Chapter I Introduction
Today’s competent professionals are the ones who possess the following qualities: critical thinking, initiative and communication skills. The said skills answer the question how can a graduate land a job suited to the education he or she received as shown by People’s Managers Association of the Philippines’ podcast, “Book Smart is not Enough,” on You Tube (2011). Critical thinking is weighing all possible solutions to a problem and choosing the best one that would solve the problem. Initiative is going beyond the minimum requirements of a particular task and communication skill is using oral and written English language effectively in one’s daily activities. This paper aims to address the third skill by examining how a student would acquire a second language efficiently in order to become an effective communicator. In this regard, the study is geared to look for answers how grammar [specifically verb tenses] will be best learnt by college students who need to acquire strong command of the English language needed by the market. From a linguistic standpoint, what makes Filipinos learn English with difficulty is the fact that the language itself is different from their native language; this is evident in the tense-aspect system of both English and Filipino as English has four aspects [simple, progressive, perfect and perfect progressive] while Filipino only has three [perfective, imperfective, AND contemplative]. From inflection to meaning, the difference would be clearly visible as this grammatical item functions differently in both two languages except the perfect and progressive aspect’s meaning. If by nature these two languages are different, therefore, learning English tenses will be very crucial for second language learners who rely on the experiences they have. Larsen and Freeman (2006) identify these learners as beginners [who rely on the first language (L1) as a source of hypothesis on how the second language works (L2)] and more advanced [who rely more on the L2]. ESL classrooms in the Philippines learn must be treated with utmost care as the teacher should be careful in delivering the lessons or else problems might happen just as it is exemplified by Tolentino (2012) as she “cries for help on how can she teache her students’ grammar” (p.G1). Suggestions were recommended by different teachers like Das (2012) who cited that “a meaningful way to teach grammar would be the use of grammatical unit in a meaningful context; after all, language is used in various social contexts at home, school, hypermarkets, office, airport, medical center etc” (p.H5). If this will be the case, this study intends to find out the effectivity of using contexts and structures in teaching grammar specifically verb tenses. This study will focus on what Larsen and Freeman (2006) asserted the “idea of focusing on form within a meaning based or communicative approach against focusing on forms in isolation” (p.251). In other words, this study aims to find out the effectivity of learning verb tense aspect system through its form against learning grammar through its use. Focusing on form, Brown (2001) asserts that “the forms of language include the organizational components of language and the systematic rules that govern structure” (p. 361). It is on this note that the study will anchor one of its major tenets in traditional grammar instruction as an offshoot of form – focused instruction which he also implied in a later work as “a continuum of approaches to form: on one side lies the explicit discussion of rules while on the other side lies the implicit, incidental references to form” (“Principles of language learning and teaching 5th ed.”, 2007, p. 276).
Focusing on use, the study will attempt to explain the tenet on communicative oriented instruction strongly influenced by the so called grammaring, “which is treated as a skill to be mastered not as a set of rules to be memorized; this will help students be able...
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