrate the teaching of grammar with the teaching of pronunciation and vocabulary. Help learners see relationships between form and meaning. As far as possible.   Teach students how to use grammar to make appropriate choices and express their own personal meanings. .From principles to pedagogy   Teach grammar as an extremely flexible resource for making meaning.

T: German . Ss: She can speak French.can‟t Ss: They can‟t speak German (etc.) . T: They Ss: They can speak French.Repetition: The „traditional‟ approach T: She can speak Spanish (French).

A task-based approach Tasks:  have a primary focus on meaning  learners are not given other people‟s meanings to regurgitate  have an outcome other than the manipulation and practice of language forms  generate language use that has some resemblance to real-world language .

True / false .

True / false GFI 2e Level 2 Page 31 Task 4 .

Figure it out GFI 2e Level 2 page 3 Tasks 3a & b .

Figure it out GFI 2e Level 2 page 3 Tasks 3a & b .

he or she is the thief.  The detective returns and tries to find out who the thief is by asking participants: “Do you have it/the ring?” .Detective  Procedure: An object to be stolen is decided on—say a coin or a ring. One of the remaining students is given the object. Once student (the detective) is sent out of the room.

“No. (Ur 1988) . The detective then has to decide in three guesses who is lying—who looks guilty. A has it!” Whereupon. The process is then repeated with another detective and another thief. until everyone has been asked and has denied responsibility.Detective  Each participant—including the actual thief— denies guilt. I don‟t have it. the detective turns to A with the same question—and so on. and accuses someone else.

Tic-tac-toe GFI 2e Leve l2 page 6 Task 4 Go For It .

Information gap .

Information gap (cont.) .

Surveys .

pool their notes. they write down key words. and reconstruct the text. when learners analyze and correct their texts. at normal speed.Dictogloss   Preparation. when the learner finds out about the topic of the text and is prepared for some of the vocabulary.) Reconstruction. The first time through. Analysis and correction. in which learners work in small groups. learners simply listen to get a general sense of what the text is about. Wajnryb (1990)   . The second time. when the learner hears the text and takes fragmentary notes. (Wajnryb recommends that the text be read twice. Dictation.

Role play .

Alexandria VA: TESOL. P. 1999. London: Longman. D. Second Language Teaching and Learning. 1995. Thornbury. S. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1988. 2004. New York: McGraw Hill. Grammar Practice Activities. How to Teach Grammar. Practical English Language Teaching: Grammar. Pennington. 1999. Ur. M. . Boston: Thomson/Heinle. New Ways in Teaching Grammar. D.References Nunan. Nunan.

htm http://www.com/cs/grammar http://expressions.hku.about.purdue.Web sites http://ec.ohiou.heinle.hk/vec/grammar/default.edu/handouts/esl/ http://esl.h tml http://owl.com http://www.heinle.com .english.eslcafe.edu/esl/teacher/grammar.com http://goforit.

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