Teaching and Learning Language: Grammar and Vocabulary

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Teaching and Learning Language: Grammar and Vocabulary

This essay will focus on the subject of learning and teaching languages. More specifically it will deal with two different, but intrinsically related topics. The first topic investigates the deductive and the inductive approaches to teaching grammar, and the positive and negative aspects of them both. The deductive approach is the more teacher-centered approach, where the teacher explains rules and so forth to the students, while the inductive approach is more learner-centered and encourages the student to guess rules instead of being told by the teacher. The second topic examines how vocabulary can be taught and learned differently from the much used word list method, or glosmetoden. This method concentrates on a list of target vocabulary that the student is supposed to learn: English on one side, and Swedish on the other side.
A large vocabulary is essential to proficiency in any language (Lundahl, 2012, p. 334), and the question is what the most efficient way of learning vocabulary is. There are many faults with the wordlist method which makes it an insufficient way of acquiring new vocabulary: the vocabulary items are treated in an isolated manner, often without much context. It is not really worthy of being called a method, since the method to learn the vocabulary is really up to the learner him/herself. It basically relies on the rote learning technique, memorization through repetition. As a language myself, I have tried different methods to learn new vocabulary, and what I have found to be the best for me personally has been learning through massive comprehensible input. It not only is the easiest way of learning, but ensures a good feel for the language. Learning in ...

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...ally want to learn. For grammar, we have seen that inductive approach should be the approach most used in the classroom; focusing on the communicative content rather than form is far more motivating than the more teacher-oriented deductive approach, even though in some cases the deductive approach is called for. In vocabulary learning, there are far superior methods of learning than the word list method; concentrating on the content rather than explicitly on certain words often is better, and finding different methods for learning, that suits the needs of the student, is essential.

Brown, H.D. (2007) Teaching by Principles. An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy. New York: Pearson Longman.
Lundahl, B. (2012) Engelsk språkdidaktik. Lund: Studentlitteratur.
Nunan, D. (1998) Teaching grammar in context. ELT Journal, vol 52/2. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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