In teaching grammar, the teachers tend to be more concerned regarding the negative attributes within the students for grammar, as most of the students find grammar learning boring and difficult. In the Srilankan school system, the module for grammar has improved with the course of time and in the recent times it contains more substantial constituents using the peer discussion and more activities regarding problem solving. Furthermore, students also have issues regarding the application of grammatical rules while writing English, even though they have studied the subject for several years in schools. However, it should also be noted that there are several areas in the grammar that are mostly problematic specially the usage of articles and agreement between subject and verb (Le?ko-Szyma?ska, 2014). In such situations the teachers use the language corpora in English grammar teaching. The corpora are huge collection of genuine texts that have been gathered after years of research. Therefore the teachers tend to use corpora in the grammar teaching as they can use this as a powerful tool for teaching grammar to students. Despite the consequences of the plan of students with the English language in future, the students have always benefitted with the usage of corpus in their learning. For instance, the corpora can be used for checking the problems in the usage of English language while writing any text, for proofreading and translating any other language into English. Corpora have already been used in the English language teaching purpose for a long time. As indicated by Le?ko-Szyma?ska (2014) there are few empirical studies that have evaluated the usage of corpora for both teaching and learning. However most of these studies have involved small groups of students while using the corpora. The lexical searches have also been proved to be the easiest ones that have been done with the corpora. It has also been found out that the corpus have been used mostly within the classroom, not outside the classroom.
Foreign language teachers always struggle in maintaining the balance between the communication and grammar instruction. Considering the grammar usage in terms of the grammar formation and teaching of the grammar and the teaching of other linguistic rules, it can be said that it is deep rooted concept between the educator and learner (Halliday & Matthiessen, 2013). There are three dimensions of meaning, form and use within the grammar teaching. This article will discuss these three dimensional grammar frameworks.
The dimension of form refers to the way that the grammar structure is assembled and organized within a discourse or text. There are several inbuilt disciplines within this dimension such as morphology, phonology, syntax and graphology that play as a major factor in the learning and teaching of any language form (Purpura, 2013). The dimension of form mostly focuses on identifying the grammar structure such as the auxiliary verb or different forms of the main verb.
The dimension of meaning is associated with the meaning of a specific structure of grammar and what it conveys. As stated by Kucer (2014) the most natural component of the dimension of meaning is the derivational morphemes, worlds, lexical strings and multiword notions. The meaning can be of two kinds, grammatical and lexical. The grammatical structure is mostly focused on placing the receiver of the action.
The dimension of use is associated with why and when the speakers of English language decide the usage of grammar structures over any other structure which can also convey the similar meaning (Bygate, Skehan & Swain, 2013). It pursues the same and relevant components, discourse patterns and social functions. The structure is also used when the agent is unknown or redundant. It is also considered that these three dimensions are used in the teaching of grammar for expressing means and utilizing in the context appropriate usage.
The ‘focus on form’ is an approach within the grammar and language learning sphere, where the learners have been made to be conscious of the grammatical forms of any specific language that the speakers already started using communicatively. The concept of focus on forms has been directly contrasted with the idea of focus on meaning which has been restricted to the meaning of the forms and paid no such attention to the forms of the language (de la Fuente, 2014). The idea of focus on forms has been motivated by the lack of sustainability for the effectiveness of focus on forms on one hand, and clearly demonstrated advantages by the language learning over the uninstructed language learning on the other. The learners of any language tend to acquire the features of the target language in a specific sequence, not all at one go. In this sequence, most of the stages in the learning process will indicate to the forms that are not like natives. Moreover progress within these stages is not at all done in a transparent way, however they may also indicate to the U shaped learning process where native like usage of the language may revert to the non-native usage of the language. As indicated byLarsen-Freeman (2015), it can be said that the uninstructed learning of language has a clear advantage for the instructed learning procedure within both the ultimate and learning level. However, as opined by Uysal & Bardakci (2014) the focus on form learning should be included in the second language teaching programs in an effective way, as only the meaning oriented learning is not sufficient for the learners, rather they require both. The focus on form ideas also happen on a regular basis within the lessons that are message oriented without having any disturbances in the flow of communication for the learners.
Cohort of Students: There are 10 students in the cohort aged 10-12 years.
Student profile: The first language of these students is Sinhala or Tamil. They are at elementary level of the primary section.
There have been several researches conducted for evaluating the effectiveness of the corpus linguistics. This task will be design for a cohort of students in the primary level. Within this cohort there are ten students who are learning the English language as a second language. Using the corpora based learning; the students will have two activities. Those activities are verb pairing game and the computer cloze activity. Both the activities have been described below:
In this activity, the students will be divided into two groups. For this game the teacher will choose two verbs at one time. For the first verb pairing activity, the chosen verbs will be ‘make’ and ‘do’. By dividing the students into two groups, the teacher will give the first groups few sentences that are corpus derived and those are without the selected verbs ‘make’ and ‘do’. The second group of students will have the sentences with ‘make’ and ‘do’. Therefore the teacher will make both the groups stand in two lines facing each other. After this, the students who are having sentences with the verbs will make different turns for paining these verbs with the other sentences that the second group has.
For integrating this computer cloze activity in the class, the students can be benefitted in two different ways. They can practice the usage of verbs along with learning the collocations. The teacher will have to take help of computers and projectors in this activity. The teacher will prepare a list of sentences with both the verbs ‘make’ and ‘do’ while he or she will delete the verbs. Therefore, the students will be shown the sentences on a projector in the class and they will be asked to fill up the gaps using these verbs. Sample sentences will be:
Cohort of Students: There are five to six students in the cohort aged 12-14 years.
Student profile: This task will be framed for the students at the junior secondary level.
Within the three dimensional grammar frameworks, the three major dimensions are structure or form, meaning and use. Within the form, the teacher will focus on the formation of language, within the meaning dimension the teacher will focus on the meaning of language and within use the teacher will focus on the usage of language. At this level, the teacher will focus on teaching the usage of passive voice in English. For teaching the formation of passive voice in English language the teacher will have questions prepared for the students. He or she will show the questions to the students with both the active and passive sentences. These will tell the students about the differentiation between the active and passive usage of grammar in English language. the students could also be asked to ask questions if they have any doubt regarding the formation of the passive voice. The next activity will involve the meaning of passive voice in English. The teacher will use flashcards where meaning of passive sentences will be written along with their active forms. By writing such meanings, the teacher will be able to make the students understand regarding the meaning differences in the language. The third activity will involve the use of the language. This activity can involve role playing functions. The teacher can divide the students in two groups naming active and passive and the students can utter the active and passive voices that were written in the given flashcards. This will give them an idea of active and passive voice in a clearer way.
Cohort of Students: There are 10 students in the cohort aged 12-14 years.
Student profile: The students are at the junior secondary level. As their first language is not English, they are having trouble in understanding the signals and instructions of English language.
After introducing the concepts of integrated focus on forms and the sequential focus on forms. Both the leanings have been created in accordance with the explicit and implicit forms of leaning. The sequential focus on form is based on the perceptive and practicing of any grammatical form rather than the natural form of language. On the other hand the integrated approach of focus on form is associated with the natural meaning and communication where a particular form is provided within the communication flow without making any interruption. The teacher can use two models in teaching English grammar using the focus on form approach. Within the first model the teacher will give the students a brief instruction of the formal knowledge of the language while focusing on the functions of focus on form with brief interventions and signals. In the next model the teacher will give explicit instructions of the formal knowledge of the language. The communicative activities will be included for making an extensive practice of the procedures.
Bygate, M., Skehan, P., & Swain, M. (2013). Researching pedagogic tasks: Second language learning, teaching, and testing. Routledge.
Charles, M. (2014). Getting the corpus habit: EAP students’ long-term use of personal corpora. English for Specific Purposes, 35, 30-40.
de la Fuente, M. J. (2014). Learners' attention to input during focus on form listening tasks: the role of mobile technology in the second language classroom. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 27(3), 261-276.
Halliday, M. A. K., & Matthiessen, C. M. (2013). Halliday's introduction to functional grammar. Routledge.
Kucer, S. B. (2014). Dimensions of literacy: A conceptual base for teaching reading and writing in school settings. Routledge.
Larsen-Freeman, D. (2015). Research into practice: Grammar learning and teaching. Language Teaching, 48(2), 263-280.
Lee, O., Quinn, H., & Valdés, G. (2013). Science and language for English language learners in relation to Next Generation Science Standards and with implications for Common Core State Standards for English language arts and mathematics. Educational Researcher, 42(4), 223-233.
Le?ko-Szyma?ska, A. (2014). A teacher-training course on the use of corpora in language education: Perspectives of the students. Insights into Technology-enhanced Language Pedagogy. Peter Lang: Frankfurt am Main, 129-144.
Le?ko-Szyma?ska, A. (2014). Is this enough? A qualitative evaluation of the effectiveness of a teacher-training course on the use of corpora in language education. ReCALL, 26(2), 260-278.
Purpura, J. E. (2013). Assessing grammar. John Wiley & Sons, Inc..
Richards, J. C., & Reppen, R. (2014). Towards a pedagogy of grammar instruction. RELC Journal, 45(1), 5-25.
Richards, J. C., & Rodgers, T. S. (2014). Approaches and methods in language teaching. Cambridge university press.
Uysal, H. H., & Bardakci, M. (2014). Teacher beliefs and practices of grammar teaching: focusing on meaning, form, or forms?. South African Journal of Education, 34(1), 1-16.
Wichmann, A., & Fligelstone, S. (2014). Teaching and language corpora. Routledge.
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