Teacher cognition with regard to grammar teaching in any foreign language among classrooms encompasses a range of constructs. However, the most crucial construct ought to involve the teacher declaring to possess knowledge about that particular language. Consequently, they can affirm their beliefs in teaching grammar through various viable practices and expressions imparting students with grammar literacy skills. This research chapter will therefore review literature studies in relation to grammar teaching. It seeks to assert that various teaching directions and approaches can be formulated and implemented by grammar teachers and instructors. This is in attempt to impart grammar skills among students seeking to learn first or second language grammar abilities. More importantly, the literature review seeks to affirm that grammar teaching will continue to derive controversial debates on how beneficial it is to learn a new language.
There are various types of grammar teaching practices employed within the teaching disciplines in attempts to impart students with grammar knowledge. These practices differ across grammar disciplines, such as social science, humanities, and sciences. They also differ in the measures they empower, encourage, and support students in learning a second language. For example, teachers urge students to learn English by employing explicit assignments. This is because they believe explicit assignments are effective and efficient to learn English. As a result, students are provided with diverse assignments. The teacher evaluates the assignments in order to analyze the students’ grammar learning process (Connolly, Boyle, MacArthur, Hainey & Boyle, 2012).
Coffin however asserts that, grammar teaching can be more effective in learning a second language if the teachers incorporate practical examples in the process. For example, if students are learning English as a second language the teacher should provide students with useful examples deriving meaning and understanding. This is because examples encourage the students to relate, critically think, understand, and remember the grammar skills and concepts they learn in the classroom. Thus, use of diverse teaching styles across different disciplines integrate ensuring students are provided with multiple examples. It is however vital for the teachers to encourage students in deriving deeper and viable understanding and explanations from the concepts learnt in the classroom. Consequently, the students can learn and improve their techniques in reading and speaking in fluent and meaningful grammar skills. Conversely, the teachers can teach the students the correct grammar using limited theorized disciplines to avoid and eliminate grammar confusion (Coffin, 2003).
In recent times, technologies have been advancing and expanding to support modernizations and globalization. Technologies are advancing in attempts to enhance and improve human skills. As a result, they have influenced the process of grammar teaching. Grammar teachers are striving to ensure they also embrace technologies in order to improve the process of teaching and learning foreign languages. Grammar teachers therefore acknowledge that, using computer games can be an effective approach in learning a second language. Researchers have conducted studies in order to explore how computer games impact the users. Consequently, they have determined if the computer games, either positively or negatively affect the process of teaching and learning a second language. A multidimensional approach has often been applied to examine how technologies influence grammar teaching. This approach categorizes computer games based on their genres and subject disciplines. Consequently, it determines how the process of grammar teaching and learning is impacted by observing the behavioral outcomes among the users (Connolly, Boyle, MacArthur, Hainey & Boyle, 2012).
The multidimensional approach revealed that, persons using computer games during grammar learning experience changes in their cognitive and behavioral abilities. It also revealed that, computer games influence the users’ abilities to engage in a process of acquiring and understanding knowledge or content they are not familiar with is impacted. The impacts however differ among the users. For example, some computer game users develop a sharp meaning. This enables them to grasp new concepts and contents faster. Consequently, they are enabled to understand how to use the new words and phrases learnt during grammar classrooms. Conversely, some computer game users develop challenges understanding the game genres. As a result, they face challenges in their attempts to learn which computer genres they are more successful in completing. This process neither encourages nor motivates them to learn new concepts or contents especially if they are learning a new second language. They develop a low self-esteem, morale and a negative attitude towards new and unfamiliar contents. Consequently, they fail to acknowledge the teachers’ efforts in imparting them with grammar literacy skills in a new language leading to failure. Thus, technologies diversely impact the users’ abilities to learn and understand grammar. This is especially witnessed in grammar lessons that do not use practical teaching methods. As a result, grammar teachers ought to adopt practical grammar teaching methods. This encourages participation allowing the teacher to evaluate the students’ attitudes, confidence, and levels of understanding capacities. Consequently, the learners and teachers can develop an effective teaching procedure suiting everyone in order to impart grammar skills effectively and efficiently (Connolly, Boyle, MacArthur, Hainey & Boyle, 2012).
According to Curwood, Magnifico and Lammers, the concept of affinity spaces often utilized by adolescents to explore self-interests can also impact the process of grammar teaching and learning. Using three online affinity spaces namely, The Hunger Games, Neopets, and The Sims, researchers revealed learners’ attitudes and abilities to learn grammar are affected. Affinity space ethnography is often fan-based as the subjects’ create environments they can engage in activities fulfilling their personalized interests. These environments can therefore be developed in order to motivate grammar learners to read, write, and understand new and complex concepts in a new or second language. The affinity space environments also offer multiple and diverse modes of representation allowing and encouraging grammar learners to engage and participate. Thus, they have the ability to attract authentic audiences such as educators. As a result, educators ought to utilize the affinity spaces in learning new and improved teaching methods utilizing the out-of-school spaces in order to offer learners tools, purposes, and modes of teaching English and other languages. Thus, grammar teaching while relying on computers, games, and technologies can be an effective process ensuring learners acquires literacy skills in a second language. The process should however integrate multiple and diverse mechanisms encouraging instructors to use tools encouraging learners motivation in teaching grammar. Ultimately, the learners should participate in various in and out of class activities enhancing their learning and understanding of a second language (Curwood, Magnifico & Lammers, 2013).
Grammar teachers adopt diverse methods of teaching. They however ensure the methods are applicable in providing the learners with literacy skills in the language. For example, educators can formulate grammar-teaching methods encouraging either individual or group participation in the classroom. This encourages the students to ask and answer questions while engaging with the educator. Conversely, the educator ought to provide the students with feedback after analyzing and evaluating their performances. The evaluation process is often through examinations (Hudson, 2010).
However, an educator can also evaluate a student’s performance based on their level of participation in the classroom. This encourages students to actively engage with the grammar teacher in order to improve their concentration and performance levels. It is however vital for an educator to provide students with positive feedbacks especially during classroom participation. This is because guiding and supporting the students motivates and encourages learners to develop a positive attitude towards the lecture and lecturer. Thus, grammar teachers providing negative feedback (NF) to either adults or children in teacher-fronted lessons and in pair-work tasks adversely affect their ability to become skilled at a second language (Noguchi, 2007).
According to Oliver, positive feedback has been evidenced as a model encouraging language learners to study and understand the new and unfamiliar concepts taught in the second language. Consequently, this provides authenticity as learners can engage in natural conversations with the teachers. Talks and/or foreigner discussions between grammar teachers and students provide learners with information emphasizing the possibility to learn the second language. As a result, the teachers’ efforts in teaching grammar rules are successful in improving students’ literacy skills. It is however crucial for the educator to involve repetition, confirmation, and clarification as well as recasting utterances in order to enhance the process of learning. This resolve the struggles experienced by both grammar teachers and students as they promptly decide when and how to teach, correct, and ignore grammar errors (Oliver, 2000).
Grammar teaching can be implemented through the inflectional morphology approach. This approach teaches grammar using the third person as well as present and past tense verbs. It is therefore an approach that is rule-based and straightforward as it coaches educators and learners viable strategies to study and understand a second language. It is however crucial for the educator to monitor the students’ progress. This ensures the students avoid making grammar errors persistently. For example, non-native English speakers often make consistent grammar mistakes in pronouncing some words. This is because they are greatly influenced by their native and cultural lingos further interfering with the quality of English grammar they are able to read, write, and speak. As a result, adults and children ought to learn a second language rather than adults through a process encouraging grammar teachers to embrace a rule-based and straightforward teaching method (Salaberry, 2000).
Devet on the other hand acknowledges that, grammar teachers often suggest some generic grammar as the foundation of teaching students to write correct grammar. She however also asserts that, applying new approaches in grammar teaching can support educators and learners perspectives in relation to the new language. The approaches should assist educators and learners interested in grammar teaching and learning respectively to apply the new and supportive instructions aligned to the parties’ pedagogical perspectives. Consequently, this can promote active participation between grammar teachers and learners. As a result, the students can acquire grammar literacy skills ensuring they reduce or avoid making grammar errors while reading, writing and speaking (Devet, 2002).
The use of formal grammar instructions, textbooks and grammar terminology or direct method instruction impacts grammar teachers’ skills in providing students with literacy skills. According to Harris, grammar teaching through the use of direct method does not expose formal terms of grammar studies. This increase instructional time saved in the classroom. The time should therefore be devoted to a full-class writing project in attempts to improve grammar teaching and learning. This is because the grammar teacher can concentrate on the students’ abilities to formulate and construct comprehensible grammar texts and phrases with or without minimal grammar errors. For example, a grammar teacher ought to ensure students in a language classroom author a composition of tasks in form of a research or project (Harris, 2014).
Consequently, the grammar educator should assess and evaluate their writing skills. This is crucial in determining students’ weak areas as some learners face difficulties in writing while they can fluently speak in the new foreign second language without making grammar errors. As a result, the grammar teachers and students ought to develop a connection between relatively high grammatical marks and progression based on the calculated items in the essay. For example, the study of English as a second language involves students learning grammatical terminologies. They assist learners in making little grammar errors while writing and reading. More so, they provide the educator with an opportunity to avoid neglecting relatively harmful grammar errors impeding the students’ efforts to acquire grammar skills (Harris, 2014).
Grammar educators often regard the language as simple because they are familiar with the lingo’s concepts, texts, and phrases comprising reading and writing rules. Conversely, the students regard the process of learning grammar as difficult and complex. As a result, students should be provided with grammar efficacy across various learning levels. For example, an English grammar teacher ought to teach the language using sentences combining nouns, verbs, adjectives, and pronouns. This provides the students with an opportunity to understand the available grammar instructions that are often predictable and measurable in learning a new language. This derives positive and beneficial results among the students. More so, it fulfills the grammar teachers’ efforts, needs, wants, and desire to impart grammar literacy among the students. Consequently, the students acquire grammar skills hence, improving their reading and writing skills. This is because Noguchi asserts that, the process of teaching grammar overlaps between reading and writing (Noguchi, 2007).
According to Noguchi, students have pre-existing yet unconscious knowledge that grammar learning ought to involve writing and reading before they can learn to speak fluently. As a result, native writers streamline their grammar skills in order to integrate writing and reading styles in formulating organized and comprehensible contents. It is however imperative for grammar students to use “tag questions” as they employ basic sentence manipulations. Although this strategy is instinctive, it can also hinder the learners from learning the new language effectively and efficiently. However, the grammar teachers should engage in formal grammar teaching consistently and persistently. This can encourage the students to develop a positive attitude towards the teaching style. Consequently, they can feel motivated and encouraged to seek, learn, and acquire grammar skills in a second language (Noguchi, 2007).
This method can also be combined with the approach of coaching grammar. Grammar coaching has been utilized for over three decades in attempts to provide students with grammar skills. It is however vital to ensure the approach is student-centered. This guarantees the grammar teach will develop effective teaching techniques assisting students to learn the rules of writing, reading, and speaking in the new language. This increases students’ retention as the learners’ desires to associate with positive outcomes during the learning process are achieved. This form of success can encourage, motivate, and support students’ efforts to learn a new language. As a result, they can acquire a learning system in their subconscious minds arising from desires to learn using the new language. This improves their process of either understanding or memorizing rules of engaging in the new language fluently without making grammar errors (Hudson, 2010).
It is evident that classroom behaviors determine the process of grammar teaching and learning. They determine the authentication of evidence acquired in form of rules and standards of writing and reading a new language. This further influences students’ abilities to speak fluently without making grammar errors. A grammar teacher should therefore be observatory. This should involve engaging the students in questions, interviews, and group discussion in the classroom. This can provide students with correct and fluent grammatical terminologies. For example, non-native speakers can acquire and employ grammar skills to translate into English. However, the English teacher should have belief in their students’ abilities to acquire the grammatical skills. This is because they influence learners’ to achieve consistency and appreciation in the new language. Grammar teachers and students ought to develop positive attitudes towards grammar learning in order to motivate, enhance, and support the process of learning. I am therefore inclined to affirm grammar teaching is effective.
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Curwood, J. S., Magnifico, A. M., & Lammers, J. C. (2013). Writing in the Wild: Writers’ Motivation in Fan-Based Affinity Spaces. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 56(8): 677–685.
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Oliver, R. (2000). Age Differences in Negotiation and Feedback in Classroom and Pair-Work. Language Learning, 50(1), 119-51.