Academic journal article The Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics

Teaching and Learning English Grammar: Research Findings Future Directions

Academic journal article The Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics

Teaching and Learning English Grammar: Research Findings Future Directions

Article excerpt

Christison, M., Christian, D., Duff, P. A., & Spada, N. (Eds.). (2015). Teaching and learning English grammar: Research findings future directions (xiv + 236 pp.). New York, NY: Routledge.

As an English teacher and a doctoral student of teaching English as a second language (TESL), I am interested in teaching and researching grammar. One of my concerns over the past years has been how grammar can fit into communicative language teaching. This motivated me to read a new edited book by Christison, Christian, Duff, and Spada, entitled Teaching and Learning English Grammar: Research Findings and Future Directions. It is the second volume in the Global Research on Teaching and Learning English Series published by Routledge. The book has 12 chapters including three overviews and nine research studies, spread over four sections.

Section 1 includes only one chapter, authored by Celce-Murcia. In this chapter, she presents a historical overview of different conceptualizations of second language grammar teaching from ancient times up to the present. For the most part, she discusses communicative approaches to teaching grammar and how they can be incorporated into curricula. She closes the chapter by advocating a discourse-based approach to teaching grammar-one that encourages attention to form when the primary focus is on meaning.

Section 2 is composed of four research reports, focused on the cognitive and socioaffective aspects of form-focused instruction (FFI). In Chapter 2, Valeo reports on a study comparing the impact of form-focused and meaning-focused instruction in a content-based context with respect to the present conditional. In Chapter 3, Hondo addresses the issue of timing by comparing the effect of pre- and post-task FFI on the comprehension of the epistemic use of the modal must. In Chapter 4, Tomita reports on a case study of a Japanese learner of English. The focus of the study was on the relationship between requiring the learner to focus on form and her willingness to communicate. In the final chapter of this section, Park teases apart the effect of pretask instruction and pretask planning time on the frequency of lexical and morphosyntactic language-related episodes during task performance.

Section 3, which comprises one overview and two research reports, highlights the contribution of corpus analysis to the understanding of the association between lexis and grammar. In Chapter 6, McCarthy points out the benefits of a corpus-based approach to designing a grammar syllabus for advanced courses-namely, systematic rather than intuitive selection of target structures, provision of authentic and frequent lexical contexts in which grammatical structures occur, and development of a discourse-based syllabus. In the next chapter, Liu and Jiang explore teachers' and learners' attitudes towards a corpusbased lexicogrammatical approach by qualitatively and quantitatively analyzing data from different sources. In Chapter 8, Folse demonstrates how teachers can find the lexical items that frequently occur with a grammatical structure by searching two corpora to discover verbs frequently occurring with present progressive and regular past tense. …

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