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4 - A Text-based Approach to Grammar Practice

from Part II - Receptive Practice

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 February 2018

Christian Jones
Affiliation:
University of Liverpool
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Summary

In this chapter I present the case for basing part of our grammar teaching and therefore practice on the texts we use in class. The rationale for this approach draws partly on Willis (2003) and Tomlinson (2013) in proposing that much constructive language work can be done through texts for the following reasons: Grammar presented in this way is literally contextualised; the selection of grammar items to teach can seem less arbitrary to learners than the fixed a priori grammar syllabus; this kind of approach leads to a focus on a variety of lexico-grammatical features rather than the ‘big beasts’ of the conventional grammar syllabus e.g. tenses, conditionals and passives. In other words, a text-based approach gives learners practice with the many features of language they need to become more successful users of the language. I also discuss potential problems with this approach, chief among which are whether inexperienced teachers can apply it and whether it leads to an unbalanced syllabus. Finally, I describe the results of an evaluation of the materials carried out by practitioners working in a variety of contexts. The chapter concludes that a text-based approach to grammar practice is a plausible option for teachers to adopt.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2018

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