Grammar for Teachers
A Guide to American English for Native
and Non-Native Speakers
Andrea DeCapua, Ed.D.
College of New Rochelle
New Rochelle, NY 10805
Library of Congress Control Number: 2007937636
c 2008 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
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Printed on acid-free paper
Grammar for Teachers: A Guide to American English for Native and Non-Native Speakers is a result of my frustrations over many years of teaching graduate-level structure courses and not being able to ﬁnd an appropriate grammar text for the pre- and in-service teachers enrolled in these classes. The students in these courses have represented a variety of teaching backgrounds: ESL and EFL teachers, native and non-native speakers of English, and mainstream content-area teachers with ESL students in their classes, to name a few. Some of these students have had a strong knowledge of English grammar, but often have difﬁculties in applying their knowledge to real-life discourse. Other students’ exposure has been limited to lessons in “correctness,” and are generally unaware of which language features are central to teaching ESL/EFL learners. Some students are resistant to taking this course, but are required to do so, whether to satisfy speciﬁc degree requirements, for state or professional certiﬁcation, or for other reasons. A few students have had some linguistics, many not. The challenge has been ﬁnding a way to convey the essentials of American English grammar clearly, to engage students actively in their own learning and understanding of grammar as applicable to ESL/EFL learners, and to motivate them to undertake perceptive analyses of grammatical elements and structures, and of ESL/EFL learner needs and difﬁculties.
The overall aim of Grammar for Teachers is to make grammar accessible and comprehensible. The text assumes no prior knowledge and can be used with active and prospective teachers who have little or no background in grammar, linguistics, foreign languages, or other related ﬁelds. It is also intended for those users whose exposure to English grammar has been primarily limited to prescriptive rules of what speakers should say and write with little or no consideration of the concerns and problems ESL/EFL learners face in learning and using English. The text encourages users to develop a solid understanding of the use and function of the grammatical structures in American English so that they may better appreciate the language difﬁculties of ESL/EFL learners. The underlying premise is that teachers of ESL/EFL learners need to understand how English works from a practical, every day approach of “What does the learner need to know in order to produce X.” When teachers understand the grammar of American English and the problems and needs of ESL/EFL learner, they are in a better position to teach and explain elements of grammar.
The text reviews essential grammar structures clearly and concisely, while avoiding jargon or technical terms. The text approaches grammar from a descriptive rather than a prescriptive approach and focuses on the...