Combining The Strategies: Grammar And Vocabulary Teaching In Upper Secondary School.

940 words - 4 pages

According to Skolverket (2013), the aims of learning English, among other things, are: to gain an “understanding of spoken and written English, and also the ability to interpret content” and “the ability to express oneself and communicate in English in speech and writing” (p. 2). To be able to be understood, fully, one must have a rich vocabulary and a thorough understanding of the grammatical rules of a language. One of the challenges that teachers are faced with is how to teach these skills in the most effective way possible. In this essay I will discuss different approaches on grammar and vocabulary teaching and how they can be applied in my future profession.
Grammar is often described as the rules that govern a language. As a student, I dreaded the grammar lessons not only because they were often tedious and lacked a sense of purpose, but also because of the approach they were taught in. It seemed to me the teacher had no more positive feelings towards teaching grammar than we had to learning it. The grammar education at my school was taught in a deductive manner, with specific lessons dedicated towards grammar. A deductive approach focuses on the rule that is to be taught and then how to apply it. In this approach the teacher is at the centre of the class. An inductive approach focuses more on teaching the rules in a real language context, to understand the structures of a language rather than naming them. There is debate amongst educators whether or not grammar should be taught inductively or deductively. Brown (2007) however, states that an inductive approach is more appropriate due to that it is “more in keeping with natural language acquisition” and “it allows students to get a communicative 'feel' for some aspect of language before possibly being overwhelmed by grammatical explanations” (p. 423). According to Nunan, grammar is best taught in a more organic manner, that minimizes the use of text books and isolated sentences to show grammatical rules. As educators “what we need is an appropriate balance between exercises that help learners come to grips with grammatical forms, and tasks for exploring the use of those forms to communicate effectively” (p. 109, 1997). Albeit, when teaching grammar at upper secondary school, a combination of inductive and deductive teaching could be the most effective as it is “less likely to disturb communicative fluency” than for younger/beginner students ( Brown, p. 422, 2007). Thusly, as teachers we must be aware of the different cognitive styles and levels of proficiency among the students and adapt our grammar teaching accordingly (Brown, p. 424. 2007).
By the same token, similar discussions occur in the field of vocabulary acquisition, where benefits and problems with incidental and intentional learning techniques are debated. As Brown states, vocabulary is not a skill, like grammar,...

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