Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 36
  1. #1
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    44,191
    Post Thanks / Like

    Learn Grammar; I didn't!

    On reflection, I couldn't be a worse host for an English language website....

    Read more...

    Source: The UsingEnglish ESL Digest
    Online newsletter weblog containing ideas, thoughts and musings about the English language and its use, and is aimed at ESL learners and teachers alike.

  2. #2
    P plater teacher Guest

    Re: Learn Grammar; I didn't!

    I attended school in Australia during the turbulent changeover from 'Process writing' approach to the 'genre' approach and now I am teaching an extreme grammar focussed curriculum. It's a little hard to keep up with!
    The process writing approach (if you don't know it) was the "let's give the students a pen and paper and see what happens". Every day I would write reams of stream of consciousness and my teachers would become frustrated with me because my story never finished (and hence, could not be published). Teachers were directed not to teach grammar but occassionally we heard the terms 'describing word' instead of adjective, etc.
    (I am still incredibly insecure about how to write 'properly' especially in a forum such as this! When I am nervous I revert to rambling diatribes, perhaps a throwback to those process writing days.)
    The genre approach focussed on the function of language. What were we trying to do with each individual written piece? Were we trying to persuade, inform, provoke, etc.? What was the form of the piece? Was it a letter, business report, advertisement, etc.?
    In both these forms of English education we were not taught grammar explicitly. Our teachers had studied English grammar, of course, and a minute amount probably made it's way into the classroom.
    All this is just preamble; the problem is I never learnt any grammar....and now I am teaching English in a Japanese classroom. Every day I am given instructions such as 'Prepare an activity for the continuous present tense' or 'Come up with a game for negative sentences'.
    My entire job is to make grammar drills and repetition palatable.
    I am interested in grammar after years of learning English usage...
    Is there a chance that students could authentically be interested in English grammar without having the ability to use the language?
    Are there activities that could engage students in the actual study of grammar rather than always trying to take the focus off the grammar by jumping around like the usual ALT monkey?
    I'd like to be more than the sugar that helps the medicine go down.
    Anyway, this is just a jumble of thoughts, and it's gotten completely off the subject, sorry.

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    44,191
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Learn Grammar; I didn't!

    I avoid ALT monkeyism altogether. How old are these students? Do they engage in the learning much?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    4
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Learn Grammar; I didn't!

    Hello,

    I hope you don't mind me cutting in.

    English grammar...... when I started studying English at school(Ahh....it's really long time ago...!), I thought English grammar was far easier than my own mother tongue Japanese. At least I 'thought' so at that time.

    I've been learning English as my second language for decades, but I still have a lot of difficulty in understanding it(and its grammar). Now I really know how difficult English grammar is. I think English is the most complicated language in the world. It has a huge amount of rules, and in addtion to that it has a lot of 'exceptions.'

    It looks almost impossible for me to absorb these grammatical rules including annoying exceptions......!! Actually I often get stuck and irritated because of these grammatical matters. I understand how important grammar is, but I decided not to take it too seriously like I used to. Otherwise I can't 'enjoy' using English......


    P Plater teacher;
    I have a son who is a junior high school student. It seems his teachers(ALT) generally play English games(activities) in class. The main focus of these activities is to let the students 'speak out' in English concerning the grammatical expressions they're working currently. As for my son, he enjoys being asked a lot of questions by his English teachers.
    Let me wish you a good luck with your teaching job..... please don't make yourself too worried...!

    Tdol;
    I like the expression 'monkeyism'....!


    Kumiko

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    44,191
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Learn Grammar; I didn't!

    English grammar is deceptive- it seems easy at first, but as you go higher up, the number of exceptions and little bits and pieces make it increasinglyy complex. Mind you, Japanese grammar is pretty spectacular to me. On the rare occasions I can get a few words right, I feel shocked as I expect to be told it's wrong.
    Last edited by Tdol; 17-Jun-2005 at 03:18. Reason: typo

  6. #6
    HaraKiriBlade's Avatar
    HaraKiriBlade is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Korean
      • Home Country:
      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    426
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Learn Grammar; I didn't!

    Sorry for butting in... but what is ALT monkey?? is ALT an acronym?

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    44,191
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Learn Grammar; I didn't!


  8. #8
    HaraKiriBlade's Avatar
    HaraKiriBlade is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Korean
      • Home Country:
      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    426
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Learn Grammar; I didn't!

    I saw the pictures at the link.

    And it's throwing me off even more.

    Does this have ANYTHING to do with teaching / learning English? is it a English class activity? is ALT name of a school? judging by the posts here it's only me who has no idea.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    52
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Learn Grammar; I didn't!

    Quote Originally Posted by HaraKiriBlade
    I saw the pictures at the link.

    And it's throwing me off even more.

    Does this have ANYTHING to do with teaching / learning English? is it a English class activity? is ALT name of a school? judging by the posts here it's only me who has no idea.
    Hara,

    ALT means assistant language teacher.

    There is a very good reason that grammar has not been taught in schools for a number of years. There wasn't anyone who could teach it. What had been passed off as English grammar for centuries was nothing more than a bunch of old wives tales.

    SPlater and Tdol obviously know the grammar of their language well or they wouldn't have been able to write as they did.

    Yes, English grammar is difficult, exceedingly so but learning a language isn't or it doesn't have to be. Relating this to Japan, one of the major problems wrt English education is the focus on grammar.

    Teaching this incredibly complex subject to children is going to make them fluent, even competent at English. I'm afraid that the results clearly show this is not the case.

    It's really very easy to create meaningful language practice in the classroom. The first principle to follow is, "if they can see it, they can understand". The second follows from the first; "if they can understand, they can match the language to what they see". This really isn't any different than how we acquire our own language.

    Grammar is nothing more than the rules for a language. Memorizing them does not create language. Memorizing bad rules is even worse. None of the teachers in Japan know the rules of grammar well enough to teach in this fashion. But this really shouldn't come as any shock for all I'm saying is that using grammar [and translation] to teach language is completely futile.

  10. #10
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    44,191
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Learn Grammar; I didn't!

    There is often a problem with students who 'know' rules of grammar but cannot communicate. Sadly, the increased dominance of exams in ESL in general is likely to reinforce the grammar-heavy approach at the expense of communication because, quite simply, grammar is the easiest thing to test.

Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Teaching Grammar
    By Red5 in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 11-Jul-2007, 10:13
  2. What is grammar? How do we learn it?
    By Red5 in forum UsingEnglish.com Content
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 21-Sep-2004, 13:34
  3. How to learn English grammar for free online
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 23-Nov-2003, 00:09
  4. Simple but comprehensive grammar list?
    By Wong in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 23-Sep-2003, 19:04
  5. corrections help
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 21-Feb-2003, 18:05

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •