Education Essay

3457 Words14 Pages
Language Systems Introduction When teaching tenses, we have to get across to our students why an English speaker will select one tense rather than another. Often the concept boundaries between tenses are not clearly visible to our students. In this assignment I plan to look at why I believe teaching grammar to my students is important and, in particular, the problems Arabic learners have with the present perfect tense and ways in which these problems can be overcome. I will then look at methods to teach the aspect of the present perfect that I have selected. What Is Grammar? It is difficult to define exactly what grammar is. Ask any language learner and they will usually tell you that grammar makes up the ‘rules’ of the language. These rules allow the learner to construct sentences and create meaning. However, as Thornbury says, “There is more to language learning than the ability to create sentences.”(1999:3) By studying grammar our students can be made aware of what forms are possible. However, we also need to teach them which form will express the particular meaning they are trying to convey. Teachers might define grammar differently. They may break it down into three types: prescriptive (what we should say), descriptive (what we do say), and pedagogical (what we teach). Until quite recently grammar was presented to language learners in the more formal, prescriptive style. However, as second language teaching has become more concerned with the communicative competence of students, grammar teaching is now more primarily concerned with the descriptive rules. These rules might provide students with a guide as what to use, but they are often over simplified. Therefore it is necessary for the teacher to decide which rules should be taught at which level, depending on the ability of the learners. These pedagogic rules can then be refined and added to as a
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