1.1 The Background of Problem
Grammar gains its prominence in language teaching, particularly in English as a foreign language (EFL) and English as a second language (ESL), Without a good knowledge of grammar, learners’ language development will be severely constrained. Practically, in the teaching of grammar, learners are taught rules of language commonly known as sentence patterns. According to Ur (as cited in Widodo, 2006:1), in the case of the learners, grammatical rules enable them to know and apply how such sentence patterns should be put together. The teaching of grammar should also ultimately centre attention on the way grammatical items or sentence patterns are correctly used. In other words, teaching grammar should encompass language structure or sentence patterns, meaning and use.
Further, grammar is thought to furnish the basis for a set of language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. In listening and speaking, grammar plays a crucial part in grasping and expressing spoken language (e.g. expressions) since learning the grammar of a language is considered necessary to acquire the capability of producing grammatically acceptable utterances in the language (Corder, 1988:123). In reading, grammar enables learners to comprehend sentence interrelationship in a paragraph, a passage and a text. In the context of writing, grammar allows the learners to put their ideas into intelligible sentences so that they can successfully communicate in a written form. Lastly, in the case of vocabulary, grammar provides a pathway to learners how some lexical items should be combined into a good sentence so that meaningful and communicative statements or expressions can be formed. It is concluded that by learning grammar students can express meanings in the form of phrases, clauses and sentences. It cannot be ignored that grammar plays a central role in the four language skills and vocabulary to establish communicative tasks.
In the context of EFL, teaching grammar has traditionally been dominated by a grammar-translation method where the use of mother tongue is clearly important to elicit the meaning of target language by translating the target language into native languages. For example, according to Larsen-Freeman and Richards and Rodgers (as cited in Widodo, 2006:2), in such a method learners are required to learn about grammar rules and vocabulary of the target language. In the case of grammar, it is deductively taught; that is, learners are provided the grammar rules and examples, are told to memorize them, and then are asked to apply the rules to other examples.
Many teachers think that teaching grammar separately is not favorable to learners since learners only learn the way language is constructed, and very often when they are given grammatical rules, the learners work well on such cases. However, when they write or speak, the learners make grammatical mistakes or even unnecessary ones. Helping learners apply grammatical rules into communicative tasks (for example, writing and speaking) is very challenging.
Similarity, in learning a grammar, foreign students face a dilemma. On the one hand, students need to know the rules, as that is what they are tested on at schools. On the other, with a number of foreign visitors, or living in an their country there is a good need for communication with them. Therefore, if students need grammar for communication, it should be taught communicatively, that is, meaning-based. On the other hand, if students need the grammar knowledge to be able to translate from foreign language to their own language, and that is what they are going to be graded on, then form-based approaches will be more appropriate. That is why there is a need to look at the ways of combining form and meaning in teaching foreign languages.
Teachers, especially in the context of EFL, could benefit from learning some alternative teaching approaches for teaching grammar so that they can integrate grammar or structure into other language skills in such a way that the goal of learning language is ultimately achieved.
Therefore, in this paper, I would like to write a possible solution, integrative grammar teaching combines a form-based with a meaning-based focus. Spada and Lightbown (1993: 205) have also argued "that form focused instruction and corrective feedback provided within the context of communicative interaction can contribute positively to second language development in both the short and long term". Thus, integration of form and meaning is becoming increasingly important in current research. Celce-Murcia, Dornyei and Thurrell (as cited in Depdiknas, 2004:46) call it "a turning point" in communicative language teaching, in which "explicit, direct elements are gaining significance in teaching communicative abilities and skills". Of course, depending on the students and their particular needs, either form or meaning can be emphasized. But in having various students with different needs in the same group, or having various needs in the same students, an integrative grammar teaching approach creates optimal conditions for learning for everyone in the classroom. Musumeci (as cited in Sysoyev 1999:2) mentions the idea of connecting form and meaning in grammar teaching as a developing trend in reference to the proficiency oriented curriculum. She points out that students should be able to learn explicit grammar rules as well as have a chance to practice them in communication in the authentic or simulation tasks.
1.2 Problem Formulations
1.2.1 How to teach grammar?
1.2.2 What approaches can the teacher be used to teach grammar?
1.2.3 How was and should grammar be taught?
1.2.4 What is an integrated grammar teaching?
1.2.5 What is an EEE method?
1.3 The Scope of the Study
This study is conducted to answer the following questions:
1.3.1 How was and should grammar be taught?
1.3.2 What is an integrated grammar teaching?
1.3.3 What is an EEE method?
1.4 The Objectives of the Study
1.4.1 To find an alternative approach in teaching grammar
1.4.2 To understand the description of EEE method as an alternative of an integrated grammar teaching..
1.5 The Significances of the Study
1.5.1 The theoretical benefit of the study is contributing to the teaching theory and strategy in teaching grammar.
1.5.2 The practical benefit of the study for:
a. The teachers will understand EEE method as an alternative of an integrated grammar teaching and apply it in teaching grammar.
b. The teacher can help the students to increase their grammar understanding which support their English proficiency.
It gives positive impact to other teachers in creating learning process.
II. REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
2.1 Teaching Grammar
The field of grammar has been divided and subdivided in many ways. Usually, when students and teachers think of grammar, they think of the rules which govern written and spoken language. Patterson (1999) described this field as applied grammar, which makes sense, in that, speakers and writers intend to apply the grammar to their tasks. Within that field of grammar, there are both descriptive and prescriptive grammars. Patterson explained that prescriptive grammar is the rules that direct written and spoken language. These rules were further subdivided by Vavra (1996:32) into rules of usage and syntax. Usage includes rules about concepts like double negatives and slang words. Syntax encompasses rules of sentence structure and its component parts.
Grammar teaching in the primary and secondary levels consists primarily of these syntax rules, usually accompanied by any the favorite usage rules of any individual teacher. Therefore, the grammar teaching and learning that are primarily described in this review will be the prescriptive rules of syntax and usage. Also, this type of grammar has been referred to as traditional grammar or school grammar.
2.2 How Grammar Was And Should Be Taught: A Comparison Between
Different Methods And Approaches
The following table gives a brief idea about how grammar was taught throughout different methods and approaches (Atlagh 2003:8)
What you can notice from this brief description of how grammar was or is still taught is that the earlier methodologies placed a higher emphasis on production in a limited form (Grammar Translation, Direct Method), but never considered the needs of the learners or presented language as a package. Whereas later methodologies combined learners’ needs with tasks to enhance their communicative competence but arguably sacrificed accuracy over fluency, as there was no focus on form.
Beginning in the 1970's, interest in the teaching of 'reallanguage' has increased as people have become more and more interested in the language used in various social and cultural settings. As a result, there has been a rapid shift of research and practice from audiolingual and grammar-translation methods to the exploration of communicative language teaching, and much attention has been paid to focusing on global and integrative tasks, rather than on discrete structures. A review of the research starting from 1970's (Ellis, 1997) shows that communicative Language teaching was perceived as a departure from grammar in favour of focusing on the meaning only.
A comparison of communicative (also referred to as meaning-based) to form-based (also referred to as structure-based) approaches in language teaching shows that communicative language teaching enables students to perform spontaneously, but does not guarantee linguistic accuracy of the utterances. On the other hand, form-based approaches focus on the linguistic and grammatical structures, which makes the speech grammatically accurate. But this accuracy is observed in prepared speech only, and students lack the ability to produce spontaneous speech. Prabhu (as cited in Atlagh, 1985:3) conducted an experiment in communicative language teaching and found that:
“the experimental group, which received meaning-based instruction, did well on the meaning-based test, but showed low results on the discrete-point test. The control group, on the other hand, having received structural instruction, performed better on the grammar structure tasks, rather than on the global and integrative tests. Conclusion: The outcome of this experiment is quite logical and obvious and can be explained by the washback effect. Students' performance was better on the tasks they were trained for.”
2.3 Eee Method As An Integrative Grammar Teaching
2.3.1 Integrative Grammar Teaching
Integrative grammar teaching, which presupposes students' interaction while learning, can be viewed as a cognitive process of learning an L2 that reflects the sociocultural theory proposed by the Russian psychologist Vygotsky (as cited in Depdiknas, 2004:61). In talking about the development of a child's brain and his socialization, Vygotsky argues that there is a strong relationship between learning and cognitive development, in which cognition develops as a result of social interaction and sharing the responsibility with a parent or a more competent person. From an early age, children look to their parents for clues to acceptable social behavior. This brings us to Vygotsky's zone of proximal development (ZPD) in which there are two main stages of an individual's development. The first stage is what a child or learner can do by himself; the second stage is his potential, what he can accomplish with the help of another, more competent person. The distance between two points is called the zone of proximal development. Vygotsky also introduces the notion of a mediator - a person who helps students to accomplish what they cannot do by themselves. According to Appel and Lantolf and Lantolf and Pavlenko (as cited in Atlagh, 1985:4), the role of the mediator in teaching a foreign language is placed on a foreign language teacher, whose task is to direct students in the right direction and help them reach the second stage in the ZPD.
2.3.2 EEE Method
What is meant by integrative grammar teaching, is combining the form and the meaning, using what is called the EEE method (Exploration, Explanation, and Expression), which Athlagh (2007) prefers to call the XXX method because it is easy to retain. This method of XXX consists of three equally important stages: (Sysoyev, 1997:2)
“Exploration is the first stage of integrative grammar teaching. This stage is characterized by "inductive learning." Students are given sentences illustrating a certain grammar rule and are asked as a group to find the pattern and, with the help of the teacher, to formulate the rule. Many scholars have arguing against passive or inactive learning (see, for example, Johnson, 1995; and others) in which teachers refer to a textbook for explanations of rules. I completely agree with this critique. Students should be given opportunities to figure out everything by themselves, receiving help only when necessary. To make the task easier in the beginning, some grammatical forms or endings can be highlighted. Students tend to prefer assignments that allow them to explore the language. The knowledge they obtain becomes theirs and it is often much easier to remember. Exploration, then, works as an excellent tool for motivation. Explanation is the second stage of learning. As students find sequences or patterns in the examples they used during the exploration stage, the teacher or the students can summarize what was previously discovered, now focusing on the form. In some situations it may be essential to go to the textbook and together with students relate 'textbook rules' with the examples and findings of the exploration stage. The explanation stage is quite important because students feel safer when they know the rules and have some source to go back to in case of confusion or for future reference. Depending on students' proficiency, confidence, and actual performance, this stage can sometimes be omitted. However, students should be aware of and experience the strategies they may use to refer to the explicit rules, if needed. Expression is the third and last stage of the process. After discovering certain grammatical patterns in the exploration stage and getting to know the rules in the explanation stage, students start practicing the production of meaningful utterances with each other in communication and interactive tasks. The rationale of this stage is to provide students experience in applying their acquired knowledge in practice by making meaningful utterances. On the one hand, this may also serve as a motivation technique, since learners can actually see what they can do with what they have learned. On the other, the expression stage gives them the opportunity to practice communicating under the teacher's supervision, which usually assures the students that they can produce a correct utterance. Communicative interaction will be better if it is content-based, which allows students to relate it to something they care or know about, thus making it authentic.
Based on the review of related literatures, it can be conclude that In teaching grammar, teachers face a dilemma, let alone students. On the one hand, students need to know the rules, as that is what they are tested on at schools. On the other, with a number of multinational companies requiring that their personnel staff have a good mastery of the English language, teaching and learning English should also have a functional purpose as it is stated by the NCET. That is why there is a need to look at the ways of combining form and meaning in teaching. As a possible solution, integrative grammar teaching combines a form-based with a meaning-based focus.
Spada and Lightbown (as cited in Tracy 1995: 7) have argued that “form focused instruction and corrective feedback provided within the context of communicative interaction can contribute positively to second language development in both the short and long term”. Using what is called the EEE method shows three steps, in the first, exploration stage, learners look at certain sentences and discover a grammatical pattern under an instructor's supervision. This stage also involves cognitive learning. Instead of being given an explicit rule, students spend some time discussing and discovering grammatical patterns, which, as the survey shows, helps them understand the rules. A teacher is given the role of the mediator working within the zone of proximal development. He starts at the point where his students are and pushes them, with his help, to grow and improve their competence. In the second, explanation stage, the teacher explains explicit rules, which, as Lightbown (and Pica (as cited in Liu 2001: 4) show, will make their speech more grammatically accurate. It is important for the teacher to connect the rules to the examples from the exploration stage, which builds on what students already know, as well as provides content-based examples for the third stage. In the third, expression stage, students use new structures in interaction, producing meaningful utterances. This stage prepares learners for spontaneous use by helping them focus equally on form and on meaning in using their language in communication. Finally, the evaluative questionnaire, which was administered to determine the attitudes of the students towards a new method of grammar teaching, showed that students liked the method and thought its work was effective.
Here I show an example of EEE method steps:
The rule: The use of the ending -s with verbs in the present simple tense.
Stage 1. In the exploration stage, students are given the following
Sentences and are asked to find the grammatical pattern. All
instruction was done in English.
1). I go to school every day.
2). My mother works at the IBM company.
3). Water boils at 100 C.
4). My friends play tennis with me.
5). They ride bicycles.
T: Now, I want you to look at the board. You will see several sentences. In some of them we add "-s" to the verb, in some we do not. (T points at every sentence.) Thus, where ending "s" is, it is underlined (sentences 2 and 3). In sentences where we don't have "-s" (points at 1, 4, and 5) the underlining shows where it could be. Words in bold determine whether we should add "-s" to verbs or not. Your task will be to think why we sometimes use and sometimes don't use "-s" with verbs.
Stage 2. In the explanation stage, the teacher ends the first stage and tells
the students the explicit grammatical rules.
T: Very good. You proved to be very good scholars and found the rule correctly. You were right. In using the present simple tense, we add ending s (-es) to the verb in the first person singular, that is, when it refers to 'he,' 'she,' and 'it,' like in our examples: 'My mother works at the IBM company,' and 'Water boils at 100 C' (shows on the board). In the other cases, like you can see here (points at the other examples) we have just the infinitive of the verb or the way it is in the dictionary without 'to.' You can use Present Simple tense to describe what you or others usually/often/sometimes do. For example, "My wife's name is Linda. She works at the Giant. She is a cashier. She likes to talk to people," and so on. Or we can use this tense to talk about facts that represent a universal truth. For example, "The sun rises in the East. Water boils at 100 C."
Stage 3. Expression. The teacher divides students into pairs and gives them
T: Now split into pairs and tell your partner about each of your family members, friends, relatives: where they live, where they work, what they like to do, and so on. You can imagine some things, if you want. Like if you do not have a brother, imagine that you do and think what he does. After you listen to each other's stories, you will be asked to report to the whole group about your partner's family or friends. Ok? Do you have any questions?
In learning a grammar, students face a dilemma. On the one hand, students need to know the rules, as that is what they are tested on at schools. On the other, with a number of foreign visitors., or living in an L2 country there is a good need for communication in an L2. That is why there is a need to look at the ways of combining form and meaning in teaching foreign languages.An alternative way of combining form and meaning in teaching L2 grammar to ESL students. The teacher can apply the EEE method, consisting of three stages (exploration, explanation, and expression) has been proposed. A series of experimental lessons were administered to ESL students to study the patterns of classroom interaction during each of the suggested stages. As the analysis of the lessons shows, in the first, exploration stage, learners look at certain sentences and discover a grammatical pattern under an instructor's supervision. In the second, explanation stage, the teacher explains explicit rules, which will make their speech more grammatically accurate. In the third, expression stage, students use new structures in interaction, producing meaningful utterances. Finally, some studies showed that students liked the method and thought its work was effective.
4.3.2 EEE Method was effective to teach grammar, so it needs to be improved.
4.3.2 It increased students’ English communicative competence so that the teacher should apply it in their grammar teaching.
4.3.2 The teachers, especially an English teacher should search and use as many as possible teaching learning approaches and strategies to develop students’ competence in English.
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