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What is the purpose of teaching Grammar?

Dhruti Asks: What is the purpose of teaching Grammar? Should we expand it with the day-to-day acticities of the life OR should we teach it like maths? For example, how to teach Pronoun in an ESL class? What should be the end product? Can you please guide me? some exercises I can include while teaching grammar?

Watch a PowerPoint Presentation: Grammar Capsule

I am glad you are asking these questions Dhruti. Many of us are teaching without understanding the purpose behind out actions. I think the main aim of teaching grammar is to aid the natural second language acquisition process. If our students had good natural exposure to the target language in class, they would learn the grammar of that language too, incidentally.

But there are limitations in a classroom situation. The pressure of examinations, covering the syllabus (!!) etc. etc. take up most of our time and we are not able to help the students develop language competence naturally in a tension free manner. And then some of us try to make the situation worse by giving grammar rules and explanations.

Teaching grammar can be useful if

- natural exposure to the language is provided to initiate a discussion on a grammar point

- students are given a chance to interact with the exposure and discover the underlying pattern for themselves

- Teacher and Student interact with each other in a natural manner, incidentally using that grammar item.

- Students get to work in pairs and groups to use grammar-based communicative activies in a relaxed manner.

- Students get to work on individual worksheets with LSRW skills integrated with that grammar component.

- Teacher gives feedback to the students in a variety of ways (definitely not circling wrong patterns in red alone)- repeat the correct form as part of her reply to the student, let them watch a video / TV prog. pause naturally at a certain point and focus their attention on the usage, tell a story and find a way to repeat that aspect of language etc.

For these please refer to the following websites:

- Sample PowerPoint Presentations for Grammar Items

- ESL Grammar Activities: The Present Perfect

- teaching Functional English Through Authentic Materials

- Sample Multilingual Activities

Could any of you who are reading this post some activities for teaching pronouns?