Monday, August 29, 2011

Grammar and ESL Students

Question: How should teachers approach the use of grammatical terms in working with ESL students?

 Answer: “Bruder and Henderson (1986) remind teachers that beginners in a new language do not have the metalanguage to talk about the tenses of verbs, the relationships in a grammatical structure, and other features of language. Students are often given tasks that require descriptions and analyses of language before they have acquired and used the language or have any real understanding of its terminology.” P. 212.

Comment: If you don’t need them, use them only when needed. Of course, certain basic terms will be needed right away—clause,  sentence, phrase; comma colon and semicolon. I teach these terms to native speakers of English when students actually need them and can use them to understand the concept behind them.  I don’t use exercises, except for reinforcement after students have used them when needed. I know some teachers teach differently, but I don’t use exercises before students have the opportunity to use the grammatical term when needed. RayS.

Title: “Assessing the Literacy Development of Second-Language Students: A Focus on Authentic Assessment.” Georgia Earnest Garcia, pp. 180-205.  In Kids Come in All Languages: Reading Instruction for ESL Students. Eds. K Spangensberg-Urgschat and R Pritchard. Newark, DE: IRA. 1994.

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