Grammar Teaching Problems

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GRAMMAR TEACHING PROBLEMS

Grammar is the study of rules governing the use of language, and it includes the study of phonology, phonetics, morphology, semantics, syntax, and pragmatics. Understanding the rules and function of grammar is an integral part of good writing, but many students find the study of it to be boring and difficult. There are many ways to teach grammar to students that can fun and interesting. Many people, including language teachers, hear the word "grammar" and think of a fixed set of word forms and rules of usage. They associate "good" grammar with the prestige forms of the language, such as those used in writing and in formal oral presentations, and "bad" or "no" grammar with the language used in everyday conversation or used by speakers of no prestige forms.

The simple truth is, that without and understanding of grammar we would not know how to write and speak English. Certainly, most native speakers couldn’t tell you if they are using the present perfect tense or what conditional they are using. This doesn’t mean that they don’t have an understanding of grammar, it means that they don’t know the technical terms for grammar. Even if you don’t know the names of the tenses you are using, native speakers use them whenever they communicate in English. So native speakers do have an understanding of English grammar, but most don’t know their present continuous tense from their present perfect. So we have established that native English speakers do use grammar, but only a few know the technical terms to apply to any given rule. ESL learners are not native speakers and teaching ESL students should not be treated as if they are. So should we teach grammar to ESL students? Yes we should, but how much emphasis should be placed on teaching grammar. The average ESL student will want to learn English to be able to communicate with other English speaking people. Students who want to learn English should understand how to speak English. As it isn’t...
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