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I.7. Grammar presentation

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In a deductive approach, the rules, patterns or generalizations are presented to the student then s/he is given the opportunity to practice the new feature of grammar. This approach is most effective for the presentation of irregular patterns or exceptions to be general patterns, for these by their very nature cannot be discovered through analogy.

A deductive approach often fits into a lesson structure known as PPP (Presentation, Practice, Production). The teacher presents the target language and then gives students the opportunity to practise it through very controlled activities. The final stage of the lesson gives the students the opportunity to practise the target language in freer activities which bring in other language elements.

In a 45 minute lesson each stage would last approximately 15 minutes. This model works well as it can be used for most isolated grammatical items. It also allows the teacher to time each stage of the lesson fairly accurately and to anticipate and be prepared for the problems students may encounter. It is less workable at higher levels when students need to compare and contrast several grammatical items at the same time and when their linguistic abilities are far less uniform.

In Presentation stage the teacher presents the new language in a meaningful context. Building up stories on the board, using realia or flashcards and miming are fun ways to present the language. For example, when presenting the 2nd conditional, the teacher can draw a picture of himself with thought bubbles of lots of money, a sports car, a big house and a world map.

1. he asks students What am I thinking about? and then introduces the target language:
If I had a lot of money, I would buy a sports car and a big house.

2. the teacher practises and drills the sentence orally before writing it the board (positive, negative, question and short answer);

3. when the teacher focuses on form by asking the students questions. For example." What do we use after 'if'?" and on meaning by asking the students questions to check that they have understood the concept for example: Do I have lots of money? No. What am I doing?

4. when the teacher is satisfied that the students understand the form and the meaning, he/she moves on to the practice stage of the lesson. During this stage of the lesson it is important to correct phonological and grammatical mistakes.

There are numerous activities which can be used for Practice stage including gap fill exercises, substitution drills, sentence transformations, split sentences, picture dictations, class questionnaires, reordering sentences and matching sentences to pictures.

It is important that the activities are fairly controlled at this stage as students have only just met the new language. Many student's books and workbooks have exercises and activities which can be used at this stage. When teaching the 2nd conditional, there were used split sentences as a controlled practice activity. The students were given lots of sentence halves and in pairs they try and match the beginnings and ends of the sentences. Example: If I won the lottery, ... I'd travel around the world. [6]

Then the students can play some game which aim is connected with learning grammar.

Again there are numerous activities for Production stage and the teacher choice depends on the teaching language and on the level of students. However, information gaps, role plays, interviews, simulations, find someone who, spot the differences between two pictures, picture cues, problem solving, personalisation activities and board games are all meaningful activities which give students the opportunity to practise the language more freely.

When teaching the 2nd conditional, teachers can personalise the lesson at this stage by giving students a list of question prompts to ask others in the class. Example: do / if / win the lottery?

Although the questions are controlled the students are given the opportunity to answer more spontaneously using other language items and thus the activity becomes much less predictable. It is important to monitor and make a note of any errors so that teacher can build in class feedback and error analysis at the end of the lesson.

When teaching grammar, there are several factors needed to take into consideration:

- How useful and relevant is the language?

- What other language do students need to know in order to learn the new structure effectively?

- What problems might students face when learning the new language?

- How can the teacher make the lesson fun, meaningful and memorable?

When teaching a grammar lesson, it is sometimes beneficial to the students to make a comparison to native language in the presentation stage. This is particularly true in the case of more problematic grammatical structures which students are not able to transfer to their own language.

It is also important to note that using the Presentation, Practice, and Production model does not necessarily exclude using a more inductive approach since some form of learner centred guided discovery could be built into the presentation stage. When presenting the 2nd conditional it can be sometimes presented the language in context and then the teacher gives the students a worksheet with a series of analysis questions to do in pairs. [6]

So, the first chapter of the work showed the main components and functions of grammar and approaches to teaching English grammar. It is important because there are no similar students, and to each student must be an appropriate approach.


Chapter II. Why teach and learn grammar?

The second part of this work deals with the reasons why grammar is important, why grammar needed to be learnt. It will be referred to the factors which will ensure the quality of the lesson of grammar.

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