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  1. #1
    crispringsteen is offline Newbie
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    Default Grammar: to teach or not to teach?

    Hi everyone!

    We are new here. Our names are Alba, Laura and Cristina and we are from Spain. We are studing Teaching English as a Foreign Language. One of our teachers has asked us if English grammar should be explicitly taught in class or not. And why.

    What do you think? Could anyone help us to answer this question?

    Thank you very much!

  2. #2
    crispringsteen is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Grammar: to teach or not to teach?

    Hi again!

    We think that we didn't express ourselves correclty. We're sorry. We are not looking for an answer for a homework assigment.
    The fact is that we are doing a subject which is about Using New Technologies as English teachers. What we have to do is to find opinions in the web that answer to the question "Should grammar be explicitly taught in class? Why?". We have to participate in teacher forums and ask for opinions.

    So, please, could you give us your opinions?

    Thank you very much!

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Grammar: to teach or not to teach?

    Yes, but it should not be the only thing taught. Overdependence on grammar can affect things like fluency, but there is nothing wrong in my opinion with the teaching of grammar.

  4. #4
    crispringsteen is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Grammar: to teach or not to teach?

    Thank you for your answer Tdol

  5. #5
    savedhamlet554 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Grammar: to teach or not to teach?

    I think it is very important as long as you include it in interesting contexts. Show the grammar in texts don't give students the rules only.

    Fluency is most important but without at least some knowledge of grammar how should someone become fluent if all you can do is add one word after the other, not knowing about the proper use of tenses, prepositions, contextual uses, and alike, therefore not really understanding the gist of the language you're learning. Some basics in grammar have to be taught.

    You can't claim you know a language if all you know is the vocabulary.

  6. #6
    crispringsteen is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Grammar: to teach or not to teach?

    Thank you hamlet 554

    From your answers, we can see that you agree in the fact that grammar should not be avoided in class. We think, as you, that it is necessary to teach grammar in order to learn a language. The question is: should it be EXPLICITLY taught? That means, should we teach grammar only focusing on its rules and making our students learn all them by heart?

    In our opinion, grammar rules should not be the only thing taught (as Tdol said). We should make our students use grammar in real/interesting contexts (as hamlet said). That is, students should know grammar in order to communicate messages properly. So, we should focus more on communication rather than on learning grammar rules out of a context. If students are concentrating on giving correct messages, they are learning and using grammar without "knowing" it.

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Grammar: to teach or not to teach?

    It also depends on the learners- young learners may well find grammar dull, while older learners, especially those that have studied other languages and have an understanding of grammar, may find it interesting. As a learner, I enjoy grammar. Many don't.

  8. #8
    savedhamlet554 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Grammar: to teach or not to teach?

    First, I agree with Tdol that grammar can be very interesting in itself, too.

    Second, I also have to admit that even with young learners it sometimes seems unavoidable to teach 'pure' grammar. Sometimes students don't seem to be able to grasp a certain grammar aspect in context although it occurs over and over again in a 'natural' text. In such cases it's simply necessary to take the problem out of the text and have an explicit example (or more) on the bord to look at, only going back to the text once the students really have understood how the separate pieces of a certain grammar structure are put together to make it work.

    I am a big language lover and have to say that I do enjoy trying out different grammar structures myself to find out how to best express something as many structures apply and would work out fine to express a certain thing. But there sometimes is just the slightest difference in meaning if you change the grammar structure which sort of better hits what you're trying to express. I love playing around a little with my words. So, knowing grammar outside of a text sometimes better helps you when writing your own text.

  9. #9
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    Smile Re: Grammar: to teach or not to teach?

    I am new to this forum also. I am not an English as a foreign language teacher or an ESL teacher. I have taken languages though, studying German, Latin, and Coeur d'Alene (a Native American language of a tribe for which I work.) I often pondered the question of whether grammar should be taught explicitly, especially to U.S. children for whom English was their mother tongue. I began to see the value of it, though, as I began to learn other languages and even as I try to hold a conversation with my husband who could "never get into" learning anything about grammar and didn't understand its worth.

    The grammar is the armature, or skeleton, on which the words hang. It lends meaning to the words and understanding to the sentence. Without understanding the structure of the language, you can only progress so far. Children in school come with a basic understanding of the language they have learned. They can carry on a conversation and get by fairly well until they need a more sophisticated understanding of conventions to gain better meanings. Proper grammar helps simplify conversations. The speakers can get a much clearer communication and avoid the extra explanations of "What I meant was..." "Did you really say what I thought I heard? Or did you mean something else?" and so forth.

    Sooo, I believe that at some point some explicit teaching of grammar is necessary and desirable, whether you are teaching a conversational class or a more formal writing or communication class.

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