by Lesly D. Mendiola
Does teaching a new language involves grammar?
Since a few years ago, learning a new language has become a requirement, not only a hobby. The process of teaching has been changed through the years to improve the methods and techniques for a better learning. One of the skills that is questioned when teaching a new language is grammar, itis the study of the structures that are possibles in a language so the speaker can use them to express what they really want to say. According to Thornbury (1999): “…Learners need to learn not only what forms are possible, but what particular form will express their particular meaning…” When we are learning a language it is different the way we speak to the way we write.To become a good languagelearner you also need to learn the grammar structures; not only because you know how to speak means that you have learned the language. Grammar is an important part of a language.
This part of the language has become a difficult task to teach because some students only want to learn how to communicate by speaking, and they do not realize that you need grammar in order to speak correctly. Whengetting the time to teach grammar to students, teachers have to find the way to do it attractive and dynamic for students, so they can really like it and learn it. Learning a language not only involves words, but also includes which ones you should use to express the correct meaning. Acquiring a new language is very difficult because every skill is different and needs to be taught in a specialway so the learning can be meaningful for students.
Some researchers have different opions about teaching grammar.For example, Thornbury (1999) mentioned Chomsky’s idea of universal grammar (1950): “... Chomsky argues that humans are `hard-wired´ to learn languages: that is there are universal principles of grammar that we are born with. The idea of an innate universal grammar helps explainsimilarities in the developmental order in first language acquisition as well as in second language acquisition...” Languages are very different from each one, but as Chomsky mentioned, languages can have some similarities in structures. Those similarities help the learners to have an idea of the grammar structures but not all of them are the same, and that is why grammar needs to be taught as wellas the other skills on language.
Other theorists think that grammar can be learn naturally. As Thornbury (1999) mentioned in his book, Krashen thought: “...Acquisition occurs when the learner is exposed to the right input in a stress-free environment so that innate earning capacities are triggered...” He mentioned that learning is better without any stress so they can learn in a naturalorder, and that for a meaningful learning process the structures used to be taught must be choosen carefully. In my opinion, I do not think that grammar of a second language can be learn naturally because it is not the same when you have already the acknowledge of the first language. When we are learning a second language we tend to compare our mother tongue with the second language, and that causesus problems.
Since the early stages of teaching, researchers have been thinking if grammar needs to be teach by its own, or integrated with other skills. For example, in the Grammar-Translation method people were taught by using translation, only focusing in written language. In this method the rule was given out and the students had to practice using excercises involving translation intoand out of their mother tongue. Then the Direct Method emerged, which prioritised oral skills. In this method, grammar was taught in a natural way, by using the target language. Later, Audiolingualism emerged, in which grammar did not played the main part of learning a language. This approach was most about pattern-practice drills. There have been changes in the approches for a better learning...