Research Paper on Teaching Grammar Many new teachers are intimidated by


Many new teachers are intimidated by the prospect of having to teach grammar. There are several reasons for this. Many of us aren't that familiar with grammar rules to begin with, the many exceptions make English grammar a complex subject, and finally, grammar just isn't that exciting to most teachers or students. For these reasons, there can be a tendency to question whether teaching grammar is really that important in the first place.

So, is teaching grammar important' I believe it is. Ed Swick says, 'The rules of Grammar for a language learner are like the rules of the road for a driver. In order to be able to drive properly and maneuver with other drivers, you have to know the rules that everybody goes by' This is true of language to. If you follow the rules of grammar you can express yourself clearly. But if you fail to observe those rules, people may find it difficult to understand and may even misunderstand you entirely ' If someone does not know the rules that govern the roads, they will not have the confidence to start practicing their driving. In the same way, the English learner with no knowledge of English grammar will lack the confidence to begin practicing writing or speaking in English.

It is true that most native English speakers learn to speak English before they ever sit in their first English class. However, ESL learners are different. They have not grown up listening to English from birth. They have to learn from scratch. As a result, anything that will make the English language more understandable is worth teaching. I'm sure that most will agree that knowing how sentences are formed helps make the language more understandable. Also, ESL learners are used to the grammar of their native language. Until they learn English grammar, they will automatically apply the grammar rules of their native language to English.

Seeing that grammar is very important, how do we go about teaching it' First of all, avoid the error of finding a rule to explain everything. This will hinder not help you're students' learning process. ESL author Don Snow explains, 'the more complex the set of rules becomes and the fewer situations it covers, the more it hinders the attempts to learn language rather than facilitating them. ' The best approach to deciding what grammar rules to teach your students is this: based on where your students are at in their language learning process, decide whether presenting a new grammar rule will make things more clear or cause confusion. If it will make things more clear, teach it. If it will confuse them, wait till they are further along in the language learning process.

Finally, how can you make English grammar understandable for your students when there are so many exceptions to the rules' I believe the answer is to teach grammar as if it were simple. You do this by not teaching the rule and its exceptions at the same time. Learning is a process. No student should expect to learn everything at once, nor should any teacher expect to teach everything at once. It is better for the students to learn what is simple first and what is complex later. This is far less confusing.

Think of teaching grammar like painting a picture of a tree. You would first paint the trunk and the major branches. Only after you've finished painting those would you paint the smaller branches and the leaves. Think of the major rules of grammar as the major branches, and the small branches and leaves as the exceptions to the rule. If you want to give your students a picture of how to use the English language, first show them the major branches then show them the small branches and leaves. Teach the students the rules with the understanding that they will learn the exceptions later.

Although teaching Grammar can be challenging, it is also rewarding if we see the students to grasp the English language in a way they could not before. Like everything that benefits the students, it is worth our time and effort as teachers.

p. vii Swick, Ed. English Grammar for ESL Learners. (McGraw- Hill Companies, Inc. New York, New York. 2005)

p. 219 Snow, Don. More than a Native Speaker. (Teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. 1996)