Grammar and Language Teaching

English Grammar
Zhong Caishun
Tel: 13699529035
Email: [email protected]
QQ: 641911103
First thing goes first!
1. What is grammar?
 2. Why do we study grammar?
 3. How can grammar be acquired/learned?
 4. What shall we do in this course?
1. What is grammar
Grammar is the formal study of the
structure of a language and describes how
words fit together in meaningful
 A property of brain
 a specific description, study or analysis of
rules for language use
Home computers are now much cheaper.
Home computers now much are cheaper.*
 Susan likes Tom.
Tom likes Susan.
operational grammar vs. analytic
We acquire a working knowledge of our
native language simply through being
exposed to it from early childhood.
 You study grammar, however, if you want
to be able to analyse your language. The
analytic grammar makes explicit the
knowledge of the rules with which you
operate when you use the language.
Descriptive vs. prescriptive
A descriptive rule is one that describes how people use their
Sometimes people speaking the same dialect disagree in their
evaluation of particular sentences. For example, some speakers of
standard British English find acceptable I demand that she gives her
reasons; others prefer or require a different form of the verb in the thatclause, either that she give her reasons or that she should give her
Rules that specify which usages should be adopted or avoided are
called prescriptive rules. Examples of prescriptive rules are:
Don’t use like as a conjunction, as in He speaks like his father does.
Don’t use between you and I.
Don’t split an infinitive, as in to actually feel.
 Don’t end a sentence with a preposition.
Knowing the rules in evaluative and
operational senses does not mean that
you can say what the rules are.
What makes a good rule?
 Limitation
 Clarity
 Simplicity
 Familiarity
 Relevance
2. Why do we study grammar?
Read the following two reflective
comments and discuss your opinions
A language is learned through practice. It
is merely perfected through grammar.
3. How can grammar be acquired
or learned?
Implicit or explicit
 Inductive or deductive
(PPP) Models
a structured three-stage sequence:
a presentation stage
a practice stage
In the presentation stage, the new grammar rule or structure is introduced,
usually through a text, a dialogue, or a story that includes the structure. The
students listen to the text or read it out loud. The main purpose of this stage
is to help students become familiar with the new grammatical structure and
keep it in their short-term memory (Ur, 1988).
In this stage, students are given various kinds of written and spoken
exercises to repeat, manipulate, or reproduce the new forms. The practice
stage usually begins with controlled practices that focus learners’ attention
on specific structures and then moves to less controlled practices with more
open-ended activities. The aim of the practice stage is to help students gain
control of the knowledge introduced in the presentation stage, to take it in,
and to move it from their short-term memory to their long-term memory (Ur,
and a production stage
In the production stage, learners are encouraged to use the rules they have
learned in the presentation and practice stages more freely and in more
communicative activities. The aim of this last stage is to fully master the new
form by enabling learners to internalize the rules and use them automatically
and spontaneously.
 Present
Can any body tell me what Jim is doing?
 What is Mary doing?
 Repetition
in chorus or individually
 Describe
an ongoing activity
While there is substantial evidence that grammar instruction results
in learning as measured by discrete-point language tests (e.g., the
grammar test in the TOEFL), there is much less evidence to show
that it leads to the kind of learning that enables learners to perform
the targeted form in free oral production (e.g., in a communicative
Where syntax is concerned, research has demonstrated that
learners rarely, if ever, move from zero to targetlike mastery of new
items in one step. Both naturalistic and classroom learners pass
through fixed developmental sequences in word order, negation,
questions, relative clauses, and so on—sequences which have to
include often quite lengthy stages of nontargetlike use of forms as
well as use of nontargetlike forms.
Besides practice, language acquisition processes appear to be
governed by many psychological constraints (Pienemann, 1998).
Communicative approaches
the aim of language learning as acquiring
communicative ability, that is, the ability to use
and interpret meaning in real-life communication
(Widdowson, 1978), not simply learning formal
grammatical rules and structures
linguistic competence (i.e., knowledge of
grammar rules) and communicative competence
(i.e., knowledge of language use and the ability
to use language)
no established instructional procedures
 notional-functional curriculums, the
procedural, process-based syllabuses,
content-based and immersion models,
task-based instruction
Integrative approaches
Recent research in second language acquisition
(SLA), however, has led to a reconsideration of
the importance of grammar. Many researchers
now believe that grammar teaching should not
be ignored in second language classrooms.
Language teaching professionals have also
become increasingly aware that grammar
instruction plays an important role in language
teaching and learning. There are a number of
reasons for this re-evaluation of the role of
4. What to do in this course?
Course syllabus
The focus today is on entertainment to
such a degree that society expects even
learning to be “fun,” an attitude that
trivializes the hard work necessary to
master any subject (see Williams, 2002).
Don’t forget assignment for next week!
 Read
Chapter 1
 Write memo
 Do E.B. (pp.1-7)
 Prepare presentation if it is your group’s turn.
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