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The role of grammar instruction in second language learning and teaching

The role of grammar instruction in second language learning and teaching

Benati, Alessandro (2016) The role of grammar instruction in second language learning and teaching. In: English Studies at the Interface of Disciplines: Research and Practice, 11-13 March 2016, Skopje. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Does instruction make a difference? Is there an effective pedagogical intervention to grammar instruction? In the last fifty years, scholars have debated to what extent grammar instruction makes a difference in acquisition of morphological and syntactic aspects of language (VanPatten and Benati, 2015; Benati, Laval, Arche, 2013). Theory and research around the role of grammar instruction seem to indicate that grammar instruction might have a beneficial role in speeding up the rate of acquisition of formal properties of language. Despite the fact that language learners bring to the task of acquisition a variety of mechanisms that override instructional efforts, a type of instruction that is both input oriented and meaning-based might have a facilitative role in second language acquisition (Nassanji and Fotos, 2011; Benati, 2014).

In this paper, research findings on a number of pedagogical interventions (e.g., input flood, textual enhancement, structured input, structured output tasks) will be reviewed. Although, the findings are not completely conclusive on whether these instructional interventions have an impact on acquisition, it is clear that we have witnessed to a shift in the field from the original question “Does instruction make a difference?” to the more specific question “Does manipulating input make a difference?”

Is there an effective pedagogical intervention to grammar instruction? The answer to this question is that there is not one particular type of instructional intervention better than others. However, it must be emphasised that effective types of grammar instruction share common and essential ingredients: (i) input plays a key role; (ii) input is manipulated so to facilitate input processing and grammar acquisition; (iii) grammar instruction should focus on both form and meaning; (iv) output grammar practice should follow input grammar practice.

Grammar instruction should be less about the teaching of rules and more about exposure to form. It ought to be less about manipulating output and more about manipulating and processing input.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Plenary)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Language learning and teaching
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities > Applied Linguistics Research Group
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2016 14:53
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/14556

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