FC Grammar: Lesson 4

Grammar: Lesson 4

Elements of Guided Induction

Let’s see how an inductive guided approach to teaching and learning grammar is implemented.
Analyze the following lesson plan created by one of the Assistant Instructors in the Spanish department at the University of Texas:

Sample Lesson Plan: gustar

The grammar feature under analysis is the verb gustar. Make a list of features of the lesson plan that are representative of a guided inductive approach to teaching grammar.
Now let’s review the rationale behind the first part of this lesson plan. Watch the following segment and take note of the benefits of presenting the information in the way it is provided to students in the class notes.
Can you think of any changes that would make this lesson plan better?

 

The instructor reviews the sample lesson plan.
Duration: 03:27

Here are some suggestions for changes to the lesson plan, in order to take a guided induction approach to grammar instruction:
• Lead students to look for patterns in the text.
• Students complete a chart that has them identify the pattern.
• Analyze the structure of the language.
• Expand the universe of data by having students read more.
• Lead students to think critically about the language and the cultural implications. (e.g., in Spanish, in oral language, gender is not specified)

 

 

Restructuring Existing Lessons

Now review the following lesson plan with a possible implementation of a guided inductive approach. Write a short critique of it, noting advantages and

disadvantages.

Sample Lesson Plan

Finally, watch the following segment and review the comments provided by the students in this class. Make note of the points they make that you agree with and the ones you disagree with.

 

A discussion of the sample lesson plan.
Duration: 04:10

Here are some suggestions for changes to the lesson plan:
• Reduce the lesson plan to the core points.
• Allow students to listen or watch a video with expressions in the target language.
• Provide opportunities to dictogloss.
• Add more group work and peer interaction.
• Provide a follow-up activity with more practice.

 

In the Classroom
Let’s take a look at an abridged version of a Spanish class focused on the teaching of specific grammatical points. In the segment below, the instructor (Jorge) uses a reconstruction task (dictogloss) to focus students on the analysis of grammatical structures represented in the passage read to the students at normal reading speed. As students try to reconstruct the passage, they have to make decisions about grammar. Subsequently to this stage, the instructor provides students with a transcript of the excerpt and he asks them to identify specific grammatical structures represented in the script.

 

A sample class where the instructor uses a dictogloss.
Duration: 08:45

 

View the lesson plan

Conclusion

The concept of grammar advocated in this module is broader than the traditional one, and thus, more “real.” Grammar takes on different shapes through mode of communication (e.g., oral, written), register (e.g., formal, informal), purpose (e.g., convincing, empathizing), interlocutors (e.g., age, social class), etc. In this respect, we also noted that an inductive approach to learning (and teaching) grammar is eminently conducive to focusing students on the analysis of such a broad definition of language.
Despite the fact that there is still surprisingly little research on the potential pedagogical advantages of inductive learning, we highlighted the apparent benefits of the guided inductive approach (as opposed to simply an inductive one). A guided inductive approach is more practical and more akin to being accepted by the majority of learners, no matter their preferred learning style. A guided inductive approach starts out with an analysis of language data in context (e.g., a passage from a novel, a chart, a video clip), but it can make use of the whole spectrum of options identified on the deductive-inductive continuum. I include once again, a chart that shows the range of possible activities (from the most implicit to the most explicit) that can be accurately defined as part of a guided inductive approach.

 

Instructor’s Final Comments

The topics discussed in this module were purposefully selected so as to encourage second language teachers to reconceptualize their definition of grammar, and at the same time, to reconceptualize their approach to teaching grammar in the second language—and by extension the development of the students’ overall metalinguistic awareness.
I hope the topics covered in this module have piqued your curiosity and that you will try to incorporate some of the pedagogical techniques presented here. We would love to receive your feedback on what worked and what did not work for you. Good luck.

 

 

[Module Instructor Rafael Salaberry]. 2010. [Grammar]. In Foreign Language Teaching Methods. Carl Blyth, Editor. Texas Language Technology Center, University of Texas at Austin. http://coerll.utexas.edu

The material is provided free of charge for those that wish to study it.

How ever a no obligation  exam is available at the end of this module.