Conditional sentences are dedicated to expressing a possible situation and its consequences. Teaching of conditional sentences is a difficult point in secondary school English education. In mainland China, students begin the learning of the first and zero type of conditional sentences in the eighth grade, and learn the rest of second and third type of condition sentences in the eleventh grade. The long learning period of conditional sentence can reflect the great importance and difficulty of teaching this grammar. The complicacy of conditional sentences determines that its teaching requires specially designed method.
Based on the verb forms in a clause, conditional sentences ...view middle of the document...
Secondly, an improved teaching method of conditional sentence is proposed. Its theoretical rational will be discussed. At the end, the conclusion will be drawn from preceding discussions.
B. Critique of Miss Wong’s Teaching Approach
This section introduced Miss Wong’s teaching approach of conditional sentence. Its merit and demerit are also discussed.
a. Introduction of Miss Wong’s Teaching Approach
Theoretically, the approach adopted by Miss Wong belongs to deductive teaching methodology. Generally, a deductive approach starts with the presentation of the rule and is followed by examples in which the rule is applied (Neuopane, 2009). Practically, Miss Wong used the Presentation-Practice-Production (3P) deductive teaching method. The 3P teaching method is a traditional grammar teaching method. A lesson of 3P method starts with ‘explicit instruction’ and then move on to ‘output-based instruction’ in conjunction with ‘feedback’ (Ellis, 1999). Through this approach, students will firstly learn the grammar rules of four types of conditional sentences. Secondly, students will do some practice on conditional sentences. Lastly, students refine their learning outcome based on their practice results.
b. Merit of Miss Wong’s Approach
In mainland China, an English teacher needs to teach more than fifty students in one class. It is almost impossible for a teacher to receive and respond to every student’s feedback during the lesson. To save time and increase the efficiency, most English teachers in mainland prefer to use the traditional Presentation-Practice-Production teaching method. In deductive teaching approach, knowledge is taught directly and practice is strictly targeted to that knowledge. The deductive approach can be more effective than the inductive approach if students can understand the knowledge through theoretical explanation. However, as the difficulty increases, the deductive method becomes less effective.
c. Demerit of Miss Wong’s Approach
The complexity in conditional sentence is very high, so the deductive method is not as useful as it usually is. Theoretical explanation itself is not enough for students to master this grammar. Even though students can distinguish the differences between four types of conditional sentence, it is very hard for them to apply those grammar rules. Because deductive teaching approach is a teacher-oriented deductive teaching approach, interaction between teacher and students might not be adequate. In other words, students lack opportunities to communicate with each other in deductive teaching.
Fotos (1998) has already pointed out that “the strong version of form-focused instruction, where learners are only exposed to a target grammatical form through modified communicative input, is not, by itself, suitable for the EFL situation.” In the angle of 3-Dimensional Grammar Framework proposed by Larsen-Freeman (1991), form, meaning and use are the three dimensions which shall be connected closely in English...