Academic journal article English Language Teaching

The Effects of Communicative Grammar Teaching on Students' Achievement of Grammatical Knowledge and Oral Production

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

The Effects of Communicative Grammar Teaching on Students' Achievement of Grammatical Knowledge and Oral Production

Article excerpt

Abstract

So far the students of Le Hong Phong Junior High School have been taught grammar with GTM (Grammar-Translation Method), which just prepares learners for conventional grammar-paper tests. Despite their considerable knowledge of grammar, the students fail to use the language they have learnt to communicate in real-life situations. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the communicative grammar teaching method was effective in terms of students' grammatical knowledge and oral communication, and their attitudes towards this teaching method. The results of the study highlight the treatment on both grammatical knowledge and oral communication as well as positive attitudes from the students. These lead to two major conclusions that the communicative grammar teaching indeed helped the students improve their grammar competence and use it effectively in communication, at least in oral production. Besides, this implementation appealed the students' interest in grammar lessons.

Keywords: communicative grammar teaching, grammatical knowledge, oral production

1. Background of the Study

In the history of EFL teaching methods, various trends in grammar teaching have been applied to enhance learners' competence in a foreign language, typically Grammar-Translation Method (GTM), Direct Method (DM), Audio-lingual Method (ALM), Communicative Language Teaching (CLT), etc. Amongst these, CLT is one of the newest known methods; it is the most favorable in the current trend of language teaching. Generally, there are a lot of evidences showing that grammar should be taught in communicative ways that is commonly called CLT (Singh, 2011). Unlike the former methods, CLT is learner-centered, emphasizes communication and real-life situations. It views that learners will learn best if they participate in meaningful communication (ibid.). In brief, CLT itself has its own advantages, and it really does benefit learners in a variety of ways.

In this paper, the term "communicative grammar teaching" is used to refer to teaching grammar communicatively. According to "Grammar Practice: Mechanical and Communicative (n.d.)", this method of grammar teaching is based on the Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) to the teaching of second/ foreign languages. In the light of this method, language structures must not be taught in isolation but integrated to the four skills of language. A structure is practiced both orally and in written form. Grammar patterns must not only be learnt at the utterance level but also at the discourse level; the main objective focuses on the development of communicative grammatical competence, which is understood as the ability to use and understand a structure in a variety of situations spontaneously.

2. Statement of the Problem

With reference to the current trend of language teaching, CLT is supposed to primarily aim at developing learner's communicative competence. Therefore, the design of most textbooks developed by the MOET (Ministry of Education and Training) in Vietnam is somehow based on CLT. However, after many years of studying English at school with these textbooks, Vietnamese students cannot apply their linguistic ability to real-life situations. This reality originates from the fact that most teachers apply the traditional method namely GTM in training grammar, in which grammar rules are taught deductively (G. Nguyen & H. Nguyen, 2004) and thus students keep learning grammar reluctantly in order to deal with conventional paper-tests (Khuong-Cam, 2010). There are several possible explanations for this preference. First, teachers always feel more comfortable and confident when using GTM to teach grammar since this method of teaching is quite familiar to them (G. Nguyen & H. Nguyen, 2004). Second, the school facilities cannot meet the demand of CLT application. Particularly, large-size classes are not ideal environment for a communicative lesson; and schools are deprived of equipment (e. …

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