June 21, 2014
There is a heated discussion around the teaching of grammar between two main camps. On the one hand, proponents of the "back to basics" movement argue that grammar is the backbone of language teaching and as such it should be given priority in terms of teaching grammatical structures explicitly through language activities and exercises that are designed purposefully to target these structures in a mechanical way. On the other hand, progressivists have a different take on this. They view grammar teaching and and literacy teaching in general as part and parcel of a natural process of learning that resembles kids learning of their mother tongues. They claim that through engaging learners in meaningfully authentic activities, kids get to learn more effectively than is the case through mechanical drilling advocated by the traditionalists.
I personally do not see the effectiveness of any one approach per se in the teaching of grammar. A healthy dose of explicit instruction on grammatical components of a language lesson is just as important as involving students in communicative and interactive language activities that implicitly target those same grammatical structures.
But regardless of the teaching approach you subscribe to in your language teaching, there is one evident fact that no two can argue over. Kids capacities in using appropriate grammar skills is whining away. This is even aggravated by the pervasive use of mobile devices and social media websites as primary means of communication in today's world. There is now a whole new linguistic code created and circulated in those online spaces and in text messages. This code is built on a language that thrives in short forms and grammatical errors. It does seem like digitality is killing some important aspects of language use and as such it behooves as teachers and educators to draw our students attention to this growing mal-appropriation of language and its negative effects on the grammaticality of their language. In this regard, I am sharing with you three interesting infographics that you can use with you students in class. These visuals highlight some key grammatical mistakes, errors, and rules that students should pay heed to.
- Getting A Grip on Good Grammar
- 15 Grammar Goofs
- The Write Way