The role of grammar needs to be demythisized in today’s ESL/EFL classroom. There is too much speculation that pupils will gain a new grammatical structure simply by noticing it and writing down its rules. Learning to understand its complexity is part of the problem. The other part is how to go about teaching it.

What is Your Purpose Teaching Grammar?

Depending on the level of the class, teaching grammar can either be an inductive or deductive experience. Depending on the class, sometimes I elicit the rules and forms and uses after showing the students a few examples. This is inductive teaching where students come up with the rules and uses on their own. In other instances, I provide students with the rule and explain it step by step using a few examples. This is deductive teaching. 

How Should Teaching Grammar Be Done?

Strong grammarians don’t necessarily make better teachers. Personally, I don’t make a big thing out of grammar lessons in terms of teaching them as a set of rules. However the neat order of rules and forms gives students something to hold unto, and they feel that they are actually learning a language. But, learning a bunch of grammatical rules is not learning English. The approach behind your teaching is communicative. Memorizing rules will not necessarily help.

It is always easy to teach students a nice neat set of rules. However it is much more difficult to encourage them to use forms to communicate. The grammar debate is an ongoing one that faces ESL/EFL classrooms that needs rethinking and restructuring as the globalization of English continues.

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