Teaching Grammar, Motivation, Standardization, and Holistic Approach

What do you think are the top three ways of teaching grammar?

Teaching Grammar, Motivation, Standardization, and Holistic Approach

WRITTEN BY, B.C.A.A. MCARTHUR

Jim Wingate of the ‘English Teaching Professional ETP – Magazine’, in his regular column wrote, ‘Ten Ways To Teach Grammar’, these being; don’t teach it, avoid negative messages, learner discovery, suggestopedia, delegation, the same text, different texts, personalized texts, physical response, and transformed recycling. It is from these that I derive three which I believe to be the most fundamental in teaching grammar. These three fundamental ways of teaching grammar derived from Jim Wingate’s are, to avoid negative messages, the same text, and learner discovery.

The most fundamental of these being to avoid negative messages, that is to avoid any negative communication, either verbal or non verbal, such as body language that sends the message that this is to difficult, meaningless, not worth the effort or other disparaging message about the topic, lesson at hand. Doing this immediately crushes motivation and ruins the learning environment as the very benchmark of the language displays his or her own inability to grasp the simpleness of the topic or lesson, or does not see the point of learning. The result of conveying this message to students adversely affect the students, in turn the understanding of what it is to learn.

The second of my fundamental ways chosen from those of Jim Wingate is, the use of same text. The use of same text provides a level of standardization to learning grammar, a standardization built on the K.I.S.S Principle of, ‘Keep It Simple Stupid’. By providing students with a standard of learning it is keeping a sometimes complicated matter simple. In using the same text, it provides a standardized form to demonstrate the grammatical structure and based on the level of student the explanation of such will lead to them soon being able to identify each part that makes up the sentences, the verbs, adverbs, nouns, pronouns, articles, particles and propositions.

The third fundamental way of teaching grammar is, learner discovery. This way of teaching grammar provides another simple, yet effective way of teaching form, this time in a task based and a collaborative communicative methodology that allows the teacher to be firstly the resource, but also the controller and organizer (of the task and environment), the prompter and assessor of individual students, groups and the overall progress of the task at hand. This way of teaching also provides a methodology that is dynamic, for whilst at the outset being a tasked based and communicative approach to teaching grammar, it is also visual and to some degree audio-lingual in the collaborative effort of the communicative approach. This dynamic combination of methodologies provides are types of learners that make up the target audience the best chance at grasping the new structure in the sentence and the form of that sentence, visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.

These three fundamental ways of teaching grammar ensure motivation, a level of simplicity by standardization and a holistic approach to methodologies of teaching that benefit the learning styles of each type of learner encompassed in the classroom. It apposes the confusion that may come from way of different text way of teaching grammar and the complexities what seems to be false recycling, teaching grammar by transformed recycling, that seem to recycle anything learnt, but merely a conversation. They also appose the inherit problems of motivation found striking at the attitudes and feeling of students, by using public speaking that is especially detrimental to shyer students, and used in the delegation and physical response way of teaching grammar. They also out weigh the benefit of personalized text, that excludes audio-lingual learners with learner discovery inclusive of all three and personalized text offering no standardization of examples of grammatical use from student to student. Lastly the don’t teach it way of teaching grammar is seemingly inherit in the learner discovery way of teaching for the most part in which text is provided, prompting is done, in the case of learner discovery during the task-based collaborative communicative approach allowing for the teacher to test whether students can use the grammatical target structure and in respect to learners discovery without the problem of the added recycling needed by the don’t teach it way and the contraction that it poses if one is to then use one of the other ways of teaching grammar that does indeed teach it more formally such as the same text way.

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