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September 22, 2015

Reflection Journal #2: Teaching Grammar


I thought these two readings were very interesting in their approach to teaching grammar
and vocabulary because of how much language teachers today seem to teach it in the traditional
way which turns out to be the least effective way. I especially liked the excerpt of chapter two on
Introducing Grammar and Vocabulary because of how engaging and understandable it is as it
lays out the most important and effective ways to teach. One of the key elements of effective
grammar instruction is to teach it while using the target language. It is so so important for
students to hear the language from their teacher and to hear it A LOT. This whole idea very
strongly reminds me of my high school French teacher at Ridgeview. She spoke in French almost
the entire class period, even in our French 1 class. She also had the rule that we had to talk in
French as well; no English was allowed. Granted, she was a bit more lenient on the French 1
class, but that was the standard. All of that input (and the repetition of that input) really helped us
to see how the language was supposed to be spoken, and we learned ways to say conversational
things without completely knowing exactly what they were grammatically, but at the same time,
we knew what they meant in context and when it was appropriate to use them. Reading this
chapter also made me think of the French class that I am in this semester for my practicum. Ive
been noticing that the teacher hardly speaks any French all class period, only a couple sentences,
maybe, to describe something and the occasional conversational word (like merci, du rien, sil
vous plat, etc.). When I have my own class, I definitely want to use French at least the majority
of the class period.
I also really liked how it was pointed out that people remember things that are memorable
and that teachers need to make their grammar lessons memorable for students to better acquire
the target language. There needs to be that connection to the real world as well. That context will

make it more meaningful and memorable as students actually use the grammar structures and
vocabulary that they learn in real-world contexts. Grammar lessons are typically thought of as
boring, but this does not have to be the case. This is really the best way to teach grammar: in a
way that is fun and memorable and authentic. I really like the examples of the different kinds of
input that were listed, such as personal/made-up stories, comic strips, a familiar childrens story,
and songs, and how a teacher can use them to introduce certain grammar structures and
vocabulary. I cant remember if my teacher ever explicitly did this in our classes or not and I
have never seen a teacher do this in any of my classes for my education courses. However, I
would definitely like to try using them in this way to better engage my students and introduce
grammar and vocabulary to them in a more memorable way.