The following are some of the thoughts that have coalesced in recent days since posting our second challenge in the reflective practice blog challenge (#rpc).
If this statement were posed to me in real life I think I would have found my way to the “strongly disagree” crowd without a second thought. I don’t remember learning grammar rules before learning to speak to my parents as a toddler. However, after reading some of our other participants ideas and after given this statement more thought I am finding myself in far grayer territory.
Now, without diving into the whole second language acquisition debate, I do think there might be a place for grammar explicitly taught. Certainly not a large, or long lasting place. I would be loth to spend time trying to explain the complexities of the rules behind articles or prepositions for instance. But I do think that some focus on a specific form can be helpful. If only for the repetition of it.
I have found that focus on accuracy, when used sparingly, helps students build confidence. It also assists them in working out the kinks of the pure mechanics of production (think tongue movement etc). As a learner, attempting learner that is, of a second language I appreciate very minimal focus on some grammar on occasion.
thinking writing this feels sacrilegious after seeing the sterling results of Korea’s grammar based education system (heavy dose of sarcasm). It should be stated that over egging the pudding in terms of grammar teaching is easily done, and so should certainly be done sparingly. That said, I’m still in my gray area as to whether or not it’s necessary to be effective. Perhaps, as with most things, the situation matters the most. ESL learners will have far less need for it than EFL learners I’d guess.
I’ve surprised myself with this answer. Maybe I’ve surprised you too. Any thoughts or guidance or light hearted mockery is welcome.
2) Teachers who don’t utilize technology in class are doing a disservice to their students.
I covered this somewhat inadvertently in a recent post that can be found here.
3) Teachers have to understand the correlation between student feelings and student needs to be effective.
Here again I would fall onto the agree side of the fence. Let’s consider an example. A student is not engaged in a lesson. They are trying to sleep or staring at their desk. A teacher who dismisses that student for being a “bad” student has done that student a disservice. In addition, poorly handled, the situation could cause push back from other members of the class. A teacher could easily find themselves fighting to remain effective.
Most of the participants in this challenge have questioned whether or not they make the correlation in their own class, but then mention that they DO recognize students have needs and that feelings stem from them. That, in my mind, is exactly what the statement is saying needs to be done. Nothing more.
I do not believe this statement is saying that teachers have to successfully understand the needs behind a students feelings or behavior, merely that we must be aware that there is a correlation and heed that awareness when addressing the issue.
That does it for me.
Feel free to comment and if you haven’t already seen what our other participants have had to say on these matters, have a look…
Anne Hendler asks herself and all of us some very pertinent questions.
David Harbinson joins in with some very thoughtful analysis of his own.
and Hana Ticha responds in her own way providing sage wisdom along the way.