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  1. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    English Teacher
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      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 68,453
    #1

    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. P plater teacher
    Guest
    #2

    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of consciousness and my teachers would become frustrated with me because my story never finished (and hence, could not be published).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. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 68,453
    #3

    Re: Learn Grammar; I didn't!

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


    • Join Date: Sep 2004
    • Posts: 4
    #4

    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

  4. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 68,453
    #5

    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 02:18. Reason: typo

  5. HaraKiriBlade's Avatar
    Member
    Student or Learner
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      • Native Language:
      • Korean
      • Home Country:
      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea

    • Join Date: Apr 2005
    • Posts: 451
    #6

    Re: Learn Grammar; I didn't!

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

  6. #7

    Re: Learn Grammar; I didn't!

    Hi Kumiko,
    You've writen "English is the most complicated language in the world".
    I'm not sure about it! Haven't you heard about hungarian language?
    They say it IS the most difficult one after the chinese.
    Alice

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