Knowing the Nuances of Teaching Grammar is Important
Since the classical era, the Grammar-Translation Method paved its way in language teaching. The students used to master Latin and Greek by memorizing its various grammatical rules and vocabulary list. As a matter fact, this old school method of grammar learning is still held indispensable in developing foreign language ability and hence the contemporary online TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and online TESOL (Teaching English to the Speakers of Other Language) courses have grammar teaching as a principal module.
However, the linguists worldwide are divided in their opinions with the role played by grammar in language teaching. While many assert that the method exhibits success in making students develop a general likelihood towards a foreign language, a group of erudite feels that the method causes a serious hindrance in making people fluent in a foreign language.
There is no water tight conclusion to this debate but learning to teach grammar is indeed vital to obtain a successful career in TEFL and TESOL.
Concisely, grammar is a backbone of a language. Anything one learns about the language without understanding the grammatical rule behind it is nothing but sheer flux. Grammar is the basic framework that helps one organize a message properly for putting across. If one doesn’t enjoy a good command of the underlying grammar, he/she can never get a complete hold of the language structure.
The way of teaching grammar is strictly compartmentalized by many teachers. Either they concentrate on training the students as hard core grammarians or the style they follow is solely communicative, in which students are given an article and asked to comment critically. Each of the styles has its own specific purpose but to train a novice properly one needs to design a course that combines and balances both the styles perfectly.
In real space it has been observed that a learner exposed to an all-grammar-oriented method in spite of knowing all the grammatical rules by heart has failed in effective communication while another exposed only to the communicative approach would apparently seem quite proficient but the in-depth knowledge gained by him/her is largely superfluous and would fail to strive in the long run.
So, the basic solution one should try to get is not whether grammar should be taught or not, rather how it should be taught. The foremost factor teachers should keep in mind is that they are creating new users of a second or foreign language and not linguists. This is the foundation stone of any online TEFL course. In a TEFL or TESOL course, a trainer basically engages the students in conversational situations in course of which attention is paid to their appropriate usage of language and patterns.
It is known to all that we get most of English past forms by adding “-ed” at the end of the word. If a learner will know this, he will immediately be able to learn quite a few English words without having to memorize huge vocabulary list. Initially the student might use terms like eated, swimmed, or goed mistakenly but these are early hiccups and the students will soon learn to overcome these minor errors.
The fact is grammar makes its complete sense only to a learner if and only if the learner has been exposed to the language for a considerable time period. Having a flawless handholding of grammar is useful when one has words to fill it in and humans to communicate with.
The progression of teaching grammar of a language can be adapted as follows:
• The learners should be exposed to real situations and contexts
• Initial focus should be sited on the gist and not form
• More specific meaning should be taken under consideration
• Once the students have received a holistic understanding of how the language works, his/her focus should be drawn towards particular grammatical rules and forms.
• As they have already known the practice, it would be easier for them to relate, which will in turn strengthen their ability and confidence of using those patterns promptly.
• Repetitive practice of new structures using grammar drills and recycling the topics at regular intervals will perfect their language learning skill like never before, assisting them acquire the new structure as naturally as possible.