Taking Traditional Grammar Classes; Why the EFL Learners Have to Be Bothered?
ENG | 27 January 2011 | 19:06 Dibaca: 376 Komentar: 4 1 dari 1 Kompasianer menilai bermanfaat
For many years, it may be up to now, grammar has been taught very traditionally to the English as Foreign Language (EFL) learners. However, the way of grammar teaching, whether it should be taught explicitly or implicitly, is still a controversial issue that has been debated at least in the last ten years (Nassaji & Fotos, 2004. p 126). Karshen states that learning grammar explicitly, develops only the declarative knowledge of grammar not the ability of using grammar (Karshen, 1981 in Nassaji & Fotos, ...view middle of the document...
However, Ellis explains that
‘the learners must have at least some productive metalanguage and the ability to provide clear explanations of abstract phenomena, while learners’ explicit knowledge exists independently of both the metalanguage they know and their ability to explain rules’ (Ellis, 2005 in Fei & Tian, 2008. p.56).
It shows that declarative grammar knowledge is different from learners’ language performance. In other word, language performance is more than just grammar knowledge, but it doesn’t mean taking grammar classes is useless. Taking grammar classes still gives advantages, because it supports the teaching learning process as Wang claims that it is also hard for the learners to speak English without knowing English grammar (Wang, 2010. p.78). It just does not give so many advantages when the learners take grammar classes. As Wang restates Hymes explanation that the concept of “communicative competence” should include “linguistic competence” and “linguistic performance” (Hymes, 1972 in Wang, 2010. p.80), it shows that learning grammar is still needed, but the learners need not to learn grammar too much. The EFL learners still need to take grammar class, but they don’t have to take it over and over again in the other terms.
There are some reasons why the EFL learners need not to take grammar classes over and over again, first, learning grammar in formal instruction of a special grammar class does not develop EFL learners’ language performance significantly. It has been researched for the last three decades, when the learners take a grammar class they may be good at understanding the form or pattern of English, but it doesn’t mean they will have a significant development in their language performance. Take for example the learners who have good knowledge about grammar, even advanced grammar, and may do a lot of mistake in their writing and speaking. It is possible for them to forget the pattern of grammar they have known or they are not be able to apply the knowledge they got in grammar class (Soon, 2010. p. 64). Take another example, in speaking class, Chomsky declares that ‘ideal speaker - listener, in a completely homogeneous speech society, who knows its language perfectly and is unaffected by such grammatically irrelevant condition’ (Chomsky, 1965 in Eisenchlas, 2010. p.14). It is clear that the development of declarative grammar knowledge doesn’t guaranty the progress of EFL learners’ language performance, especially in speaking; they still make grammatically mistakes while they are speaking. Another important aspect language performance is communication, but most of EFL learners learn English grammatically, tough ‘grammar is still seen but form - sterile, abstract, and meaningless’ (Garrett, 1986 in Cohen, 2009). It means that grammar is just a concept, when the learners have mastered the grammar it doesn’t mean they can apply this into the language for communication. In other words, taking grammar classes and passing...