MR-BEJO.COM - Blog for Business and Education
RSS Feed
Subscribes

Teaching Grammar

g

Addressing the Grammar Gap in Task Work

______________________________________________

Jack C. Richards

 

The statues of grammar-focused teaching or form-focused instruction has undergone a major reassessment since the 1970s. the advent of communicative language teaching ostensibly saw the demise of grammar-based instruction: Grammatical syllabuses were superseded by communicative ones based on functions or tasks; grammar-based methodologies such as the Presentation-Practice-Production (PPP) lesson format underlying the Situational Approach gave way to function- and skill-based teaching; and accuracy activities such as drills and grammar practice were replaced by fluency activities based on interactive small-group work.

 

 

FROM GRAMMAR-FOCUSED TO TASK-FOCUSED INSTRUCTION

The differences between traditional grammar-focused activities and communicative task work:

o   Grammar-Focused Activities

> reflect typical classroom use of language

> focus on the formation of correct examples of language

> produce language for display (as evidence of learning)

> call on explicit knowledge

> elicit a careful (monitored) speech style

> reflect controlled performance

> practice language out of context

> practice small samples of language

> do not require authentic communication

 

o   Task-Focused Activities

> reflect natural language use

> call on implicit knowledge

> elicit a vernacular speech style

> reflect automatic performance

> require the use of improvising, paraphrasing, repair and reorganiz0tion

> produce language that is not always predictable

> allow students to select the language they use

>require real communication

 

 

GRAMMAR IN RELATION TO SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION PROCESSES

Five stages of the learning process:

               I                         II                        III                      IV                   V

Input    -->        Intake  -->         Acquisition   -->       Access  -->     Out put

 

 

o   INPUT

Input refers to language sources that are used to initiate the language learning process. Text-books and commercial material, teacher-made materials, and teacher-initiated classroom discourse all serve as input sources in language classes.

At the input stage in language learning, an attempt may be made to focus learners’ attention on particular linguistic features of the input (input enhancement) by such means as:

> Simplification of input : The language corpus the learners are exposed to (via both textbooks and teacher’s discourse) may contain a restricted set of tenses and structures.

> Frequency of Exposure : A target form may occur frequently within a source text (such as when a text is written  to bring in several occurrences of the past tense or h past continuous).

> Explicit instruction : A target form may be presented formally together with information about how it is used, followed by practice.

> Implicit instruction : Students’ attention may be drawn to a target  form and they may have to induce the rule or system underlying its use.

> Consciousness-raising : Activities are provided to make learners aware of certain  linguistic features in the input, without necessarily requiring them to produce them.

 

o   INTAKE

Van Patten (1993) defines intake as ‘that subset of the input that is comprehended and attended to in some way. It contains the linguistic “data” that are made available for acquisition.’  Factor thought to affect how items pass from input to intake include:

> Complexity: Items should be at an appropriate level of difficulty.

> Saliency: Items must be experienced with sufficient frequency.

> Need: The item must fulfill a communicative need.

 

o   ACQUISITION

This refers to the process by which the learner incorporates a new learning item into his or her developing system or interlanguage. A number of processes appear to be involved:

> Noticing : Learners need to recognize differences between forms they are using and targetlike forms.

> Discovering rules : According to the theory of UNIVERSAL Grammar, learning also involves identification of the grammatical variables which operate in the target language and which  account for the specific linguistic characteristics of that language, such as the rules underlying target-language word order, clause patterns, nominal groups, phrase structures, and so on.

> Accommodation and restructuring : Van Patten (1993) describes these processes as ‘those that mediate the incorporation of intake into the developing system.

> Experimentation : Much of the learner’s output in the target language can e described  as the result of experimentation as the learner forms hypotheses about the target language and tests them out.

 

o   ACCESS

Access refers to the learner’s ability to draw upon his or her interlanguage system during communication. The context in which the learner is using the language as well as its purpose may affect the extent to which he or she is successful in calling up aspects of the acquired system: ‘access involves making use of the developing system to create output’. Skehan (1996) refers to this process as ‘fluency’, which concerns ‘the learner’s capacity to mobilize an interlanguage system to communicate meanings in real time’.

 

o   OUTPUT

Output refers to the observed   results of the learners’  efforts.

 

 

ADDRESSING GRAMMAR WITHIN TASK WORK

A focus on grammar can be addressed at several different stages of the teaching/learning process – at the stages of  Input, Intake, Acquisition, Access or Output. Skehan (1996) proposes the following principles as the basis of a methodology that includes a focus on form as part of an overall communicative approach to teaching:

o   Exposure to language at an appropriate level of difficulty

o   Engagement in meaning-focused interaction in the language

o   Opportunities for learners to notice or attend to linguistic form while using the language.

o   Opportunities to expand the language resources learners make use of (both lexical and syntactic) over time.

 

ADDRESSING ACCURACY PRIOR TO THE TASK

Pre-task activities have two goals:

(1)       to provide language support that can be used in completing a task;

(2)       to clarify the nature of the task so that students can give less attention to procedural aspects of the task and hence monitor the linguistic accuracy of their performance while carrying out a task.

Pre-task activities can aim to teach, or mobilize, or make salient language which will be relevant to task performance. This can be accomplished in the following ways

1.   By pre-teaching certain linguistic forms that can be used while completing a task.:

2.   By reducing the cognitive complexity of the task.

3.   By giving time to plan the task.

 

ADDRESSING ACCURACY DURING THE TASK

Task implementation factors include:

> Participation: whether the task is completed individually or with other learners.

> Procedures: the number of procedures involved in completing the task

> Resources: the materials and other resources provided for the learners to use while completing the task.

> Order: the sequencing of a task in relation to previous tasks

> Product: the outcome or outcomes students produce such as a written product or an oral one.

 

ADDRESSING ACCURACY AFTER THE TASK

Grammatical appropriateness can also be addressed after a task has been completed. Activities of this type include the following:

o   Public performance: After completing a task in small groups, students carry out the task in front of the class or another group.

o   Repeat performance: The same activity might be repeated with some elements modified, such as the amount of time available.

 

Tue, 31 May 2011 @15:37

Welcome
image

Bejo Sutrisno, M.Pd

0815-978-1395


PER. TAMAN KINTAMANI, Blok C7/05, RT.22/RW.08, TAMBUN UTARA, BEKASI, JAWA BARAT.
Check Your Domain Name

Check Domain Name ?

Recent Articles
BRITISH PROPOLIS

Propolis for Kids

BIKIN WEB HEMAT

web

BP-MR-BEJO.COM