Methods of teaching grammar

There are many approaches, methods and technique of teaching grammar. We’ll study some of the most important. All the methods below are divided according to two ways of presenting grammar – deductive and inductive.

Approaches Methods Brief description Techniques
Traditional (classical) approach Grammar translation method It focuses on deductive presentation of grammar: grammar is presented by rules with grammatical forms and their detailed analysis with no relation to real communication.   It is realized in four steps: Presentation - teacher presents grammar rules. Illustration - teacherillustrates rules with examples in L2. Application - teacher explains the rules. Learners learn the rules. Practice – learners practice grammatical forms in drills and translation. Teacher controls the process.
Structural approach Audio-lingual method They focus on inductive presentation of grammar: grammar is presented by grammatical structures (from simple to more complex) in sentence patterns, dialogues or situations. There is a little or no grammatical explanation and there are no abstract grammar terms. Learners often have to discover the rules by themselves after practicing many examples.     Teacher gives grammar structures with translating them in L1 or without. Learners memorize them in imitations, repetitions, substitutions, drills, reading aloud and practice them automatically in dialogues and situations. Grammar explanation of a structure may be given or discovered after drills or at the end of the lesson. Grammar structure: There is/ are Teacher: There is a girl. She is dancing. Learners: There is a girl. She is dancing. Teacher: what are there? There are three boys. They are singing. Learners: what are there? There are three boys. They are singing.
Oral approach Situational language teaching
Natural approach Direct method  
Humanistic approach The Silent Way
Total Physical Response (TPR) Grammar is taught in imperative sentence-patterns through teacher’s commands. Learners repeat the commands afterwards and practice them in drill games and role-plays.  
Suggestopedia The teacher gives grammar material in “a playful manner”. Learners memorize grammar structures and forms by listening to the teacher’s reading dialogues, texts with the accompaniment of music, repeating after teacher and practice them in dialogues, games, puzzles, etc.
Cognitive approach Cognitive method It focuses both on deductive presentation of grammar: rules first, practice later and inductive, rules can be given after practice. It focuses also on learners’ ability to analyze grammatical forms and their usage. Teacher gives unlimited correct examples of sentences in L2 with a limited number of rules or learners may take rules out of communicative practice. After practice learners analyze grammatical forms and their usage.
Communicative approach Communicative language teaching (Task-based language teaching) It focuses on inductive presentation of grammar: grammar is presented only as a tool for correct real-life communication through practice it in integrated tasks. It is widely-used nowadays in teaching grammar. It is realized in five steps:Presentation –teacher presents grammatical forms in a context through reading, listening, brainstorming, checks if the forms are clear to learners. Learners repeat them. Analysis of grammatical forms – teacher presents more examples on the blackboard and explains them or helps learners to form a rule from the examples. Practice – learners do a lot of mechanical written exercises to train accurate usage of grammatical forms (fill-in exercises). Production – learners do a lot of communicative exercises on fluent usage of grammatical forms (games, interviews,dialogues, problem-solving, etc.) Feedback – Teacher checks learners’ grammar knowledge:draws learners’ attention to grammatical problems and discuss.

The content of teaching listening.

Listeningis a process of reception, identification and comprehension of speech.

Reasons for listening:

1. For pleasure: music, bird singing.

2. To take part in conversations: exchange news with friends, make arrangements.

3. For information: weather forecast, announcements at the airport.

4. For instructions: know how to do a task.

5. To understand: someone’s explanations or feelings.

To get the gist.

In Foreign Language Teaching listening is a receptive skill rather than productive skill.

Purposes for teaching listening:

1. To perceive and understand spoken language.

2. To understand varieties of language (standard/regional, formal/informal etc.)

3. To understand different text types (conversational, narrative, informative etc.)

4. To improve SS’ pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary.

5. To develop through listening other skills: speaking, reading and writing.

The processes of listening comprehension: bottom-up and top-down

Bottom-upProcess Top-downProcess
Focuses on linguistic components of speech message. Listening is a process of decoding messages from phonemes to words, phrases, sentences. It includes: · hearing and identifying sounds · recognizing or guessing meaning and form of words, grammatical structures · understanding intonation and stress · catching important words Focuses on the speaker's purpose and the topic, more on the meaning than phonetic, lexical and grammatical elements. Listening is a process ofpredicting or activating the listener's ownknowledge of the topic for full understanding of the message. It includes: · identification of the speaker's communicative purpose or the main idea of the message · catching specific information (time, numbers, names) · speaking after listening

Types of listening:

1. Extensive listening is listening for pleasure. It takes place outside the classroom (at student’s home, car or MP3 player). In the classroom extensive is listening for the gist.

2. Active listening is a process (done step by step) to get very accurate information. Active listening is listening for details.

3. Intensive listening is listening and making tasks. Intensive listening is listening for conclusions. Intensive listening are taped material and material on disk.

Principles of teaching listening:

1. Use of real–life listening material.

2. Use of authentic material.

3. Use of various situations and topics to listen.

4. Use of visual aids, mime and gestures.

5. Choice of materials according to speakers' age, abilities, level.

6. Use of different forms of work: individual, in pairs, in small groups, as a whole class.

7. Relaxed and supportive atmosphere (introduction to new vocabulary, help).

8. Identification of problems with comprehension of language forms and speech.

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