Thursday, November 11, 2004

To Teach Grammar or Not?

I have finally finished my SLA essay, related to the role of attention on form. Whether to teach grammar in language learning has always a very controversial topic. According to Chomsky's universal grammar, Krashen's natural order hypothesis, monitor hypothesis and input hypothesis (1982, 1985), language learning should be entirely natural and conscious learning of grammatical knowledge is considered to be a negative effect to learners' language production, especially speaking production.

Indeed, if we look at the teaching outcome of Grammar translation and audiolingualism, we can find learners generally cannot speak fluently and express what they want to say. Also, teaching grammar seems to be not quite effective if the hypothesis that learners' L1 will cause negative transfer to their L2 learning. No matter how hard teachers teach rules... learners are still making the same error...

For this reason, language teachers believe that as long as we involve leraners into authentic interaction and give them sufficient input, they will naturally acquire the language. Is that true??? The point that input and interaction are essential can be justified; however, without teaching rules, how much time that a learner needs to spend in order to fully acquire the language? the Natural approach is now very popular in EFL teaching; after all, there is an age factor in the learning. We don't want to teach kids grammar...and we are not allowed to teach children grammar..that's too boring..

What about adults? can an adult learn from the natural approach? I doubt it! And..recently researches have shown that without the teach of grammatical knowledge, learners are not able to produce grammtical utterance. their speaking production is facing fossilization and become pidgin-like langauge...; that is their acquisition of the target language becomes incomplete although they can use the language to communicate with others.

While I was doing this essay, I found it hard to stand in either argument. Sometimes I really don't understand why theoretical concepts in SLA can never be clear stated : this is how language is learned! ..or this is what teachers should adopt in your classroom.

I mean, what's the point of writing about a controversial issue? As a teacher, I recognize both sides can be a benefit to my students' langauge learning. Different learners have differnet kinds of learning style..and for different learners, we use different approach. When teaching EFL learners, I would consider giving them chances to use the language and authentic input is very important; however, at the same time, teaching grammatical knowledge may help as well. Can't we just adopt the good side of those theories and create a better one? why it has to be controversial???

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

my other blog

Oh! ha! I just got Blinger's message asking me if I am still around... Yes, I am still's just I am so busy working on my essays. Hmm.. I actually try to make this site looks more professional...haha~so I choose not to write my personal life here. But if you want to know more about my personal life..and what i look like.. you can come to my the other blog, which is definately more interesting than this one

good luck for my essays!

need to stay up late again..SIGH...