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ERIC Number: EJ1096306
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
A Rough Guide to Language Awareness
Bourke, James M.
English Teaching Forum, v46 n1 p12-21 2008
For teachers of a second language (L2), the role of grammar instruction in the classroom has been a perennial subject of debate and has undergone many changes over the years. For example, the once well-respected traditional methods that relied on extensive drilling and memorization of grammar evoked a backlash in the 1970s, which resulted in new methods that excluded grammar instruction in favor of "natural" communication in the classroom. Nevertheless, the topic of grammar remained a live issue, and throughout the 1980s and 1990s, research in the classroom reported positive results for grammar instruction. Even so, the communicative methods had an enduring effect, and the traditional methods of teaching grammar did not return; instead, techniques were developed whereby students would be able to "notice" grammar, often spontaneously in the course of a communicative lesson, and especially if the grammatical problem impeded comprehension. In this way, learners would notice and learn the pattern of grammatical rules for themselves. This new way of looking at grammar instruction has come to be known as "language awareness", among other designations. This article discusses the background and rationale of language awareness and introduces a few of the techniques that teachers can use to help students discover grammatical relationships and improve their learning of English.
Descriptors: Second Language Instruction, Grammar, English (Second Language), Language Skills, Language Processing, Linguistics, Problem Solving, Error Correction, Cloze Procedure, Sentences, Games
US Department of State. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Office of English Language Programs, SA-5, 2200 C Street NW 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20037. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://americanenglish.state.gov/english-teaching-forum-0
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
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