By Arnis Silvia (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I. Introduction: What is Grammar Teaching and Why?
In traditional setting, grammar teaching is seen as the presentation and practice of discrete grammatical structures. More comprehensively, Ellis1 (2006) defines grammar teaching as:
Grammar teaching involves any instructional technique that draws learners' attention to some specific grammatical form in such a way that it helps them either to understand it metalinguistically and/or process it in comprehension and/or production so that they can internalize it.
Further, Ellis (2006) points out some key concepts in teaching grammar. First, some grammar lessons might consist of presentation by itself (i.e., without any practice), while others might entail only practice (i.e., no presentation). Second, grammar teaching can involve learners in discovering grammatical rules for themselves (i.e., no presentation and no practice). Third, grammar teaching can be conducted simply by exposing learners to input contrived to provide multiple exemplars of the target structure. Here, too, there is no presentation and no practice, at least in the sense of eliciting production of the structure. Finally, grammar teaching can be conducted by means of corrective feedback on learner errors when these arise in the context of performing some communicative task.
The notion that grammar should be carried out in instruction (grammar teaching) are explained by these four reasons, based on Nassaji and Fotos2 (2004) research on teaching grammar.
1) the 1980s hypothesis that language can be learned without some degree of consciousness has been found theoretically problematic. “noticing” is necessary in language learning to understand the form.
2) L2 learners pass through developmental sequences. This suggests that it needs a teaching process to facilitate and scaffold this sequences.
Ellis, R. Current Issues in the Teaching of Grammar: An SLA Perspective. TESOL Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 1 (Mar., 2006), pp. 84
Nassaji, H. & Fotos, S. Current Developments in Research on the Teaching of Grammar. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics (2004) 24, pp. 126-145
3) a large body of research pointing to the inadequacies of teaching approaches where the focus is primarily on meaning-focused communication, and grammar is not addressed. In this case, learners could produce meaningful understandable language, but lack of accuracy.
4) evidence for the positive effects of grammar instruction. In some researches, grammar teaching improves accuracy, rate and the ultimate level of L2 acquisition. These reasons suggest that grammar teaching is essential and should be considered in second language learning. The following discussions will describe the historical background of grammar and grammar teaching, the place of grammar teaching in early approaches and methods, explicit and implicit grammatical knowledge, as well as deductive and inductive approach in teaching grammar.
II. Historical Background of Grammar and Grammar Teaching
Grammar teaching holds a crucial role in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teaching, as without good command of grammar, the language use will be constrained. Teaching grammar is basically teaching the language rules, also known as the sentence patterns, which are essential to define meaning and use. For the decades, grammar teaching has been through some debates which can be described at the following discussion. Before 1970s, grammar was the essential part of language instruction as it was believed that without knowing the grammatical rules of the language, ones will not be able to communicate well. This belief was then challenged by the notion that "knowledge of the grammatical system of the language....was one of the manu components which underlay the notion of communicative competence." (Richards & Renandya, 20023). This shift suggests that to be a communicative speaker/ writer,...