Thursday, December 10, 2009

Should you avoid grammar using the communicative method in the classroom?

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While Asantha U. Attanayake makes some good points in the piece entitled "Avoiding teaching grammar in communicative classroom" "avoid" may be too strong a word.

For my entire three years teaching English as a Foreign/Second Language, it never ceases to amaze how teaching grammar is controversial in the profession.

Grammar is the glue binding all the parts of the language together. It should be blended into the course subtly, but not avoided. One needs to know the structure of the language. Poor grammar is often reflected in a student´s poor writing.

While inherent in the communicative - speaking - method of teaching a language is a de-emphasis on grammar and writing, grammar remains a key ingredient in being able to communicate in the language! Knowing the function of the parts of speech provides a framework for conveying information so one is understood.

While grammar is not the centerpiece of a communicative-based course, it surely cannot be avoided. Grammar pops up more often in student questions so best to address the subject head on and avoid any surprises.
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