Grammar discussion forum

Grammar discussion forum
Tuesday, 24 November 2020, 4:37 PM




This is a forum for discussing the topic Grammar.

For some discussion, you may look at Deductive X Inductive Grammar here.



Take a look below to what previous students answered.



Just like XXXXXX, and perhaps many language teachers, I find teaching grammar quite challenging. There are are many reasons for this. For one, grammar itself can be tricky, especially when there are considerable differences between L1 and L2. This is one of the reasons teaching the present perfect is not an easy task for Brazilian EFL teachers. Moreover, students often equate grammar to boring, teacher centered classes.
In chapter 4, Stanley has given us some options to get around these challenges. For example, grammar can be taught more inductively with the automatic cloze tests or with the grammar check. Interestingly, when my students do writing activities at home, they seldom run their texts through a grammar check/spell check. Then when I am correcting their texts, Word itself suggests some corrections which the student's could have made on their own.
I did not like the idea from the first activity, audio gap-fills. I think it would kind of hard for learners to understand the activity, and in my experience when the task is too difficult they may have a certain unwillingness to perform it.

Technology tools adds aspects to grammar learning which may increase students' engagement. Nevertheless, it is the teacher's instruction and the task development that will make a difference. By working with different genres, students can approach linguistic structures in a natural context and, through focused-on-form instruction, engage in discovering the system's rules. Providing oppostunities for students to produce their own assessment also develops their autonomy and responsibility towards learning. As we have already discussed, our "digital natives" are not so much aware of the technological tools available to them, (although it might seem obvious ...) Therefore, showing them how to use grammar checks and even teaching them how to consult grammar-reference sites will certainly prove useful.

For me, the most challenging part of being an English teacher is the grammar instruction, because most of my students seem afraid of it, don’t like it or have had previous negative experiences. So, I am always concerned about how I’m going to present it. In this topic I found very interesting ideas and websites that can help me with this. It’s also important to mention the 5 tips Chapelle & Jamieson say should be considered when using CALL to teach grammar: select materials which are proper to the learners, which promote interaction with the computer and among students; provide feedback and, help students develop their own strategies for grammar learning. Following this, we avoid the traditional grammar instruction format which so many people dislike, motivate our students and help them being more independent learners.



Picture of Fernanda da Costa Alves (202001313)
Re: Grammar discussion forum
by Fernanda da Costa Alves (202001313) - Sunday, 7 March 2021, 3:15 PM

Hello! smile

As in the examples above, I also think teaching grammar can be challenging. In my opinion, it depends mostly on the students. For example, if I am dealing with children, teenagers, or adults, teaching grammar can be harder or easier. Also, something that affects drastically is the methodology being used since sometimes we cannot choose how this content is going to be presented to the students (perhaps who has already worked in a language school can understand me here). For adults, I can notice that show grammar explicitly can be very helpful. My students usually prefer to have explicit moments of grammar. However, grammar is important for every age (in different levels of difficulty, but important anyway) and we must learn how to deal with it even when dealing with teenagers (which, in my opinion, is the hardest age to teach grammar). 

Teaching grammar can sometimes seem boring or even harder than it was supposed to be because the students are already thinking it is too hard for them. Therefore, it is interesting to try to use different resources to teach it. Nonetheless, even though some tools are available and can help the students, sometimes teachers do not use them pedagogically or even try to avoid their use (as grammar/spell check on Word) because they might think it can be harmful to their learning process (and I can include myself here). However, if well used, they can be a resource for the students, as mentioned by the author in this chapter. Perhaps sometimes we do not make good use of very interesting tools that we know because we do not even reflect on how to use them. And this is why it is really important to discuss these issues and see activities such as the ones presented by Stanley, so we can reflect and make better decisions.

Picture of Tatiana Köerich Rondon (202000714)
Re: Grammar discussion forum
by Tatiana Köerich Rondon (202000714) - Sunday, 7 March 2021, 10:34 PM

Good evening, everyone! smile

Stanley (2013) starts his chapter with grammar activities by differentiating between descriptive and prescriptive grammar. The former is related to how people use language when speaking and writing; the latter concerns the rules imposed by some people, especially teachers. Then, the author explains that the suggested activities focus on how learners can use language to effectively convey meanings. Among other aspects, Stanley argues that using technology to teach grammar can foster learners’ engagement and motivation, facilitate access to real-world data, and offer different opportunities for practice.

Picture of Luana Garbin (202002715)
Re: Grammar discussion forum
by Luana Garbin (202002715) - Monday, 8 March 2021, 11:44 AM

Hello, everybody

Although grammar teaching can be a difficult experience for many learners and because of that some methodologies try to adopt a manner to teach it as naturally as possible without exposing traditional grammar points, it is important to stress that grammar is not only related to written and reading skills, on the other hand it is a pillar for all the skills and by developing grammar awareness and meaning making from real world activities, learners can gradually recognise its form in all aspects of the language itself.

It is interesting that Stanley also points out the necessity to prepare learners for possible exams, which basically involve grammar evaluation, thus the importance to work this competence within the classroom. 


Picture of Thaisy da Silva Martins (202001387)
Re: Grammar discussion forum
by Thaisy da Silva Martins (202001387) - Monday, 8 March 2021, 1:35 PM

Just like my classmates, I think teaching grammar can be a challenge. I agree with Fernanda that adults like to have explicit grammar teaching moments; as a student I also feel that way. With children and teenagers, however, I think they work better with implicit grammar, with structures presented in the middle of activities. Although it can be difficult sometimes, I think it is very important to teach grammar because it helps students in the development of their skills. We can make use of resources and games when teaching grammar to better consolidate the content and to make the experience less tiring. 

Picture of Pierre Silva Machado (202004425)
Re: Grammar discussion forum
by Pierre Silva Machado (202004425) - Monday, 8 March 2021, 5:05 PM

For me, the interface between grammar and using digital resources makes things harder as we are dealing with form and structure. However, there are great examples of activies on Stanley's book and they are easy to adapt to different educational contexts. While reading his suggestions, I was wondering if it is not about time for me to have a file with previously prepared material so that I save time and have a group of activities for me to use when time is short for planning. With that said, I am not saying we must only go there and take the activity so that it can be used: different groups, different students, different learning strategies involved. What I mean is that some times we do the same things over and over and this file can be a support for us during those time in which we cannot think of a proper activity for a specific purpose or topic. If we have that, we can check it and later we may have the insights for adaptations. 

Picture of Janaina Fernanda de Almeida (202001525)
Re: Grammar discussion forum
by Janaina Fernanda de Almeida (202001525) - Tuesday, 9 March 2021, 9:41 AM

Stanley (2013) introduces the topic by defining the term grammar and showing that the concept adopted for its definition (descriptive or prescriptive) will also influence how grammar is taught in L2 classes. Although the author argues that technology can support the two perspectives of grammar teaching in several ways, I believe it is especially useful for adopting a more descriptive view. For example, in a quick search, teachers can find many online instances of how native speakers use the target structure in actual communication contexts. The learner, in turn, can better understand the context in which the grammatical forms were uttered, rather than only reading fragmented and meaningless sentences containing the structures.

Picture of William Gottardi (202003499)
Re: Grammar discussion forum
by William Gottardi (202003499) - Wednesday, 10 March 2021, 9:37 AM

Hey, everyone!

As I teach adults, whenever I teach a new group, I spend some time explaining that grammar is not only the explicit rules present in grammar and textbooks but the regularity of how thoughts are expressed in a target language. Most students want to be fluent in 6 months or even less, and they believe that learning grammar is just a waste of time. Thus, the first step is to raise some awareness regarding the importance of it. Considering grammar, Stanley advocates that "the more we are aware of how it works, the more we can monitor the meaning and effectiveness of the way we and others use language" (p. 61).

Regarding the use of technological resources for teaching grammar, I think the most relevant one is the easy access to data, not only explicit rules but also real language use. Furthermore, in order to promote students' autonomy, automated writing evaluation (AWE) applications are extremely handy. Besides practicing students' writing skills, it provides instant feedback on both spelling and grammar. Students can create a hypothesis regarding their mistakes before checking the app's correction, which provides an opportunity to understand the gaps in their interlanguage. Although the author suggests many suitable tools and activities, AWE tools are my favorite ones.

Picture of Marcella Lorenzato Barontini (202004434)
Re: Grammar discussion forum
by Marcella Lorenzato Barontini (202004434) - Saturday, 27 March 2021, 2:18 PM

This is true! It is important to raise the awareness that learning grammar is not simply studying its rules, but especially getting acquainted with its usage. Students in general (but particularly adults) need to understand the points and the needs of the grammar structure they are studying. This is why I like to introduce grammar topics in a relatable context, in which students are able to discuss and share their ideas.  

Picture of Daniele Perezin Mizuta (202004424)
Re: Grammar discussion forum
by Daniele Perezin Mizuta (202004424) - Saturday, 13 March 2021, 6:40 PM

The many possibilities of how to teach grammar walk hand-in-hand with the varying relationship that students relate to this topic. Some students want to learn every rule because they want to “speak correctly”, while others just want to use the language and learn by doing, and do not account for any rules or grammatical terms.

In general, as I reflected on my practice, I guess I tend to introduce grammar in an inductive way more frequently than in a deductive way. I feel that students tend to focus more when challenged to answer questions such as: “What’s the difference between ____ and ____?” or “Why do you think we use ____, but in this case we use ____?”, instead of being directly exposed to a rule. I feel that they have to put more effort into getting to the “conclusion” and become more active in the learning process.

However, as context is essential for most (or all) pedagogical decisions, I believe I would approach grammar in a more deductive way if, for example, my student needed to be exposed to several grammar rules for a Vestibular test and did not have much time to prepare for it. I try to adapt the way grammar is approached in the classroom to what is relevant to the learner, as I seek to address the learner’s learning style, preferences and goals with the language.

Picture of Mauricio de Bortolli Lattmann (202004435)
Re: Grammar discussion forum
by Mauricio de Bortolli Lattmann (202004435) - Saturday, 20 March 2021, 3:11 PM

Hello there everyone,

Learning grammar is a topic learners and teachers might have different opinions on. If on the one hand, some people might like it and feel more confident when speaking a foreign language having previous knowledge about the specific grammar structure in use, others might avoid it or even be somewhat reluctant when learning grammar. Nonetheless, its importance is beyond question, as stated by Stanley (2013) in his book "Language Learning with Technology", grammar could be best described as "the structural foundation of our ability to express ourselves" (p. 61). In addition to that, the author in his book, continues on providing a variety of examples on what a technology-supported approach might offer to grammar teaching as a whole.

I particularly, when teaching grammar, tend to use both deductive and inductive approaches with my students. It may vary depending on the level, the pedagogical materials and most importantly, the grammar topic itself. Understanding how your students tend to learn new content is of great importance when deciding which approach to use, though. When it comes to Stanley's suggested activities for grammar development, I found some of them to be of great value if done correctly. I will for sure try to incorporate some of them in my future classes for my students to better retain the content seen in class.

Picture of Natália Pinheiro (202001301)
Re: Grammar discussion forum
by Natália Pinheiro (202001301) - Monday, 22 March 2021, 9:23 AM

I agree that teaching grammar can be challenging. Indeed, using some of what we know about SLA from a psycholinguistics stance, learners' age should guide our approaches to teaching it. That is, young learners will learn grammar more implicitly than old learners (i.e. pos pubescent). In that sense, I think the first evidence-based teaching decision should concern not only the type of input but also to which aspects students' attention should be drawn. 

I know that some EFL teachers prefer not to work 100% grammar-focused classes, but I tend to do adopt them when teaching adults.

Picture of Celso José de Lima Junior (202001592)
Re: Grammar discussion forum
by Celso José de Lima Junior (202001592) - Monday, 22 March 2021, 10:23 AM


Stanley offers flexible ways in which the teaching of grammar can be incorporated in second and foreign language instruction in practically any English as a second language. Taken together, the chapters provide contextualized activities and a great variety of ways of teaching grammar structures, taking into consideration pragmatic implications.Yes

Picture of João Luiz Coelho (202002413)
Re: Grammar discussion forum
by João Luiz Coelho (202002413) - Wednesday, 31 March 2021, 1:44 PM

Just like most of my colleagues have mentioned, teaching grammar can be really difficult. Sometimes students are very participative and can get too excited and ask questions that go beyond the focus of the grammar topic, and other times students are unwilling to learn grammar. I think it depends on students’ age, personality, and mood, mainly. I have never taught English to kids, but I can imagine that it can be easier to teach grammar in an implicit way for them. For adults, it can work, but it is usually harder and their reception is not always good. I have had experience with some adults wanting more and more grammar exercises and explanations, and others that don’t care so much about grammar.

However, I try a lot to use inductive grammar teaching in my classes. I first present them a set of sentences or words and ask the students to find a pattern. Just last week, I was teaching comparative adjectives with students (bigger, smaller, more, less…) and asked them to try and find a pattern (they are adults). They were quite clever in trying to hypothesizing grammatical rules (as to why you say ‘more efficient’ and not *efficienter*, but you say ‘hotter’ and not *more hot*). They created many hypotheses that were incorrect, but I think that if they are trying to figure it out, it connects them emotionally to the subject as well. If they are right, they feel accomplished. If they are wrong, they will have more interest in finding out the correct grammar rule. Even though this practice does not work with every subject, I have had successful outcomes with implicit grammar teaching with adults. smile

Picture of Rayla Rocha dos Santos (202001012)
Re: Grammar discussion forum
by Rayla Rocha dos Santos (202001012) - Wednesday, 31 March 2021, 11:35 PM

Considering beginners, I think deductive grammar is more feasible because they are at the very beginning process of learning. However, as they advance I think inductive grammar can be adequate as well because learners would be more active, and they could pay attention to the “noticing” aspect of the language as it was discussed by Jon Hird. 


Picture of Flávia Roberta Felippi Rucki (201905682)
Re: Grammar discussion forum
by Flávia Roberta Felippi Rucki (201905682) - Tuesday, 6 April 2021, 9:23 PM

  Stanley claims that " grammar is best described as the structural foundation of our ability to express ourselves" (2013, p.61). This important aspect of language learning and teaching can not be neglected, even though, I must admit, it is not my cup of tea... the good news is that technology offers a huge amount of websites and apps to help teachers in this area. These effective tools can change boring and hard grammar lessons into challenging and funny moments. Stanley mentions some advantages of using technology in grammar lessons: it offers more engagement, access to data, feedback, opportunities for practice, among others.

As for me, I believe that grammar lessons supported by technology can help learners to develop autonomy in their studies and  provide answers to their daily needs in a very successful way.    


Picture of Andreia Dalla Costa (201901088)
Re: Grammar discussion forum
by Andreia Dalla Costa (201901088) - Wednesday, 7 April 2021, 5:52 AM

I find that teaching grammar can become quite challenging. Usually we notice that our students seem to be "afraid" of grammar and might believe that learning English is difficult because of it, when, in fact, it is quite the opposite. Thus, one of the obstacles teachers have to overcome is teaching grammar in a more contextualized way, avoiding complicated explanations and rote memorization of rules and exceptions. 

In this sense, technology can become an ally in promoting grammar awareness as there are numerous tools that can help teachers focus on grammatical aspects in a more inductive way.