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of consciousness and my teachers would become frustrated with me because my story never finished (and hence, could not be published).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.
- For Teachers