learning grammar for young learner

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Learning Grammar

Learning GrammarGroup 4Maretha Yosephine Agape 132122068Nandah Nurwendah 132122055Yasir Dermawan132122059Meliani Najmatussobah132122065

A. A Place for Grammar In this chapter, I want to open up the idea of grammar and to explore grammar from the learners perspective.

By doing this, I hope to convince readers that grammar does indeed have a place in childrens foreign language learning, and that skillful grammar teaching can be useful.

To start the chapter,a short conversation with a young learner will help focus on grammar and meaning.Our conversation, in which he was a mostly silent partner and I did nearly all the talking, went like this ( A = adult; P = pupil)

A : whats that ?P : its T rex.A : is it big or small?P : bigA : how big? (silence)A : this big? ( demonstrating small size with hand a few inches off the floor)(Child shakes his head to indicate no)A : this big? (demonstrating a waist-high size with hand)( Child shakes his head to indicate no)A : this big? (demonstrating a human size with hand)( Child shakes his head to indicate no)A : THIS big? ( demonstratig as high as the celling with hand stretched up)( Child nods his head to indicate es)A : yes, it was VERY big !Without the grammatical structure it was very big in his language resources, the child could not tell me all he knew about his dinosaur.

The short conversation about T Rex has illustrated several starting points for thingking about grammar and young learners:

Grammar is necessary to express precise meanings in discourse

Grammar ties closely into vocabulary in learning and using the foreign language

Grammar learning can evolve from the learning of chunks of language

Talking about something meaningful with the child can be a useful way to introduce new grammar.

Grammar can be taught without technical labels (e.g. intensifying adverb).

B. Different Meanings of GrammarThe grammar of a languageTheoretical and pedagogic grammarsInternal grammars

1. The grammar of a language Every time native speakers of French use the language, they re-create it to express their ideas or needs to other people, and each time French is used, it changes a little for the people using it. A languagedoes not really exist as an object or entity, separate from people: we tend to think of it that way, but we might also think of it as a collection of all its uses. As such, a language is constantly changing, it is dynamic.

To teach a language to non-native speakers, we need to stop it, to fix it so that we can understand it as a more static set of ways of talking, and break it into bits to offer to learners.

2. Theoritical and pedagogic grammarsTheoretical linguists concern themselves with finding and describing the patterns in the use of a language. The way they fix and then describe the language depends on their theoritical views about language use and their objectives.

Chomskyan linguists aim to describe language as it is internalised in the mind/ brain, rather than as it is produced by speakers.

Hallidayan linguists, on the other hand, view language as a tool for expressing meaning, and so they categorise language in terms of how meaning is expressed, and produce functional grammar

Pedagogical grammars are explicit description of patterns, or rules,in a language, presented in way that are helpful to teachers and to learners.

Teachers need an overview and description of the whole of the language that is to be taught, but learners will encounter the pedagogical grammar bit by bit, as parts of it are introduced in text book units..

3. Internal grammarsA futher key distinction needs to be made between this grammar, and what any individual learner actually learns about the pattern of the language: his or her internal grammar of the language. Every learners internal grammar is different from every others because each has a unique learning experience. Internal grammar is sometimes referred to as interlanguageor as linguistic competence.

C. Development of the Internal Grammar

From words to GrammarLearning through hypothesis testingInfluence of the first language

1. From words to grammarThere is evidence from adult second language learning and from school-based foreign language learning that, in the begining stages, learners seems to use words or chunks strung together to get their meaning across , with little attention paid to grammar that would fit the word or chunk together in conventional patterns.

2. Learning through hypothesis testingHypothesis testing is the rather grand name given to mental processes that are evidenced from a very early age. For example, as a baby drops her spoon, wacthes someone pick it up for her, and then drops it again so that it will be picked up again. The baby appears to have constructed a hypothesis f I drop my spoon, it will be picked up for me.and to be testing it through repeated trials. Of course, eventually the child learns that a hypothesis was right, but only for limited number of drops, after which adult fatigue sets in, and the spoons probably disappears.

Evidence that children work naturally with rules and patterns comes from their creative productions of utterance that they can never have heard anyone say but that seem to follow an internal rule the child has constructed: e.g. He tookened my ball (= took), in which a new past form is created according to the childs current hypothesis.

In the following extract, two 12 years old Norwegian children are retelling story called the playroom that they had read previously, the narrative part of the story was written in the past tense and if we look at the past tense verbs they use italicized), we can see how they get some right and others wrong, but also how their errors show their use of rules:

Pupil 1 Grandfather show joe around in the house and they come to the playroomJoe gasped when see saw the playroomIt looked more like a toy shop.....In the far comer of the room there was a toy castleThis castle my father maked with me when was in your ageI made up stories about knights and dragons

Pupil 2My father make up maked this tower whe I was in your age And my father and my great and they used to make up stories when I was a knigthAfter supper Joe climbed upto the bed.

Errors in language use can often act as a window on to the developing inter grammar of the learners, and are signals of growth.

3. Influence of the first languageIt will be apparent that constructing hypotheses about the foreign language is much more difficult than for the first language, simply because the learner has relatively little amounts of data to work on.

When data is limited, learners are more likely to use the first language to fill the gaps. So that learners may assume, as a kind of default, that the foreign language grammar works like the first language grammar.

D. A Learning Centred Approach to Teaching Grammar BackgroundTrends in Teaching GrammarTeaching Grammar as ExplicitCommunicative approaches: No grammar neededFocus on form: The revival of grammar teaching

1.Trends in Teaching GrammarYoung learner classrooms are inevitably affected by the trends that sweep through foreign language teaching, as can be seen from the development of task-based syllabuses in Malaysia, of the target-oriented curriculum in Hong Kong, and of communicative syllabuses in many other countries.Some of these trends turn out to be good for learners and learning; others are less clearly beneficial.

2. Teaching Grammar as Explicit Rules: Learning as building blocksGrammar rules are introduced one-by-one, explicitly, to the learners. Metalinguistics labels are used to talk explicitly about the grammar, e.g. the pas perfect tense, and the terms and organisation needed to talk .about language become another part of what has to be learnt

3. Communicative Approaches: No grammar neededBeing able to talk about the language is very different from being able to talk in language, and it was a reaction to the lack of fluency and ease with the foreign language, experienced by many of those taught by grammar-translation, that led to the development of communicative language teaching (CLT) in the late 1970s and 1980s.A form of CLT that is based entirely on listening to comprehensible input is Total Physical Response (TPR), and variations on TPR are found in many young learner coursebooks. In this method as developed by Asher (1972), students listen to commands in the foreign language and respond only through movement and action e.g. Getting up and sitting down, turning round, putting things on shelves.

4. Focus on form: the revival of grammar teachingOne of the most important sites of language learning theory and research from the 1970s on has been the immersion programs in North America, in which, for example, French-speaking Canadian children might attend an English-medium school.

It was in this context that Krashen and colleagues set out the theory that second language learning could follow the same route as first language acquisition (Dulay, Burt and Krashen 1982), and immersion classes formed a huge experiment in learning through communicating in the foreign language.

Batstone (1995) helpfully brings some of these ideas together in a suggested sequencing of grammar learning activities around particular patterns or structure:

(re) noticing(re) structuringproceduralizing Noticing is, as we have seen, an active process in which learners become aware of the structure, notice connectiond between form and meaning, but do not themselves manipulate language.

Structuring involves bringing the new grammar pattern into the learners internal grammar and, if necessary, reorganising the int


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