The Pathway to Proficiency: The Role of Grammar in Second Language Teaching and Learning
The role of grammar in the foreign language classroom is a heavily debated topic in the arena of second language education. Historically, there have been many shifts in the prevailing idea of grammar presentation. Traditionally, grammar played a heavy role in foreign language education, often serving as the only activity in the classroom. In recent years, there has been a push for implicit grammar presentations focusing more heavily on the use of language for communication. A review of language-learning theories and current language acquisition research was performed to elucidate how grammar should be taught. A survey of language educators was conducted and revealed that educators preferred teaching grammar explicitly and using authentic materials. Research shows that explicit and implicit grammar instruction both have merit. In order to comply with the new World-Readiness Standards of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, language instruction should emphasize the links between language, communication, and culture. Today, teaching grammar in isolation is no longer acceptable to prepare students with “real-world” language skills. Thus, an eclectic approach which integrates authentic materials and a blend of explicit and implicit grammar more clearly defines 21st language teaching and learning.