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English Teaching: Practice and Critique

May 2006, Volume 5, Number 1 pp. 122-141

Approaches and procedures for teaching grammar
HANDOYO PUJI WIDODO The English Program, Politeknik Negeri Jember (State Polytechnic of Jember) East Java, Indonesia ABSTRACT: Teaching grammar has been regarded as crucial to the ability to uselanguage. For this reason, this article introduces a five-step procedure for teaching grammar. I have developed this procedure, which incorporates the notions of practice and consciousness-raising, explicit and implicit knowledge, and deductive and inductive approaches for teaching grammar. This procedure has been derived from my great interest in innovative grammar teaching and my teachingexperience in grammar. The proposed steps are expected to be an alternative pathway for English teachers to teach grammar, particularly teaching tenses and modals at college-university levels or even in secondary schools. KEYWORDS: Practice and consciousness-raising, explicit/implicit knowledge, deductive/inductive approaches, English grammar, teaching procedures. Grammar gains its prominence in languageteaching, particularly in English as a foreign language (EFL) and English as a second language (ESL), inasmuch as without a good knowledge of grammar, learners’ language development will be severely constrained. Practically, in the teaching of grammar, learners are taught rules of language commonly known as sentence patterns. According to Ur (1999), in the case of the learners, grammatical rulesenable them to know and apply how such sentence patterns should be put together. The teaching of grammar should also ultimately centre attention on the way grammatical items or sentence patterns are correctly used. In other words, teaching grammar should encompass language structure or sentence patterns, meaning and use. Further, grammar is thought to furnish the basis for a set of languageskills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. In listening and speaking, grammar plays a crucial part in grasping and expressing spoken language (e.g. expressions) since learning the grammar of a language is considered necessary to acquire the capability of producing grammatically acceptable utterances in the language (Corder, 1988; Widodo, 2004). In reading, grammar enables learners to comprehendsentence interrelationship in a paragraph, a passage and a text. In the context of writing, grammar allows the learners to put their ideas into intelligible sentences so that they can successfully communicate in a written form. Lastly, in the case of vocabulary, grammar provides a pathway to learners how some lexical items should be combined into a good sentence so that meaningful and communicativestatements or expressions can be formed. In other words, Doff (2000) says that by learning grammar students can express meanings in the form of phrases, clauses and sentences. Long and Richards (1987) add that it cannot be ignored that grammar plays a central role in the four language skills and vocabulary to establish communicative tasks.

Copyright © 2006, ISSN 1175 8708


H. WidodoApproaches and procedures for teaching grammar

In the context of EFL, teaching grammar has traditionally been dominated by a grammar-translation method where the use of mother tongue is clearly important to elicit the meaning of target language by translating the target language into native languages. For example, according to Larsen-Freeman (2000) and Richards and Rodgers (2002), in such amethod learners are required to learn about grammar rules and vocabulary of the target language. In the case of grammar, it is deductively taught; that is, learners are provided the grammar rules and examples, are told to memorize them, and then are asked to apply the rules to other examples. Many teachers think that teaching grammar separately is not favorable to learners since learners only...
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