What is Grammar and How Best Can It Be Taught in The Second Language Classroom?

Roseline Abonego Adejare


Of the four components of the English curriculum for Nigerian secondary schools, grammar attracts the greatest attention because it is generally regarded as the “core”. Yet there are doubts about whether teachers and curriculum designers know exactly what grammar is and why and how it should be taught. This paper examined the concept grammar and the approaches to its teaching with a view to determining how best it can be presented to achieve L2 grammar teaching goals. It critically evaluated different conceptualisations of grammar and the theoretical dualisms of explicit/implicit and deductive/inductive grammar teaching, surveyed grammar-based, communication-based, and Focus-on-Form approaches to grammar teaching, and evaluated empirical studies on the subject. The outcome revealed confusion, the imperativeness of grammar teaching, and the existence of approaches that emphasise knowledge of grammatical form alone and those that advocate the teaching of communication to the total exclusion of grammatical form. Although there appears to be a consensus that marrying both extreme positions would solve the major problems plaguing L2 grammar teaching, no existing approach addressed this theoretically. Consequently, the paper proposed contextualisation, which advocates teaching grammar in linguistic and situational contexts, as both principle and technique of modern grammar teaching.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/selt.v10n3p58


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