Authentic Language/Direct Grammar Instruction

<b>Forum for teachers teaching adult education </b>

Moderators: Dimitris, maneki neko2, Lorikeet, Enrico Palazzo, superpeach, cecil2, Mr. Kalgukshi2

Post Reply
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:31 pm

Authentic Language/Direct Grammar Instruction

Post by andrewgessman » Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:36 pm

I'm very supportive of direct grammar instruction in adult ESL classrooms, but it can be difficult to discern how much is appropriate, for what age levels, ability levels, etc. I'm a teacher in training and have limited experience actually using direct grammar instruction myself. I have read of great examples of ESL teachers using direct grammar instruction, especially to clear up consistent student errors. I think there is some pushback against direct grammar instruction though by innovators who are concerned at it undercuts the goal of using "authentic language" in the classroom. Of course I support using "authentic language", as everyone does. But am I right in assuming from my perch of relative inexperience that direct grammar instruction and "authentic language" can be taught together? They need not be mutually exclusive, right?

Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2007 8:13 am
Location: italy

Post by iain » Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:03 pm

Absolutely. And anyway, useful 'inauthentic' language (ie created by an authentic person with authentic words and grammar but not captured from someone's authentic spontaneous experience) is not harmful!!!

Posts: 3031
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2004 6:57 pm
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

Post by fluffyhamster » Sat Jul 07, 2012 5:16 pm

Nowadays there are so many sources of real or realistic examples (the web, corpora, dictionaries, reasonably clear and straightforward grammar practice books like Murphy's Grammar in Use series, Thornbury's Natural Grammar etc etc) to help flesh out and illustrate structures, that there really is no reason or excuse for grammar teaching and practice to be at all inauthentic. And one of the most important skills that a good teacher develops is an ability to extrapolate from general tendencies observed in the language as a whole (whilst noting suitable contexts), to fashioning examples tailored to fit their specific classes, yet without starting to sound made up (thanks in no small part to the preparatory research). Basically, strive for a balance between "telling" (generalizing~waffling on, on the basis of limited examples) and "showing" (letting a sufficiently large number of examples speak for themselves), with the best order surely showing before telling (with any telling then often just a matter of pointing out, noting, noticing such-and-such a textual fact or relationship).

Post Reply