According to the famous linguist and researcher Krashen, the formal study of a language (i.e. grammar) can be beneficial. This means that it is in schools and universities’ interest to include grammar learning in their foreign language teaching programmes. It’s important to clarify, however, that studying the complexities of language and the formulation of its rules and exceptions don’t produce proficiency in it. Instead, it is just an “appreciation” of the language, or simply, its linguistics, that is achieved.
The only situation where teaching grammar can help language learners to improve their spoken proficiency is when the following two conditions occur:
1. Students are interested in studying grammar
2. In the classroom the teacher speaks only in the foreign language being taught
When this happens, both teachers and students believe that the formal study of grammar is essential to improving spoken proficiency in the foreign language. In addition to this, the teacher is able to make their explanations in the foreign language understood by the students.
This is an interesting part of this field of study. Effectively, both teacher and students could be fooled into believing that the metalinguistic knowledge gained by studying grammar is the reason why the students’ proficiency improves, WHEN IN FACT IMPROVEMENT COMES FROM THE ACT OF COMMUNICATING, NOT THE CONTENT OF THE MESSAGE COMMUNICATED. Any topic that captures a student’s interest, if taught within their level of language ability, will produce the same result. If in addition to intellectual interest, there is also development on a psychological and emotional level, then the results will be even better.
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