Write an essay on the topic: In your opinion, what is the best approach to teaching grammar for pupils in Malaysian primary classroom schools? Include at least one reference, correctly cited in the APA style.
To teach grammar, there are various approaches that can be used. Some of the approaches are overt, covert, grammar in context and grammar in isolation. In our Malaysian primary classroom, there are different types of learners that demands different type of learning style. So, as a teacher, we should find out which approach is suitable to teach grammar for the pupils. In my opinion, the best approach to teaching grammar for pupils in Malaysian primary classroom is the covert approach. I agree that this approach is the best because of several reasons.
The first reason is because this method is very much alike to the acquisition of the L1. In the L1, like Malay, we learned to talk by using all the structures that we listened before we aware of the rules. Most of us did not talk broken L1, for sure. Same goes to covert approach. In covert approach, inductive learning is applied. Inductive approach is defined as new grammatical structures or rules are presented to the students in a real language context (Goner, Philips, Walters 135). Thus, by using covert approach, the teacher asks the pupils to learn using the language first before they started to make sense of the rule. Gradually, the L1 will become internal motivation in order to learn grammar.
Besides that, in covert approach, the teacher gets the pupils involved in using structure without drawing their attention to the grammatical rules. Thus, the pupils will not having a difficult time to digest anything they learn because they just need to get familiar with the structure and understand them. For example, to teach the structure “Do you have…?” the teacher gets the pupils to ask their friends and write the names of several pupils who have each of the stationeries listed in the exercise. They will go round the class and asking their friends, “Do you have…” in order to complete their exercise. By asking the students to interview their friends,
unconsciously they will learn the structure of the sentence and they get familiar with the sentence.
Apart from that, the pupils’ attention is focused on the activity and not the grammar rules. They will also have ample opportunity to practise the question form. The pupils will concentrate on the communication meaning and they can be internalised the grammar. By asking their friends, the teacher is actually encouraging independent learner for the pupils. The teacher should give freedom to the pupils to explore the usage of the language. The method in covert approach such as practicing collocations, writing paragraphs from information on worksheets, writing sentences about yourself or interviewing other students may arouse the pupils’ enthusiasm in learning the grammar.
Holly Wilson (2005) in his study of Testing the Covert Method of Grammar Teaching: A Pilot Study stated that students were enthusiastic about the method and said they would like to continue learning grammar this way. All students reported that they thought the best aspect of the method was that many opportunities that they had to practice using the grammar structures (Wilson, 5).
Finally, covert approach does not burden younger learners. This is because the pupils will learn grammar in more fun way that is by using their own knowledge that they have in their schemata. At the later stage, they will make sense of the rules that they learn without being explained explicitly. The fundamental principle of covert approach is that showing language become aware of forms and rules implicitly without the necessity of having to verbalise them. This approach can be either by-pass 0r complement the development of explicit knowledge of the L2 by directly developing the students’ implicit knowledge (Ellis, 2001). Besides, errors can be tolerated during the activity. Hence, the pupils will be motivated to learn the grammar without being pointed out of making mistakes at the beginning of the lesson. But, they should also note down and dealt with at a later session.
In a nutshell, I believe that the covert approach is the best way of teaching grammar in Malaysian primary classroom. The pupils can learn the language in a more fun way. Plus, in a condition that our Malaysian
classroom is jumbled up with different type of learners with high curiosity, they love to be given a freedom in learning. Reference
Goner, Phillips, and Walters. (1995) Teaching Practice Handbook: Structures: Grammar and Function. Heinemann. 129-138. Ellis, R. (2001). The place of grammar instruction in the second/foreign language curriculum. In E. Wilson. H. (2005) Testing the Covert Method of Grammar Teaching: A Pilot Study. San Diego, California.