Chapter 1 Introduction
1.1 Research Background
It goes without saying that grammar plays an important role in language learningand is the key to language acquisition and use.Ur(1988:4)emphasizes that“there isno doubt that a knowledge of grammatical rules is essential for the mastery of alanguage:you cannot use words unless you know how they should be put together”.In fact,grammar is so essential that the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar(SPOGG)and MSN Encarta even created a day for both students and native speakersnamed National Grammar Day.The NGD website says that if we don’t respect andhonor the rules of English,we lose our ability to communicate clearly and well.InChina,the content requirements for knowledge of English grammar in high school arespecifically explained in National English Curriculum Standards(shorted as NECS,2017 edition,2020 revised).The NECS clearly states that grammar is an importantpart of language knowledge.To be specific,it emphasizes that in the use of language,the knowledge of grammar is closely related to the knowledge of phonology,vocabulary,discourse and pragmatics,which directly affects the accuracy andappropriateness of language understanding and expression.All of these show theimportance of grammar in language acquisition and therefore it should be well treatedby learners and educators.
Teachers need to pay more attention to the instruction of English grammar in the teaching process to improve students’effective learning of English grammar.The newcurriculum promotes a three-dimensional dynamic grammatical approach of languageuse that is“form-meaning-use”focused.It emphasizes the importance for teachers toadopt and design various types of learning and practice activities based on students’actual needs.At the same time,they should also organically combine language withits meaning and communicative function in a variety of teaching activities.In thisway,students can better internalize language principles in their language use,whichcan finally help them appropriately apply their language knowledge incommunication.
1.2 Purpose and Significance of the Research
Based on the analysis of the current situation of grammar teaching in senior highschools,the present study attempts to apply“production-oriented approach”inEnglish grammar teaching in senior high school to explore whether the new teachingmethod can have positive effects on learner’s grammatical performance and attitudesas well as teachers’role in classroom teaching.The research significance can beillustrated from two aspects.
As for the theoretical significance,many researchers have applied POA inEnglish listening,speaking,reading,writing and overall teaching.But there are fewdiscussions and studies about how the POA could be combined to grammar teaching.Also,most studies focus on the application of POA on learners in colleges,whileignoring the students in middle schools or high schools.Under these backgrounds,this research endeavors to explore the feasibility and effectiveness of POA in highschool English grammar learning and teaching.During the application of POA,somemodifications are needed because the approach is not always workable andunchangeable for all practice even for a well-designed one.When teachers use thisapproach in teaching,they can improve and innovate the method based on POAaccording to the actual situation of students in high schools.That is to say,the studycan help enrich and develop the model of POA to some extent.The research can alsohelp enrich academic research and create new English grammar teaching modes inhigh schools.
Chapter 2 Literature Review
2.1 A General Review of the Research on Grammar Teaching
2.1.1 Definition of Grammar and Grammar Teaching
Many different understandings and explanations of grammar have been providedin the academia.In general,the definition of grammar can be divided into two maincategories.One category views grammar as a static linguistic rule,emphasizing itsrole in regulating the form and the structure of language.Chomsky(1965)considersgrammar to be a set of rules that govern the formation,use,and comprehension ofsentences,which is also known as syntax.Young(1984)believes that grammar is aset of rules to be followed in the use of language.Harmer’s definition of grammar issimilar to Young’s.He defines grammar as the way words are stung together intosentences,including the transformation of word form and order when combiningsentences(Harmer,1987).Ur(1988:4)states in her book that grammar may beroughly defined as“the way a language manipulates and combines words or bits ofwords in order to form longer units of meaning”.
The other category regards grammar as a dynamic linguistic system andemphasizes the practical use of grammar in communication.For example,Hu(2000)argues that if the purpose of language education includes teaching students to useEnglish correctly,meaningfully,and appropriately,we should view grammar as arational and dynamic system rather than a static system of arbitrary rules.Nunan(2001)thinks that grammar is the study of the syntax,semantics,and pragmatics of alanguage,whose aim is to enable individuals to communicate through language.
2.2 A General Review of the Research on Production-orientedApproach
2.2.1 The Theoretical Support for POA
As a“localized”foreign language teaching approach,POA draws on the researchresults from second language acquisition.Here are some theories that support POA:
1)The Input Hypothesis
Krashen(1982)finds that input plays a decisive role in second language learning.He believes that language acquisition is based on sufficient input.For learners,theinput is meaningful and also comprehensive.Krashen uses“i+1”to explain thecomprehensive input.“i”refers to the learners’current learning level or languageability,while the language level suitable for learners’input should be“i+1”.That is,they should input small amount of language knowledge slightly higher than thelearning level.Only in this way can learners acquire new knowledge.
In the teaching process of POA,students realize the difficulty after they finishthe output task for the first time.Then,teachers should provide comprehensive inputwith sufficient difficulty of“i+1”according to the specific situation of students to facilitate the generation of learning.Therefore,this stage puts higher demands onteachers.They need to prepare their lessons well before class and carefully select theenough appropriate input materials that serve the output task.But after students arefamiliar with the teaching concept,teaching hypothesis and teaching process of POA,teachers should encourage them to find suitable materials by themselves tosupplement the materials in the textbook or ask them to find entirely new input ontheir own(Wen,2015).
Chapter 3 Methodology................................21
3.1 Research Questions..............................21
3.2 Research Participants....................................21
Chapter 4 Results and Discussion...............................35
4.1 Results and Discussion of Tests......................................35
4.1.1 Results and Discussion of Pre-test..................................35
4.1.2 Results and Discussion of Post-test.................................37
Chapter 5 Conclusion........................................58
5.1 Major Findings.............................................58
5.2 Pedagogical Implications.............................60
Chapter 4 Results and Discussion
4.1 Results and Discussion of Tests
To investigate the English grammatical performance of the students in EC andCC before and after the experiment and to compare and analyze the differences andchanges between these two classes during the whole process of grammar teaching inthis research,the pre-test and post-test were adopted.In this part,the author usedExcel and SPSS to analyze the results of the tests.
4.1.1 Results and Discussion of Pre-test
The pre-test was carried out in both classes at the beginning of the experiment.The results of the test can be used to assess the students’current grammaticalperformance and to identify that whether there was significant difference in the scoresof students between the two classes before the experiment.Furthermore,the results ofthis test would be used to compare with the post-test scores of students in EC and CCin the end of the experiment for the purpose of exploring the effectiveness of POA ingrammar instruction.The results and analysis of pre-test are as follows.
Chapter 5 Conclusion
5.1 Major Findings
The purpose of this research was to verify the feasibility of“production-orientedapproach”in English grammar teaching in senior high school,explore the impact ofPOA-based grammar instruction on students’English grammatical performance,theirattitudes and motivation in English grammar learning as well as the transformation ofthe teacher’s role in this new teaching method.Based on the results and analysis,themajor findings are going to be elaborated from the following aspects.
First and foremost,POA was effective to improve senior high school students’English grammatical performance.According to the results of pre-test,there was nosignificant difference found in English grammatical performance between thestudents in POA class and traditional teaching class at the beginning of theexperiment.However,with the implementation of the new grammar teaching model,significant difference was found at the end of the experiment.Based on the authorand the teachers’classroom observations,it could be found that students who studiedin the POA grammar class performed better in output tasks after the experiment.Therefore,these results indicated that the POA-based grammar teaching method wasconductive to the improvement of students’English grammatical performance insenior high school.This new teaching method was more effective than the traditionalgrammar teaching method.
Second,POA had positive effects on senior high school students’grammarlearning attitudes and motivation.At the beginning of the experiment,there were nosignificant differences found in students’grammar learning attitudes and motivation between the students of POA class and traditional teaching class.According to theresults in the questionnaires,classroom observations and interviews,it was found thatbefore the experiment,the majority of students in both classes showed a relative lowlevel of confidence in grammar learning and they were not very excited and active inthe whole class even though they were aware of the importance of grammar learning.