Saturday, August 22, 2015

Teaching grammar – Why? When? How? Monday 24 August

Teaching grammar – Why? When? How?  Some perspectives from research in language learning and teaching

Dr Louise Jansen, School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics (SLLL), ANU
  • Monday 24 August 2015, 4.15 – 5.15 pm
  • Room W3.03, Level 3, Baldessin Precinct Building #110, ANU
  • FREE admission ALL WELCOME 
Do we need to teach our students grammar? Most of us would say “yes”. But why is teaching grammar necessary? When is the optimal point of teaching grammar? And how do we best go about it? In this talk I will present for discussion some perspectives on these questions from research in language teaching and learning. The starting point will be research in the early eighties, which hypothesized that teaching grammar is not necessary. We will see that when it was put to the test, this hypothesis failed. The body of the talk will review subsequent research into the role of focus on form in communicative language teaching and present a range of techniques, which researchers have proposed and tested. These will include more reactive approaches, such as recasting a learner’s utterance in the correct form, as well as more pro-active approaches, which focus on the nature of the input and/or form-focused communicative activities. I will then broach the question of grammar learnability as it relates to optimal timing of focus on form. The presentation will conclude with some cognitive perspectives on the possible positive role, and possible pitfalls, of grammar explanations, or inductive rule search activities, in fostering accuracy in learners’ communicative target language use. Arising for discussion will be a range of issues relating to teaching practice, such as the possible contribution of grammar lecturing, the role of writing in grammar learning, and whether achieving optimal timing in focus on form is feasible in practice.

This presentation talk is part of the ANU Language Teaching Forum jointly coordinated by CASS - the College of Arts & Social Sciences (SLLL and the Centre for Arab & Islamic Studies) and CAP - the College of Asia & the Pacific (School of Culture, History & Language).

Next Forum: Monday 26 October with a presentation from Consuelo Martinez Reyes.

The November forum will be a pre-LCNAU (Language and Culture network of Australian Universities) colloquium.  

For more information about the ANU Language Teaching Forum and/or to be added to the mailing list contact: Dr Louise Jansen (SLLL, CASS), Dr Duck-Young Lee (CHL, CAP) or Ms France Meyer (CAIS, CASS)