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Teaching And Learning Language: Grammar And Vocabulary

997 words - 4 pages

Teaching and Learning Language: Grammar and Vocabulary

This essay will focus on the subject of learning and teaching languages. More specifically it will deal with two different, but intrinsically related topics. The first topic investigates the deductive and the inductive approaches to teaching grammar, and the positive and negative aspects of them both. The deductive approach is the more teacher-centered approach, where the teacher explains rules and so forth to the students, while the inductive approach is more learner-centered and encourages the student to guess rules instead of being told by the teacher. The second topic examines how vocabulary can be taught and learned differently from the much used word list method, or glosmetoden. This method concentrates on a list of target vocabulary that the student is supposed to learn: English on one side, and Swedish on the other side.
A large vocabulary is essential to proficiency in any language (Lundahl, 2012, p. 334), and the question is what the most efficient way of learning vocabulary is. There are many faults with the wordlist method which makes it an insufficient way of acquiring new vocabulary: the vocabulary items are treated in an isolated manner, often without much context. It is not really worthy of being called a method, since the method to learn the vocabulary is really up to the learner him/herself. It basically relies on the rote learning technique, memorization through repetition. As a language myself, I have tried different methods to learn new vocabulary, and what I have found to be the best for me personally has been learning through massive comprehensible input. It not only is the easiest way of learning, but ensures a good feel for the language. Learning in this way means concentrating more on the communicative content than on form, grammar and vocabulary. This stance has some support in research by Kraschen (as cited in Lundahl, pp. 195, 2012). This method combined with more focused instances of explicit vocabulary learning is what I believe is best for the learner in the long run. However, in a school context this approach might not be wholly applicable, since there is a limited amount of time assigned to the subject, in English for example. Hence, the learner has to develop strategies to learn vocabulary, and these strategies are not going to be the same for everybody. The teachers job then needs to be to encourage and guide the students to find their own methods of learning. Henriksen (1999, as cited in Lundahl) describes lexical competence in three parts: “partial to precise knowledge of word meaning, depth of knowledge and receptive to productive use ability”. This is a good way of describing the different layers of learning new vocabulary, and it tells us that there are different stages that a learner usually go through when learning. The first stage should then usually be encountering the word in different contexts several times, through extensive reading; the...

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