"On the Teaching and Learning of Grammar: Challenging the Myths"

"On the Teaching and Learning of Grammar: Challenging the Myths"

On the Teaching and Learning of Grammar: Challenging the Myths By Diane Larsen-Freeman Grammar structures have form AND function Grammar teaching is often reduced to transformational rules; meaning and purpose of structures is not given enough attention Teach grammar in context Knowing how, when, and why to say what to whom (from Standards for Foreign Language Learning)

Interlanguage Rule-governed Errors are consistent, although there may be some variability (e.g. Problem 3.2 I dont understand, I no remember) U-shaped behavior, backsliding Learner may appear to have acquired structures, but they may be imitating Apparent backsliding may be the result of cognitive restructuring (e.g. Problem 3.1 [duju]) Megamyth: language instruction should mirror L1 acquisition

Krashen; Natural Approach Linguistics vs. pedagogy SLA theory attempts to describe what is minimally necessary for L2 acquisition to occur what is minimally necessary for SLA to take place outside the classroom does not automatically constitute the most effective means of learning in the classroom Teachers role is to stimulate learning rather than to emulate acquisition Should grammar be taught? ARGUMENTS AGAINST:

It is possible to acquire grammar without overt teaching Student have difficulty learning and retaining concepts from traditional grammar There is no relationship between grammar study and writing (Krashen) The teaching of formal grammar has a negligible oreven a harmful effect on the improvements of writing (NCTE)

ARGUMENTS FOR: Canadian French immersion programs limited accuracy in French syntax and morphology Less salient grammatical features or those not crucial for comprehension are not acquired Self-reinforcing nature of peer interlanguage *me llamo es

Form-focused instruction converts input to intake Destabilize an incorrect rule Error correction Krashen, UG since L2 acquisition mirrors L1, linguistic forms will trigger appropriate parameter setting How do learners know a nonoccurrence of a possibility if they have no access to negative evidence *John drank slowly the coffee Do we have access to UG during L2 acquisition? Linguistic theory vs. pedagogy: just because it might not be necessary doesnt imply it wont help (Carroll and Swain, 1993)

Beyond SLA theory: What teachers know Individual learner differences Some learners will be successful regardless of the method Assessment techniques may not adequately measure what has been learned Learners need to be ready to learn Time constraints where to focus? Persistence of errors (especially in the case of L1/L2 partial identity) Practice makes perfect, or at least better Metalanguage talking about language

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