Importance of Grammar to Job Applicants and Employees Essay
All jobs involve the use of language as a mode of expressing oneself. This means that, even if coherence in grammar may not be a prerequisite for a job opening, the skill is required to some extent in the physical job environment. Amid this relevance of grammar to job applicants and employees, the question that remains is whether grammar is a critical tool for turning away potential employees with massive capabilities on the key job requirements fields.
Kyle Wiens, the chief executive officer of iFixit and the founder of Dozuki, categorically states that he cannot hire people who do not know their way around maneuvering with grammar. His reasoning for taking this non-flexible stand is that every aspect of the business involves different extents of details. For instance, he argues that in programming, the junk required is a logic flow details. However, programming is one of the areas of the whole business that requires certain specialized details to accomplish the necessary tasks.
Hence, “when it comes to my whole business, details are everything” (Wiens Para.13). Consequently, Wiens believes that the only applicants whose resumes are worth a second glance are the ones who mind details of grammar. He argues that people who are equipped with details of grammar are also likely to make fewer mistakes when executing other tasks not related to writing such as “stocking shelves or labeling parts” (Wiens Para 11).
Therefore, to avoid sloppy mistakes in the company, the CEO argues that grammar test is the litmus for proving the capacity of the potential employs to demonstrate their ability to pay attention to details as claimed in their resumes. Arguably, Wiens deploys zero tolerance approach to the importance of grammar in work settings.
Opposed to the approach of Wiens to the importance of grammar in job applications and employees, Mc Whorter argues that such an approach is questionable. On the other hand, Rushkoff argues, “without grammar, we lose the agreed-upon standards about what means what” (para.1) .For instance, Mc Whorter says that, for jobs that are beyond communication such as technical writing, “requirements that viable candidates write with Strunk and White on their minds are highly questionable” (Mc Whorter Para.2).
The argument here is that, while Wiens thinks that the capacity of employees to pay critical attention to details of grammar may mean that they also posses the capacity to pay attention to other important details not related to grammar, Mc Whorter and Rushkoff think that people have differing capacities to pay attention to differing things. Consequently, the fact that one is proficient in paying details to one aspect of a job does not necessarily imply that he or she would be so in any other aspect.
However, although the authors seem not to agree on the concept of zero tolerance to grammar, they deploy similar lines of view. In this context, Mc Whorter argues, “flubbing the difference between “it’s” and “its” is not a sign of mental laxness or congenital inattention to detail” (Para.3) while Wiens says that “After all, grammar has nothing to do with job performance, creativity, or intelligence” (Para.10). People who do not have fluency in grammar can delegate certain responsibilities to a certain limitation.
For instance, such people cannot be given tasks involving laying down legal documents and or promotional a material (Mc Whorter Para.5). Apparently, this is why Wiens is concerned about the necessity of zero tolerance approach towards hiring people based on their capacity to communicate flawlessly in grammar. This is so since every task of business entails some form of creating awareness and or conducting business in accordance to some laid out legal procedures that often require documentation.
Mc Whorter, John. Good Applicants with Bad Grammar, 2012. Web.
Rushkoff, Douglas. It’s Not Just Rules; It’s Clear Thinking, 2012. Web.
Wiens, Kyle. I Won’t Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar: Here’s Why, 2012. Web.
The Study of Grammar: An Overview Summary Essay
For many years, English has clearly dominated the world stage. Business, politics, and social media are just a few reasons why people all over the world study the English language. English is a language with incredibly diverse grammar rules depending on origin and upbringing.
English grammar rules vary depending on the country, region, society, and state. However, there have been many initiatives to teach English grammar in an instructive manner. In my case, English is a second language. There are three forms of grammar: prescriptive, descriptive, and structural styles, yet, none is superior to the others. There is no single effective method of teaching English grammar; all grammar styles have a special role to play.
In grammar books and grammar classes, lessons tend to focus on parts of speech, their definitions, and rules for combining them into phrases and clauses. Emphasis is also laid on sentence exercises demonstrating grammatical errors to avoid (Kolln and Funk 78). Many people may experience considerable difficulty learning English.
It may be complex and confusing for many learners. For me, understanding all the rules and ways to avoid grammatical errors was difficult; primarily, due to the fact that there are many exceptions to the rules. In general, there are eight parts of speech in English. One has to connect the parts in a logical manner when constructing a sentence (McArthur 126). A different arrangement may convey a different message. This is a problem affecting mainly those learning English as a second language (ESL).
However, the rules are not universal. In other regions, rules for combining parts of speech may be different. This gives rise to a situation in which one sentence may convey two separate messages. Therefore, learners should be informed of this fact at an early. This is to enable them adapt to various situations they find themselves in.
One style of grammar originated from an English philosopher in 1693. This style of grammar is seen as a traditional form of grammar. It is described as prescriptive grammar. Prescriptive grammar is based on the premise that everything is in black and white. It is followed by preordained rules on how English should be and will be spoken and taught (Chambers 1).
As a rule, when English is taught in the classroom, it is taught in the prescriptive grammar form. Prescriptive grammar focuses on the traditional language structure. This tends to ignore the fact that language should be about communication but not rules. There are many situations in which native speakers use grammatically incorrect sentences, yet they manage to communicate well. Language is dynamic and imposing strict grammar rules may not be the answer.
A more modern approach to language education, however, is guided by the work of linguists, who look at the way the language is actually used (Kolln and Funk 89). Descriptive grammar is a recent form of grammar. Instead of focusing on rules and sentence structures, descriptive grammar focuses on a day-to-day usage. It is a constantly evolving form of grammar. It enables both teachers and learners to look at grammar in the context of either country or region of origin.
Descriptive grammar experts look at how language is used and then try to come up with rules and regulations inherent in the language (Pullum, “Power and linguistics” 12). This enables learners and teachers to appreciate that some forms of grammar are correct even though they are not acceptable in a traditional grammar setting. However, care must be taken when approaching grammar this way.
It may alter the language confusing both the native and English as second language speakers (Pullum, “50 years” 3). On the other hand, it is important to note that language is not static. The English language has evolved to its current form over centuries. It has undoubtedly undergone numerous modifications. Other languages have exerted their influence on it.
Structural grammar is based on the analysis of a language structure. Like the anthropologists studying the speech of Native Americans, the structuralists also recognize the importance of describing language on its own terms (Kolln and Robert 46). It describes the structure of language as a standalone phenomenon.
It attempts to give a detailed analysis of the language in terms of sentence structure, usage and origin. In my opinion, structural grammar is more difficult to describe. This type of style is depicted as more of an analysis than a grammar style. By far, structural grammar is more technical than any other style. It is a difficult method of instruction.
Grammar styles and structure are constantly changing. Therefore, there should be a way of effectively instructing language. The methods of instruction used should be instructive and meaningful to the learner. Because of the varied forms, grammar does not need to be taught in a rigid way. Yet, care should also be taken not to profoundly alter the language. The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) has addressed a number of questions in a document called “Students’ Right to Their Own Language” (Kolln and Robert 42).
The issues tackled in the document have enabled grammar teachers to teach in a manner that is respectful and accepting of the different language styles. Prescriptive and descriptive forms normally exist together. In most informal works, it is common to find both forms of grammar in use. For example, newspapers and magazines are often written in the widely used form of language. Therefore, this is an indication that in future language will be used depending on the context.
English will continue to dominate the world stage. No other language has been taught in more classrooms than English. All grammar structures, from traditional to modern, have an equal and important part to play in the dynamic and exponential growth of the English language. To be successful on the international stage, one has to have a basic understanding of the language. This is due to the fact that English is widely spoken in the world. Those who speak the language have an advantage over those who rely on interpreters.
This paper analyzed the different forms of grammar and their relevance in English language instruction. Prescriptive style focuses on the grammar rules. It judges the spoken language using laid down rules. It is a rigid method of studying the language. Descriptive style describes language on the basis of context, region, and country.
In this style, emphasis is laid on how language is used as opposed to rules. Structural grammar focuses on the analysis of language structure. This is a complex method of studying language. This form is more of a theoretical framework than a form of grammar. Both prescriptive and descriptive styles often exist together. Language is dynamic and no form of grammar is superior to the other. The English language has evolved over a long period of time.
Chambers, Neal. 2010. Descriptive English Grammar vs Prescriptive English Grammar. PDF file. Web.
Kolln, Martha and Robert Funk. Understanding English Grammar (9th ed), Upper Saddle River: Pearson, 2012. Print.
McArthur, Tom. The Oxford Companion to the English Language, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992. Print.
Pullum, Geoffrey. 2004. Ideology, Power and Linguistic Theory.PDF file. Web.
Pullum, Geoffrey. “50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. 2009. Web.
Teaching grammar and CLT Essay (Critical Writing)
As second and foreign language teachers, we have to look for opportunities to improve the teaching process and enhance its effectiveness. Deepening our knowledge of the current approaches, strategies and methodologies, the educators are enabled to create personal opinion concerning the most effective principles of the language acquisitions.
Reading of Nassaji (2000) and Nunan (1998) researches shedding light upon the issues of the form-focused and communicative approaches to language teaching was helpful for enhancing my awareness of the problem and strengthening my persuasion that the integrative approach incorporating principle of both of the theories is the most effective one.
The primary goal of every foreign language teacher is to prepare the learners for real life communication. The form-focused approach deprives students of opportunities to develop the necessary skills for meeting this demand. Nunan (1998) noted that “We need to supplement form-focused exercises with an approach that dramatizes for learners the fact that different forms enable them to express different meanings; that grammar allows them to make meanings of increasingly sophisticated kinds” (p. 103).
In other words, there is nothing wrong with the form-focused assignments though they should be coupled with communicative exercises for the purpose of filling the gap between theory (cramming the forms) and practice (expressing one’s opinion during the interpersonal communication).
From my own experience of a language learner, it should be noted that the transition between the form-focused and organic exercises might be rather stressful. Being certain what form should be use in every particular case in form-focused exercises, a student might be confused trying to express one’s own ideas. This separation of grammar forms from the context of communication creates the feeling of discrepancy between the grammar norms and the communicative goals in the learner’s consciousness.
The process of language acquisition depends upon the peculiarities of the learners’ perception of the course materials. It has been proven that learners remember not only things but also the context within which they were acquired. Thus, having learnt the table of forms by heart I must recollect the chart in which they have been represented for choosing the appropriate one, while choosing the words for expressing my thoughts at the same time might overcomplicate the process of communication exchange.
For this reason, a teacher should allot time to diverse activities planning language lessons. Nassaji (2000) noted that “the most effective way … is to consider activities that result in attention to form while maintaining meaningful communication and using form for communication” (p. 244). Going from one extreme to another would be unwise; both sides of the language acquisition process are equally significant.
Those who consider the information exchange to be the end goal of second language learning are in the wrong underestimating the importance of accuracy of the student’s speech. The fact is that neglecting the form-focused approach may result in neglecting the grammar forms and distorting the interlocutor’s perception of one’s message.
An ideal language lesson should contain the elements of both approaches. It would enhance the learner’s understanding of the materials and create a colorful picture instead of focusing on separated fragments of the language components.
The primary goal of a contemporary teacher is to incorporate the elements of both form-focused and communicative approaches into the process of language acquisition giving preference to meaningful interaction within the teaching-learning process paying attention to the language accuracy at the same time.
Nassaji, H. (2000) Towards integrating form-focused instruction and communicative interaction in the second language classroom: Some pedagogical possibilities, The Modern Language Journal, 84 (2), pp.241-250.
Nunan, D. (1998) Teaching grammar in context. ELT Journal, 52 (2), pp.101-109.
Creative Ways of Teaching the Grammar Essay
Grammar entails learning rules which dictate how best to apply language and is a segment of the wide-ranging verbal communication studies known as linguistic. In order to develop a good writing skill, it requires one to appreciate the grammar set of laws though several students find it uninteresting, difficult and tedious to learn these rules.
Nevertheless, there are many ways which can be employed to different students of different ages to make it interesting and fun to study grammar. All these ways have to do with presentation that is how the subject is brought up to the students.
One of these ways is teaching grammar through use of ‘fun learning games. This is a strategy that can best be employed to students in an ESL classroom. When for instance teaching a topic on punctuation signs, a teacher may use this strategy by grouping the class into two, and take one group at a time for presentation.
Using a written sentence, the teacher will give every student in that group a particular word including all punctuation marks from that sentence which he/she should write down on a card. Then each and every student will line up with their cards in the proper order of the sentence. Subsequently the students holding the punctuation symbols will fit themselves within the sentence to fill in the punctuations appropriately.
To make this effective, the group that fits the sentence correctly will be get ten points and so on. If there is a mistake in sentence punctuation, the teacher will ask the other group to identify and correct them. If one student wrongly identifies the punctuation problem, he/she gets out for the group and the other group gets one point.
However, if he/she correctly identifies the problem, the group will be awarded two points. The process goes on till every mistake is identified or there is no one else from the opposite group who remains to give an answer or they fail to detect the mistakes.
At this point, the teach calls it “the end” of the first round, helps the students to identify the remaining mistakes if any and call for the second group which will be assigned a new sentence to present. After the competition, the group with the highest number of points will be termed as the winner which will be awarded through applauding or any other gift.
Use of rhymes and songs is another creative way of coaching grammar. Songs are useful in enhancing remembrance of learned grammar. Most importantly, they create a chance of routine classroom activities where every student gets involved in learning.
A song that holds the rule of punctuation, such as “period comes at the end of every sentence”, “comma establishes a pause”, “question mark comes after a question statement” among other verses or musicale verses will make it easier for the student to recall which punctuation mark falls where.
Use of games in grammar teaching can be considered as the best communicative activity in ESL class. This is because, the use of game helps the students to gain both knowledge as well as skills to apply and use this knowledge. Games also create an environment which encourages students to practice and internalize structure, grammar and vocabulary comprehensively.
One reason for success in this strategy is that students are more interested in playing than sitting on desks to study. In addition games do capture the attention of the students and enable them to concentrate on the subject which enables them to absorb the language, grammar and punctuations (grammar rules) subconsciously.
Through use of familiar songs to the students, teachers can eliminate their challenges in classroom. Apart from being memorable, songs are as well motivating. They will motivate students to practice more as they identify with what they like, which includes the songs they are familiar with.
Through introduction of punctuation marks within a song, and practically performing it, students will always remember the usage of these marks when they come across statements similar to one they know.
More importantly, songs are essential in development of student’s ability in verbal communication, writing, paying attention and interpretation. Songs in ESL classrooms are significant tools in encouragement of extensive and intensive listening, and inspire use of imagination and creativity in a student when it comes to writing or speaking.
Presentation of the Target Grammar Term Paper
According to Larsen-Freeman (1986) the way a teacher presents or introduces the target grammar in a more meaningful context plays a critical role in making a student understand what is being presented.
The presentation of the target grammar provides an opportunity for students to either memorize it or neglect it in the soonest time possible as in the case “when a count noun refers to more than one thing, we make it plural….. Adding an “s” or “es” “.
Here, the teacher introduces the target grammar in a meaningful context, explains the meaning, structure and provides tasks to check the students have understood what has been presented.
Presentation of grammar varies with the teacher. It may be presented in explicit or implicit forms. Clear presentation allows the teacher to begin the presentation by stating grammar focus and explaining it using grammatical terms. In contrasts, when presenting grammar implicitly, a teacher may start with an example that embeds the target grammar.
However, whatever the context, Stevick (1996) illustrates that a teacher must incorporate multiple styles of learning and creating a non-linguistic imagery which reinforces the learning process. The teacher may avoid or delay an explanation of grammar. Our model shows the comprehensive approach taken by the teacher in presenting the lesson.
The teacher begins by explaining the grammar focus when he/she says, “when a count noun refers to more than one thing, we make it plural… adding an “s” or “es..“. The teacher may further add, “When the subject of a sentence is plural, the verb must agree with it” The teacher also proceeds with the lesson by explaining a series of examples.
For example, the teacher says “Find some pencils. Where are the pencils? Where are they?” In this case, the teacher does not explain anything about the target structure, but, rather, prefers to obtain this information from the students. Hence, we can deduce that the teacher’s strategy is effective in aiding the students learn and memorize the words being explained.
Guided and Delivery Pattern
According to Hardley (2001) when the teacher has presented the target grammar and assessed understanding of the new form’s meaning, the teacher moves on to the guided phase. The guided phases allow a student with an opportunity to exploit the structure in the context while other variables remain constant (Stevick, 1996).
On some occasions, during this phase, students attempt to use the target grammar in its expressive form and controlled contexts. Here the guided practice in teaching grammar is essential. This is because it provides a significant bridge between the instructor’s presentation of new grammar structure and the student’s use of the new structure in a communicative environment.
By providing a controlling context in which a student uses the target structure, it enables them to gain control of the form without added distraction and strain of trying to use the form for communication (Hardley, 2001). The model has also effectively embraced effective memorization methods. Generally speaking, methods such as repetition, infection, restatement, and completion have been utilized by the teacher.
Teacher: Find some pencils. Where are the pencils? Where are they?(Repetition)
Student: Pencil in bag.
Teacher: Ah, pretty good. Pretty good, but listen. Who can tell me something different?
Student: The pencil is on the desk.
Teacher: The pencil – listen- the pencil is on the desk. The pencil is on the – do we like that? The pencil is on the desk. I see something different. I see pencils. Do you see pencils? (Infection)
Student: Yeah, I see two
The guidance approach and the delivery method accomplished by the teacher demonstrates the effectiveness of the language delivery.
The teacher’s role in this model is active and prominent. This means that it is a teacher dominated process. The teacher is responsible for modeling the target language, controls the directions and place of learning and oversees and corrects the student’s performance. The teacher is responsible for keeping the students committed by varying activities and choosing situations to practice structures.
Student/ learner’s Roles
A student is viewed as an organism which can be guided or directed through skilled training methods to deliver needed responses. In tandem with behaviorist learning theory, the teaching focuses on the exterior expression of learning fairly than on the internal processes.
In this model, we see a student assuming a reactive position by responding to stimuli, thus; she/he has little control over the pace, style of learning or content. The student listening to the teacher, mimic clearly and try to respond to activities as illustrated by the teacher.
Vocabulary building is a key element to ESL students. It contributes to understanding of reading comprehensions (Larsen-Freeman, 1986). Without explicit vocabulary practice and teaching, ESL students are not able to win the right competence standards for readings.
According to the basics and tactics of incorporating vocabulary into teaching ESL students, this class will fail to achieve its value. This is because of several reasons. One reason is that the teacher should have prepared a pre-reading activity using the vocabulary in context. Pre-reading would have provided the students with many new opportunities to face the word.
This would have been easy explained with either showing the word using the flash card or a picture. For example; the students fail to distinguish between the library and the police. Teacher:” who would you call if there’s been a robbery, if thieves have broken into your house, who do you call?”
Teacher: Library? Police
This statement shows the students fail to recognize the library and the police.
Secondly, the teacher would have provided the students with more opportunities to identify the word in different contexts in describing pictures, using sentences and through using games.
Thirdly, there are no obvious signs of different learning styles. Vocabulary learning demands an array of materials such as audio recordings for dictation practice tasks, pictures, among others. Pictures and audio elements are required when a student is learning a new word for the first time.
According to Larsen-Freeman (1986) a student progresses well in gaining vocabulary by recognizing style activities to production based activities. This needs a student to accomplish something else with the word besides simply knowing or understanding its meaning.
In this example, we don’t see the teacher involving students in construction based activities. Hence, this limits the class effectiveness. Creative opportunities such as spelling bees or short original writings can encourage students to brainstorm around a targeted vocabulary or word list.
Stevick (1996) emphasizes that a new language should be introduced in dialogue. The dialogue should be organized around the theme of the language concept being taught, and should comprise useful vocabulary in the language.
The learners should be encouraged to mimic what the teacher speaks in class and listen carefully to the features of the language as spoken by the teacher. The dialogue should be repeated by the whole class at first and finally repeated in a small group or individually.
The dialogue as presented in class should be consolidated and applied to individual students’ own conditions. After learning and mastering the common concepts of the language, the students should be encouraged to attempt assignments comprising report writing for practice purposes.
Omaggio developed a method of proficiency to define a new approach to teaching a language. She termed this approach as Proficiency approach. The proficiency approach is a communicative approach which shares similar characteristics of the Natural approach, which is; teaching language skills in the order in which the student naturally gains them. It also adds by fulfilling some error corrections to avoid student fossilization.
Besides, the method involves utilizing the student learning by tailoring the language in tandem with genuine purposes which is encountered in the target culture. Omaggio Proficiency approach is a criteria anchored on five hypotheses forming a guideline for teaching language communicatively.
Omaggio explains that opportunities should be provided to enable students to practise using language in various contexts which is likely to be met in the target culture. She points out that students should be encouraged to express own interpretation as early as possible after creative skills have been introduced during instruction.
In this theory, Omaggio asserts that a proficiency-oriented approach promotes active communication interaction among students. Also, the creative language practice (as opposed to only manipulative or convergent procedure) must be encouraged in the proficiency-oriented classroom. And, lastly, the genuine language should be used in instruction wherever and whenever possible.
In our model, the flyer points out various techniques that can aid a student express her/his own understanding of the pronunciation. This is suggested in the materials provided such as the 2 full colour 60 minutes video tapes, sturdy plastic binders with a table of contents which assist the student to pace his /her progress.
To develop the understanding more useful for the student and provides 46 sound lessons which include word endings. Besides, the flyers show special animations of the tongue and lips even inside the mouth.
Basing on Omaggio theory one, these activities/materials create interactions among the students, encourage creative language practice and enable a student to practice the language/pronunciation in a more meaningful discourse that flows logically.
Omaggio’s hypothesis two explains that opportunities should be provided to allow a student practise carrying out different roles expected to be necessary in dealing with others in the target culture.
In our model, the Perfect English Pronunciation materials provided support the second theory of Omaggio. They give the students opportunities to practise the language in the best possible way. This is sketched in the pictures marking the way pronunciation should be succeeded.
The flyer consists of unique animation shows which suggest the motions of the mouth. These materials provide the student the “opportunity” that Omaggio draws in her hypothesis, allowing a student to practise and learn the new language with ease.
The theory suggests there should be concern for developing linguistic accuracy from the beginning of instruction in a proficiency-oriented approach. Accuracy in our model has been captured clearly.
The flyer provides an easy to use instruction sheet, provides timing sheet, and each sound lesson is clearly labelled and each lesson provides a clear instruction on how to form a sound. Thus, these materials provide a benchmark for developing accuracy since they provide evaluative feedback and correction on the students’ part.
Omaggio points out the proficiency-oriented approaches should respond to the affective needs of students as well as to their cognitive needs. A student should be motivated to learn and must be given opportunities to express their own meanings in a nonthreatening environment.
The materials come on video tape and animation, rather than the student embracing the conventional method of learning, which is boring, the animations and video tapes provide a motivation learning environment which encourages a student to concentrate even more.
The final theorem Omaggio draws is Cultural sensitivity; it must be promoted in various ways. In this way, a student will be prepared to live harmoniously in the target-language community.
The model indicates that the materials can be used in schools, libraries, in speech/language pathologists, ESL instructors, a corporation with foreign employees, people who wish to learn English and ALL nationalities. Hence, basing on Omaggio’s theory five, the material embraces cultural diversity and sensitivity. This guarantees a student to live harmoniously with the target language community or in the society.
Stervick provides a practical manner in which the synthesis of the classroom material can be useful to a student. He asserts that memory is multi-sensual and multidimensional and therefore, language does not exist in isolation but is connected to other body senses. He also points out that winning a language is improved by understanding the holistic working of the memory. In this case, he favours different styles of learning.
Thus, the material present in the flyer can be improved by strengthening auditory images; this will confirm grammar and pronunciation. They can also be substituted or correlated with drill method. This method can improve student memorization process. Also, they can also be boosted by the 74 step exercise.
The 74 step exercise can increase the pronunciation and grammatical structure for students facing difficulties (Stevick, 1996). The 74 exercise illustrates the increments in word classes and constructions to a learner. It provides a teacher the experience in limitations and inherent difficulties of languages, thus achieving acquisition and learning needs (Stevick, 1996).
The materials are useful in backing the students’ success or those students facing difficulties in pronouncing word endings, vowels, consonants and diphthongs.
For example, the flyer demonstrates how vowels can be pronounced [ee as in eat]i, [i as in it]i. Vowels form the basis of English learning, and if pronounced inaccurately, they can result in misunderstanding the word meaning. Hence, the flyer eliminates inability of the student to precisely pronounce the different vowels/words.
On consonants, the flyer illustrates the way words can be pronounced. For example, it gives a difference between “both and boat”. Some students often substitute English consonants for ones in their native language which seem similar but not alike. Hence, this can make the listeners to feel that is trying to say a different thing altogether. Hence, the flyer is helpful in assisting in this skill.
The flyer demonstrates the rules of word endings. For example; it asserts that a word ending with “t or d” sound have their ending achieved by adding “ed”. Hence, this rule can help the student acquire the skills of using individual consonants at the end of a word(s).
However, the material won’t be effective in pronouncing cluster consonants. This is because they occur in a sequence thus making the student fail to pronounce. Hence, students should be careful on how to pronounce cluster constants at the beginning, middle and at the end of words.
Hardley, O., A. (2001) Teaching language in context. New York: Heinle and Heinle Publishers Ltd.
Larsen-Freeman, D. (1986) Techniques and Principles of Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Stevick, E., D (1996) Memory, Meaning & Method: A View of Language Teaching. New York: Heinle and Heinle Publishers Ltd.
Text Analysis with Systemic Functional Grammar Framework Explicatory Essay
Text for Analysis
Susan: Why don’t you want to go there with me, Teddy?
Theodore: Well… You see… Sue, I’m not really sure that I should. Besides, you are a smart girl and can do that on your own.
Susan: But… I thought we were going to the Jarreds’ together. And now… Now I do not want to go either.
Susan: Maybe I should call them and tell that we fell ill and this can be influenza?!
Theodore: Don’t, honey. They are waiting for you! And I…
Susan: You have to come with me! You are my boyfriend and I want my friends to know that and accept my decision.
Theodore: But, Sue… They don’t like me and we both know it. One doesn’t need to be a genius to know that. Look at yourself and look at me: We are from different galaxies and all your friends think so too. Did you ever notice how your friends look at me when I stand aside? No? And I did… And I didn’t like that at all. At all! Maybe you can be more successful if you find someone who fits you perfectly…?
Susan: Someone from the same galaxy? Don’t be ridiculous, Ted! I do not want to find a perfect match and don’t want to be judged by my friends. I like you and want to be with you. Isn’t that enough?
Theodore: Yes… Well, no… I don’t know what you mean. I think that you could just go without me to that stupid party…
Susan: So, now you think it stupid! Hah! I thought so. You don’t want to meet with my friends and do not try to make them like you. You just sit and moan, walk and moan, lie and moan.
What do you want me to do? Maybe I should have told them to like you, shouldn’t I? Of course! I should have taken you there and told them to be nice with you. But you are not a little boy and should take care of yourself. (She went out and slammed the door).
The Genre and the Cultural Context Variables
As the text is a composed one, it can be characterised in accordance with genre peculiarities as a fiction romantic novel (Eggins, 2004, p.56) where two main characters are involved in a dialogue. Besides, this can be treated as a dialogue between two people who have a romantic affair. It is obvious from the context that they are of different social status or have unequal background.
Munro (2008) explores researches by Halliday and other prominent linguists of the era concerning the concept of linguistics and of grammar in particular. In this respect, Halliday (2002) suggested a complicated analysis of grammar related to semiotics hence developing research on multi-functional nature and structure of language. Thus, the cultural peculiarities of the text under analysis cannot be defined.
However, the basic information can be retrieved from this text. For instance, the dialogue takes place between two people of different genders and none of them tries to take the role of another; a man and a woman have some differences in social position and do not have great difference in age.
The target readers of this passage are adults and young adults as the conversation in the text takes place between two adults. Men as well as women can be target readers of this text because it is only a passage. So, it can be a part of another text with another context.
Thus, it can be a dialogue retrieved from a romance novel or romance detective story. At the same time, this can be a kind of lyrical digression in a story aimed at male reading audience. The text does not propagate any ideological ideas or concepts. The basic idea in this excerpt concerns the relationships between men and women and complexity in understanding each other.
The text enlarges on ideas and beliefs of people and their expectations of relationships with other members of the same community. The words like ‘stupid’ mentioned by the male character concerning the party can be considered as those assessing the category of people to which his girlfriend belongs.
Table 1. Semantic choices illustrating beliefs and values
|inability to make sound decisions:|
want my friends to…accept my decision;
is not ready to compromise but wants to have everything
|lack of self confidence|
opposes her position and the one of his own
thinks that everyone understands his problems and waits for sympathy
Description of Experiential Meanings
The most verbs are used in the function of material, behavioural, and identifying meaning hence signalling about the material nature of the conversation. There are many negations in the text that identify the inability of two people to compromise and find a sound decision.
Thus, excessive use of “want” and “should” with and without a negative particle meaning that the problems concerns expectations, ability, necessity, and desire to make some actions. The following table introduces this situation:
Table 2. Experiential meanings: Identification of processes
Do not try
Make them like
Do not want
Do not want
Want to be
Should have told
have to come
can be successful
|am not sure|
are a girl
can be influenza
are my boyfriend
be a genius
don’t be ridiculous
are not a boy
Description of Interpersonal Meanings, Power Relations, and Modality
The identification of participants appears to influence largely on the identification of discourse. In this respect, the main topics of concern of participants are her friends and his unwillingness to compromise.
In this respect, it is possible to suggests that this is a couple of people who are not married and who try to build their relations. There are many aspects and hidden conflicts that interfere with their feelings and true emotions.
Table 3: Participants
|MATERIAL PROCESS||MENTAL PROCESS|
Do not try
Make them like
|There with me|
Them (to tell)
That we fell ill
For you (to come)
How your friends look…
find someone who fits
a perfect match
by my friends
to make them like you
|going to the Jarreds’ together|
that you are my boyfriend
that they don’t like me
what you mean
that you could go without me so
Do not want
Do not want
Want to be
|To go there|
To the Jarreds’
To go either
My friends to know
(the way they stared)
To find a match
To be judged
Me to do
|VERBAL PROCESS||RELATIONAL PROCESS|
|sayer||verbiage||receiver||Id fd / carr.||Id fr / attr|
Should have told
Imperative (to make them like him)
To be nice with her boyfriend
Them (her friends)
have to come
can be successful
|am not sure|
are a girl
can be influenza
are my boyfriend
be a genius
don’t be ridiculous
are not a boy
The text is based on interrogative and negative forms to emphasise the importance of the conflict and frequency of using mutual reproaches in the conversation. Both participants of the dialogue use incomplete sentences but the male character uses those incomplete sentences more often than the female signalling about shifted roles and her dominance on their couple.
Description of Textual Meanings and Textual Coherence
The clauses are not always organised in the way when a ‘theme’ occurs in the initial position as there are functional words in the initial position whereas a certain meaning is attributed to the initial position of a clause in a sentence. Thus, Rose (2001 as cited in Mushin & Baker, p. 34) suggests that the ‘theme’ refers to “this is what I’m talking about” while the ‘rheme’ is treated as “this is what I’m saying about it”.
The use of various types of grammar is emphasised in the study by O’Halloran (2011, p.19) where the author analyses the political debates.
Any type of conversation where more than one person is enrolled requires more complicated grammar. In this respect, the text under analysis can be characterized with the help of systemic functional grammar framework. Fawcett (2000) suggests a few principles of treating the theory of systemic grammar with a branch of syntax.
The textual interactivity of the text is very high as both characters use hesitators, pauses, and repetitions. For instance, ‘Well… You see…’, ‘And now… Now I do not want to go either’, ‘And i didn’t like that at all. At all!’, ‘Yes… Well, no… I don’t know what you mean’. Spontaneity of the text is obvious as there are many phrases with irregular structure and those where a nominal group is absent.
Even those phrases that should have been built in accordance with coordination of sentences were separated to make the text more emotionally coloured and make those pauses more meaningful. The text is coherent because it has a beginning, a climax, and a dénouement. All facts are presented in a clear way and explained by characters with the help of introduction of a conflict and mutual reproaches.
Classroom Applicability of This Text
The text can be used in the class for analysis because it has different grammatical forms, means of expression, and stylistic devices. Before introducing this text for analysis in classroom, it is necessary to discuss different situations that can occur between people that have various relationships.
It would be great to provide students with examples of situations and ask them to characterise the mood of each situation. For instance, even positive lexical units can be used in the situation marked with negative mood and vice versa. In this respect, lesson objectives and tasks can be the following:
- Read the text and assess the situation given. Try to give constructive feedback on the content of the text. Critically evaluate the actions and cues of characters;
- Analyse the characters and relations between them. Identify the level of intimacy between characters and their social distance (implicitly or explicitly shown in the text). Evaluate the usage of the words with positive and negative connotation and identify the effect produced by non-typical use of words with certain connotation;
- Identify the mood of the text (the whole text if the mood did not change in the course of the story or mood of each part if the mood changed in the story);
- Mark contacted forms and explain their meaning. Trace those cases when a contacted form is used in the same phrase as the full one. Explain such use of contracted forms and effects produced with the help of this technique. Assess the frequency of using short and full forms and emotional colouring of those cases.
Eggins, S. (2004). An introduction to systemic functional linguistics. London: Continuum International Publishing Group.
Fawcett, R. P. (2000). A theory of syntax for systemic functional linguistics. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Halliday, M. A. K. (2002). On grammar. London: Continuum.
Munro, R. A. (2008). Probabilistic representation of systemic functional grammar. London: Endangered Languages Archive Department of Linguistics School of Oriental and African Studies University of London.
Mushin, I. & Baker, B. J. (2008). Discourse and grammar in Australian languages. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
O’Halloran, K. L. (in press 2011). Multimodal discourse analysis. In K. Hyland and B. Paltridge (eds.). Companion to Discourse. London and New York: Continuum. Web.
Communicative Approach Verses Grammar Translation Essay
Teaching is a significant element of any academic process, since it plays a vital role of passing information from one individual to another. However, in order to ensure that the learning process is effective, it is essential for teachers to understand various teaching methodologies and their perfect application.
Some of the teaching methodologies that should be embraced by teachers include grammar translation, communicative approach, audio lingual, natural approach (Coleman & Klapper, 2005).
A detailed understanding of these methodologies ensures a quality outcome within the educational system. Excellent execution of these various learning methodologies also makes it easier for students to acquire the knowledge needed for productive purposes.
In order for teachers to, adequately, understand these various teaching methodologies, they should critically compare and contrast these learning methodologies such as the communicative approach with grammar translation method (McDonough & Shaw, 2003). They should compare various aspects of these learning methodologies in an extensive capacity.
This enables them to single out and employ the best learning methodology applicable to varied situations. Therefore, in support of their understanding efforts, this document is going to, critically, asses the communicative approach to language learning and teaching. However, this evaluation process will proceed with an extensive comparison with other teaching approaches.
Communicative approach was first noted in the 1900 century (1970) (Arnold, 1999). A renowned psychoanalyst, Robert Langs, was the individual behind this theory. He employed his psychoanalysis thoughts and came up with an incredible learning methodology, the communicative approach (Richards & Rodgers, 2001).
However, over the years, there have been various myths about Robert’s ideologies. Many people including scholars have interpreted this learning approach in their own perspective thus encouraging bad press on the subject.
Communicative approach begins with the theory of language, regarded as an element of communication. The most significant objective of the communicative approach is to promote excellence in communication (Wilkins, 1974).
Halliday’s functionalist account is also among the theories embraced by the communicative approach. An example of communicative approach is whereby the learner repeats the words said by the instructor. Teachers give their pronunciation of terms as learners repeat or imitate.
Communicative method of learning emphasizes on the use of communication, while in the learning process. In this method, a language is assessed by one’s ability to communicate in the language (Hawkey, 2005). A student’s competency in a language is measured by his effectiveness in communicating in the second language.
Therefore, in teaching English, students’ competencies are measured by their ability to, effectively communicate, in the language. This approach encourages teachers to use communication as the best way to evaluate their students, who wishes to acquire the second language.
Therefore, in learning English, communicative approach encourages the use of communication in teaching English students. In other words, students should communicate more in English for effective understanding of the language.
It is imperative to make some significant considerations, when developing a communicative approach design. One should consider the various levels of objectives. These levels include the integrative level, learning needs, linguistic, interpersonal relationship and general level of education (McKay, 2006).
Communication approach is associated with numerous characteristics. Some of these characteristics are what differentiates this approach from the others. For instance, the communication approach actively engages students in the learning process.
It encourages students to interact in the foreign language, in order to be proficient (Douglas, 2000). Students must engage in active communication among themselves in order to gain the needed skills in the language.
Another characteristic of this approach is that the learning process encourages the use of authentic English texts. These texts assist in making teaching processes effective. In communicative approach, students do not only concentrate on understanding the second language (English), but also insist on the understanding of various strategies required for using this methodology (McKay, 2006).
Understanding learning strategies assist in their perfect execution of learning processes thus ensuring that the methodology is effective while conducting the learning process. This communicative methodology further lays more emphasis on the learner’s encounter with various situations and experiences.
These encounters display various circumstances whereby students are expected to communicate in the nonnative language, English (Wilkins, 1974). Experience with various situations plays a vital part in the lesson or learning process. The unique context of situations provides excellent opportunities for the learning process outside the doors of classrooms.
There are various disadvantages in using the communicative approach, in conducting learning activities. The communicative approach does not encourage the correction of the committed errors (Richards & Nunan, 1990).
This is because students practice with their fellows who are also incompetent in the language. Such students find it hard to correct their mistakes, since the interaction does not engage professional assistance.
Moreover, many students find it frustrating to communicate with their other counterparts from other countries, due to the varied nature of their pronunciation abilities. Since their accents differ, they often have difficulties in communicating with their fellow students (Richards & Nunan, 1990).
Another disadvantage of this method is that it concentrates on fluency but disregards accuracy. This approach does not aim at reducing the errors committed but rather encourages learners to formulate their own methods or tactics of evading the correct language usage. Teachers also often have problems in evaluating their student using this learning approach (McKay, 2006).
This is because most tests are often done in written format, yet this approach proposes for oral evaluation. This thus complicates the evaluation process. Moreover, it is difficult for teachers to correct their students’ errors on grammar, while using communicative approach (Zamel, & Spack, 2002). Teachers cannot correct their students on grammar, since this method only concentrate on communication.
In this approach, any correction is done after the communication exercise. Therefore, teachers using this approach must be brilliant to be able to identify the mistakes while the communication activity process and refer to them later at the end of the process.
Communicative approach is linked to a number of advantages. For instance, the communicative approach gives the real life reflection of the experiences one would find outside classrooms. It gives students an opportunity to have a taste of real communication that will be experienced outside classrooms (Richards & Farrell, 2005).
This enhances the student’s ability to communicate effectively on the various contexts encountered outside classrooms. Another advantage is that communicative approach develops a student’s interest on the non-native language, since it creates various communication scenarios that often seem interesting to students.
In communicative theory, every stakeholder has his own role to play in the learning process. Teachers and students have their specified roles to play for the process to be successful. Learners often act as negotiators between object of studying, self and the studying process itself (Henkil, 2011). Students also act as joint negotiators in various activities within the group or in classrooms.
On the other hand, teachers also have their specific roles. However, they have two roles, which are regarded as extremely significant, while employing communicative approach. One of the major roles for teachers is to facilitate the learning process (Yule, 2010). Teachers should ensure the communication process proceeds with minimal hitches and with the at most cooperation from every stakeholder in the learning process.
In addition to this facilitation role, teachers also act as autonomous participants in the communication process. They also assume other roles such as counselors and analysts while conducting the communication process.
Communicative approach involves a number of steps or procedure for the process to be effective. The first step is by conducting a number of mini-dialogs. A number of oral practices on the content to be presented during day follow the mini-dialog. This is closely followed by another step, which involves the use asking and answering of questions (Zamel & Spack, 2002).
Questions regarding the dialog topic are always asked first followed by questions about the learner’s personal experiences. This is then followed by the learner’s studying various communicative expressions and the underlying rules. Oral recognition and activities then follows, after which students copy the modules. A session is allocated for sampling assignments, which is closely followed by the final step, the evaluation process.
Aside from communicative approach, grammar translation is also a significant methodology of studying nonnative languages. Grammar translation method is among the oldest and most traditional approach used for teaching nonnative languages (Yule, 2010). It traces its origin from Germany, in a place known as Prussia.
Grammar translation was discovered late in the 1700’s and found its way to the headlights in the beginning of the 19th century. It was initially understood as the Prussian method or the classical method before it was named as the Prussian method (Richards & Farrell, 2005). Grammar translation gained significant fame with many schools and teachers adopting the language as a suitable teaching methodology.
It is currently used by various schools in assisting student grasp the concepts of new languages or non-native languages. Therefore, grammar translation method is a teaching approach whereby students learn foreign or new languages via translation and studying of grammar in their learning processes (Larsen-freeman, 2000).
There are various characteristics associated with grammar translation. Grammar translation approaches the study of a foreign language by conducting an extensive study on grammar rules. This process is then closely followed by its application on translating one language to another. Grammar translation concentrates on mastering rules for converting one language to another.
Another characteristic is that grammar translation focuses on writing and reading and not on speaking or listening. This teaching methodology involves the direct translation of words or vocabularies using certain texts, word list or dictionaries (Doughty & Long, 2003). In conducting lessons using grammar translation method, most of the time is devoted to translation of words and sentences.
Grammar translation method insists on accuracy. Students are expected to uphold high translation standards while conducting their learning activities. In Grammar translation, the study of grammar takes a logical analysis perspective thus deductive analysis. This and any other learning process of grammar translation method uses the local language while instructing learners.
The purpose of using grammar translation method was to help learners recognize and learn some of their nonnative languages and literatures. Learning foreign language using grammar translation method was also a strategy to enhance the grammatical understanding of local languages among learners (Henkil, 2011). Moreover, learning foreign languages was a way of growing the intellectual capacity or abilities of learners.
There are various examples that can explicate the use of grammar translation approach of learning the second language. Grammar translation method entails the direct translation of words and sentences from one language to the next. Therefore, a perfect example is the following translation whereby a local language is being translated to English.
English local language. Gardi boy. Randos floor
Several disadvantages emerge when employing grammar translation method. This language learning methodology gives students a reflection of the meaning of languages. It portrays languages as autonomously grouped words that must be pronounced in a certain manner to pass a message.
Grammar translation method insists on using only translation method thus giving language an awful approach or perspective that it can only be well understood by translation method. According to sources, it is noted that students with average intelligent quotient on grammar may fail to comprehend the language effectively (Coleman & Clapper, 2005). Students studying under this learning method often feel frustrated and bored.
This is due to the boring and difficult nature of this learning method. Grammar translation method is extremely unnatural since it ignores the oral part.
The translation process also consumes a lot of time thus wastage of resources. Sentences that are directly translated from other languages often sound funny and with many grammatical errors. Ultimately, this learning process also does not help students learn how to develop excellent pronunciation of words (Gass & Selinker, 2008).
Aside from disadvantages, grammar translation method has a number of advantages, which makes the approach sometimes easier to implement. This method is uncomplicated in implementing thus easy time for teachers to perform their various roles (Wilkins, 1974). It does not require facilitators to be fluent in speaking the non-native language.
Moreover, it does not require facilitators to be proficient or perfect in the language; only basic skills are necessary for the lesson to be a success. Additionally, since learning instructions are given in mother tongue, learning process is relatively easier thus minimizing the time consumed in the learning process (Arnold, 1999).
Grammar translation is extremely common in the current times especially in lessons that contain large number of students. It is the easiest approach to use in a large classroom in order to ensure that the learning process is effective.
Moreover, the method is reliable and effective in proving learners adequate skills for learning and understanding. Students are also able to learn various aspects of their languages as well as mother tongue. Ultimately, it is relatively easier test or evaluates students when using this learning method.
In grammar translation method, teachers have certain significant role that plays a vital role in the success of the learning process. Teachers often act as a symbol of authority, while conducting various learning sessions (Larsen-freeman, 2000). They ensure that order maintains in classes and with minimal hitches. Additionally, teachers also have a lot of talking time thus more attention to their instructions and words.
Aside from the role of teachers, students also have their various roles (Zamel, & Spack, 2002). One of the basic roles for students is to follow the instructions given by their instructors. They must follow each of the directions given by the teacher in order for the learning process to be a success. Moreover, students are expected to be passive and not necessarily active.
In contrasting communicative approach with grammar translation method, communicative approach majorly concentrates on communication between learners, whereas, in grammar translation method, much focus is given on the translation of one language to another (Coleman & Klapper, 2005).
Additionally, in the evaluation process of communicative approach, students are evaluated by their abilities to communicate in foreign language. On the other hand, the evaluation process in grammar translation method takes the written format.
There exist some significant dissimilarity between the characteristics of communicative approach and grammar translation approach. In communicative approach, students are actively engaged in the learning process, whereas, in grammar translation, learners are not actively engaged in the learning process. Their activity is considered as passive (McDonough & Shaw, 2003).
In communicative approach, there is a lot of interaction among students as they conduct their various learning activities. This is in contrary to grammar translation, which does not allow active interaction among students.
In communicative approach, students become proficient by his experiences with varied instance that encourages his or her communication in foreign language, whereas, in grammar translation, learners become proficient by his or her ability comprehend the translation tricks (Wilkins, 1974).
In grammar translation, students must also grasp the grammar rules in order to be successful in the learning process, whereas, in communicative approach, students only have to understand the strategies for communicating in the foreign language.
There also exist considerable differences between the disadvantages and disadvantages of the communicative approach and grammar translation approach. For instance, the communicative approach does not encourage the correction of grammatical mistakes, whereas, in grammar translation, much attention is dedicated to the correction of grammatical errors and mastering of grammatical rules (Doughty & Long, 2003).
Another difference is that, in the communicative approach, there is less concentration on the accuracy of the language; much attention is given to fluency instead. This is contrary to grammar translation method, which put much attention on grammar accuracy and correction of errors.
In communicative approach, facilitators often find it difficult to assess their students, since the assessment is done orally, whereas, in grammar translation, the assessment is done in written format thus easier for teachers to conduct the evaluation process (Gass & Selinker, 2008).
Communicative approach provides students with the opportunity to experience the possible communication instances that they may face outside school (Coleman & Klapper, 2005).
On the contrary, grammar translation method does not give students opportunity to experience real life communication instances that they may meet outside classrooms. As noted before, most students often enjoy studying foreign language using communicative method, since it is very interesting.
This is different in grammar translation process whereby students often feel bored due to the uninteresting nature of the learning methodology (Zamel, & Spack, 2002). Therefore, most students learning foreign language using the communicative approach often develop interest on the language, which is a contrary to the ones using grammatical translation.
In communicative approach, teacher often have difficulties in conducting lesson activities, since they are responsible for various significant roles. In grammatical translation, however, teachers often find it easy to conduct various learning activities. This is because it allows the use of mother tongue thus easier for teachers to give students instructions (Hawkey, 2005).
Moreover, in communicative approach, teachers are expected to be fluent or proficient in the foreign language, whereas, in grammatical translation method, facilitators only need to have basic knowledge about the foreign language.
It is easier for teachers to evaluate or test their students using grammar translation method, since the test is offered in written form. This is not the same in communicative approach since it uses oral tests, which is extremely difficult for teachers to use as an evaluation process.
Arnold, J. (1999). Affect in language learning. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Coleman, J. & Klapper, J. (2005). Effective learning and teaching in modern languages. London, LDN: Routledge Falmer.
Doughty, C. & Long, M. (2003). The Handbook of second language acquisition. Malden, MA: Oxford Blackwell.
Douglas, D. (2000). Assessing languages for specific purposes. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Gass, S. & Selinker, L. (2008). Second language acquisition: an introductory course. London, LDN: Routledge.
Hawkey, R. (2005). A modular approach to testing English language skills: the development of the Certificates in English Language Skills (CELS) examinations. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Henkil, E. (2011). Handbook of Research in Second Language Teaching and Learning. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.
Larsen-freeman, D. (2000). Techniques and principles in language teaching. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
McDonough, J. & Shaw, C. (2003). Materials and methods in ELT: a teacher’s guide. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
McKay, P. (2006). Assessing young language learners. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Richards, J. & Farrell, T. (2005). Professional development for language teachers: strategies for teacher learning (Thomas Sylvester Charles). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press 2005.
Richards, J. & Nunan, D. (1990). Second Language teacher education. Oxford, OX: Oxford University Press.
Richards, J. & Rodgers, T. (2001). Approaches and methods in language teaching. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Richards, J. (1990). The language-teaching matrix. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Wilkins, D. (1974). Second-language learning and teaching. London, LDN: Edward Arnold.
Yule, G. (2010). The study of language. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Zamel, V. & Spack, R. (2002). Enriching Esol Pedagogy: Readings and Activities for Engagement, Reflection, and Inquiry. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.
Derewianka and Tompkins Teachings of Grammar Reflective Essay
English is an international language and significantly contributes to modern communication. In essence, proficiency in English greatly relies on how learners manage to understand its essential elements well. Grammar is one of the integral elements of English language as it contains major components, which determine individual’s speech.
It is imperative to understand reading and writing, as they are integral elements of grammar. In this paper, I will base my discussion on the reflections of my first English teacher and compare the grammar approaches outlined by Derewianka and Tompkins et al.
I am a slow leaner and my teacher had difficulties in teaching me the basics of grammar. My teacher made us translate words from our native language to English and we could construct and deconstruct texts.
My teacher insisted on functional grammar, whereby, the use of language means understanding every word in a text, and how the word relates and affects all the other words in the text (Winch, Johnston, March, Ljungdahl, & Holliday, 2010).
For example, when the teacher narrated a story, we had to describe the orientation of the narrative, give a descriptive summary of the narrative, provide a life lesson, and express our feelings and thoughts about the narrative. I noticed that Derewianka’s instructional techniques formed an important part of my grammar learning.
We had to understand the relationship between grammar and genre. Generally, Derewianka’s teachings focused on functional grammar, where, grammar is taught in context at a whole text level. As suggested by both Derewianka and Tompkins, learning grammar is a continuing process, with each experience strengthening and improving consecutive learning process.
By the time I reached my third year of K-12 education, I could utter and write simple words. Thereafter, Tompkins et al. (2012) teachings of grammar started taking effect as my teacher employed them in teaching us grammar in a gradual learning process. After learning a series of words (nouns, verbs, pronouns and adjectives), I constructed a sentense.
I can remember learning the first word, “eating,” and after a series of transitions, I learned a simple sentence containing a process, a circumstance and a participant, “John is eating.”
I can remember my teacher using symbols to describe English words, we could directly translate a sentence from our native languages to English for a start, and with time, English became part of us. I saw myself graduate from mastering a simple sentence to mastering complex sentenses. Tompkins et al. (2012) focused on building the student’s knowledge about the components of language before applying it to whole texts.
In conclusion, it is noteworthy that both teachings insist on a gradual process of learning and the use of meta-language in building a robust foundation of English. Both teachings assert that the use of scaffolding, modeling, and simple progressive instructions enables slow learners to grasp elements of grammar.
Therefore, when teaching grammar, it is important to understand grasping level of students, application of functional grammar, as well as practical illustrations such as scaffolding to bring a clear understanding.
Anderson, J. (2006). Zooming in and zooming out: Putting grammar in context into context. English Journal, 95(5): 28-34.
Annandale, K., Bindon, R., Handley, K., Johnston, A., Lockett, L., & Lynch, P. (2004). First steps writing resource book. Melbourne, Vic: Rigby Heinemann.
Derewianka, B. (2011). A new grammar companion for teachers. Riverwood, NSW: Primary English Teachers Association.
Tompkins, G., Campbell, R., & Green, D. (2012). Literacy for the 21st century. A balanced approach. Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia.
Winch, G., Johnston, R.R., March, P., Ljungdahl, L., & Holliday, M. (2010). Literacy: Reading, writing and children’s literature (4th ed.). South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.
Teaching Grammar to Young Learners: Approaches and Tasks Essay
Comparison of cognitive and humanistic approaches with respect to their views on the curriculum
The curriculum entails the means and materials with which students interact with as part of educational programs. There are numerous approaches to teaching the curriculum in schools, such as cognitive and humanistic perspectives. According to Ebert and Culyer, the cognitive approach of the curriculum focuses on the acquisition of knowledge, with curricula being typically divided into numerous distinct subject matter areas (183).
In particular, this approach focuses on the knowledge, previous experience, and expectations of a student (Scholl, McGowan, and Hansen n.pag). In contrast, the humanistic perspective focuses on the needs, values, and self-concept/esteem of students.
Ebert and Culyer point out that, humanistic approach “seeks to bring an element of value and meaning of education and to move away from the notion of education as the mere dissemination of information” (156). This perspective is based on the assumption that students’ feelings influence their learning beliefs.
In schools that embrace a spiral curriculum, the humanistic approach is more effective in teaching students than cognitive perspective. Notably, the spiral curriculum is built “around recurring, ever-deepening inquiries into big ideas and important tasks, helping students to understand in a way that is both effective and developmentally wise” (Wiggins and McTighe 297).
The humanistic perspective use of student’s knowledge, previous experience, and expectations can enable students to understand better the lessons taught in the context of a spiral curriculum than when taught in a cognitive approach. In contrast, the cognitive approach is more effective than a humanistic approach in teaching students in schools that embrace an implicit curriculum.
The implicit curriculum entails lessons that emanate from the school culture as well as the attitudes, behaviors, and expectations of that culture (Ebert and Culyer 183). The success of the cognitive perspective is based on its congruence with the curriculum objectives.
Two tasks for teaching grammar to intermediate level young learners
Task 1: Using Story to Teach Grammar.
First, the teacher should develop the listening skills of students. He/she should read an appealing story to the students. Besides, the story should be added to the class collection, and students are allowed to take it home for further reading. When an interesting story is repeatedly read, it reactivates students’ vocabulary and grammatical patterns (Cameron 175).
This aspect provides students with opportunities to identify aspects of language use, which probably they did not understand in previous readings. Second, the teacher should develop discourse skills such as acting roles and retelling the story. In acting roles, students should act according to the narrative of the story, e.g., wear costumes of characters. In retelling the story, the students should reproduce the whole story, e.g., by using sequential pictures (Fish 306).
Finally, the teacher should embrace focused reading skills, where he/she provides guided prediction during storytelling, such as asking leading questions, e.g., “do you think he likes London?” Further, the meaning of new words should be explained.
Task 2: Using Theme-Based to Teach Grammar.
First, the teacher should introduce new vocabulary items that provide support for understanding and recalling. New vocabulary will definitely be encountered in future readings; hence, it reinforces its meaning (Cameron 191).
Second, teachers should teach through communicative stretching. In particular, they should allow students to break down and recombine language elements to understand the meaning of words and phrases easily. Third, teachers should incorporate discourse skills to teach themes using different aspects. For instance, a teacher can teach themes such as vacations and food (Meskill and Anthony 144).
Besides, teachers should provide students with informational texts on computers and papers. The access to informational text provides students with learning opportunities that go beyond storytelling or narrative (Cameron 194). Finally, the teacher should motivate students to communicate accurately and precisely by involving them in the selection and adaptation of language resources like books, stories, informational texts.
Cameron. Lynne. Teaching Languages to Young Students. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Print.
Ebert, Edward, and Richard Culyer. School: An Introduction to Education. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning, 2013. Print.
Fish, Margaret. Here’s How to Treat Childhood Apraxia of Speech, 2nd Ed. San Diego, CA: Plural Publishing, 2015. Print.
Meskill, Carla, and Natasha Anthony. Teaching Languages Online. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters, 2010. Print.
Scholl, Mark B., A. Scott McGowan, and James T. Hansen. Ed. Humanistic Perspectives on Contemporary Counseling Issues. New York, NY: Routledge, 2013. Print.
Wiggins, Grant P., and Jay McTighe. Understanding by Design. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2005. Print.
Syntax Transformational Grammar and Systemic Functional Grammar Term Paper
When teaching English syntax to students, both native and non-native, it is vital for the instructor to consider both facts and theory, and balance the two. This is because classes in English syntax are aimed at assisting students to improve on their understanding of the structure of English in a systematic and scientific manner.
The acquisition of such knowledge is essential for the students, as it will enable them to progress to other stages, in which they can perform linguistic analyses for both simple and complex English phenomena (Hornstein, 2009).
Why Do We Study Syntax and What Is It Good for?
There are a variety of reasons as to why the study of syntax is vital, and involve general humanistic or behavioural motivations, as well as specific goals such as: an aid to illustrating the patterns of English more effectively and clearly; and to aid in the systematic and explicit analysis of the structure of English sentences.
The example below allows us to look into the syntactic notion of head (the essential element within a phrase), using an informal rule of English; the main verb agrees with the head element of the subject (Akamajian, 2001).
The recent strike by pilots have cost the country a great deal of money from tourism and so on.
Structural knowledge of sentences like the one above allows us to identify the essential element of the subject as ‘strike’ as opposed to ‘pilots’. Having realized this, the man verb should be changed from have to has, in order to be in agreement with the rule of English stated above.
The change is important since there is more than one noun, and the sentence should be structured to talk about the noun that gives its character to the phrase, the head. As a result, a singular head requires a singular phrase, and the plural is also true (Akamajian, 2001).
Syntactic knowledge can be useful in learning English grammar. One of the common sentences used for beginners in the analysis of English statements is ‘He said that that ‘that’ that that man used was wrong.’
Structural or syntactic knowledge can be used in the diagnosis of differences in the five thats. Research on syntax, transformational grammar and systemic functional grammar, will be beneficial in clarifying how each word is categorized, and the contribution that it makes in a sentence.
The knowledge of English syntax is useful when studying complex sentences as it helps to understand them in a systematic way (Griffiths, 2002).
Objectives of the research
Micro-grammar looks at numerous phenomena including
“simple types of moods such as imperatives and yes-no questions; a small sub-set of the type of ‘modal verbs’ that express the performer’s assessment of the validity of what is being expressed; ‘tense’ forms; the ‘passive’ construction; the idiosyncratic syntactic and morphemic behaviour of the verb be; ‘emphatic’ forms of do; and simple ‘negation’” (Miller, 2008).
For each problem area in the grammar, the essential question to be considered is “In which component(s) and with what type of descriptive apparatus should this complexity be handled” (Miller, 2008)? In Systemic Functional Grammar, the response provided reflects on the approach that looks for any contrast at the level of form: “Is this contrast also a contrast at the level of meaning” (Miller, 2008)?
In the event that it is, then it is articulated in a selection between semantic features in the system network. If the opposite is true, then it is handled by the realization rules; make use of the concept of circumstances on the recognition of those semantic characteristics.
Thus, in a Systemic Functional Grammar in which the features in the system networks are explicitly semantic, “a higher proportion of realization rules include conditions that in SFGs in which the system networks are less clearly semantic or are even described as being at the level of form” (Miller, 2008).
Systemic functional grammar however, does not use ‘re-write’ regulations to create the primary structure. There are also no transformational rules to modify the present structures. Instead, “the grammar merely stores up the choices of semantic aspects that are made for every semantic unit, and then generates the appropriate syntactic unit” (Hornstein, 2009).
The process of generation is controlled by system networks, which comprise statements about relationships between semantic features. They are useful in modelling the meaning potential of the language (Hornstein, 2009).
The main difference between theories used in transformational grammar (conservative approach) and systemic functional grammar is that the latter supports and demands a reference that is technologically more advanced than the former. The systemic-functional theory is multidimensional in terms of rank, delicacy, metafunction, axis and instantiation.
This makes it possible to adopt a logical view, an experiential view, an interpersonal view, or a textual view, either of which constitutes different ‘projections’ of the map of the overall resources of the grammar. It is also possible to vary the view according to rank, system, realization or register variation (Radford, 2004).
Akamajian, A. (2001). Linguistics: An Introduction to Language and Communication. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Griffiths, P. (2002). An Introduction to English Semantics and Pragmatics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Hornstein, N. (2009). A Theory of Syntax: Minimal Operations and Universal Grammar. New York: CUP.
Miller, J. E. (2008). An Introduction to English Syntax. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Radford, A. (2004). English Syntax: An Introduction. New York: CUP.