Grammar instruction in the foreign language classroom:
The importance of context, approach
and individual learner variables
State University of Applied Sciences, Konin, Poland
Adam Mickiewicz University, Kalisz, Poland
Although the role of grammar teaching has been a controversial issue for a long time, there is now a consensus that such pedagogical intervention is facilitative and even necessary in some contexts (cf. Ellis, 2008; Loewen, 2016; Nassaji & Fotos, 2011; Pawlak, 2014). However, for such benefits to accrue, it is necessary to choose the most appropriate instructional techniques and procedures, such that do not only lead to the development of conscious, explicit knowledge of relevant rules, but also promote the automatization of these rules so that they can be applied in real time in the course of spontaneous communication. At the same time. it is important to keep in mind that the effects of such instruction are mediated by a wide range of factors, which can be individual, contextual and linguistic in nature, and which determine the extent of learner engagement (cf. Pawlak, 2017), collectively translating into learning outcomes. Taking these issues into consideration, the present paper is intended to offer a set of principles for effective grammar instruction in the foreign language classroom, ranging from the choice of the syllabus, the design of grammar-based classes and the selection of the techniques used for introducing and practicing grammar structures.
Mirosław Pawlak is Professor of English in the English Department, Faculty of Pedagogy and Fine Arts of Adam Mickiewicz University, Kalisz, Poland, and Department of Research on Language Learning and Teaching, Faculty of Philology, State University of Applied Sciences, Konin, Poland. His main areas of interest are SLA theory and research, form-focused instruction, corrective feedback, pronunciation teaching, classroom discourse, learner autonomy, communication and learning strategies, grammar learning strategies, motivationand willingness to communicate. His recent publications include Error correction in the foreign language classroom. Reconsidering the issues (2015, Springer), Willingness to communicate in instructed second language acquisition: Combining a Macro- and Micro-Perspective (with Anna Mystkowska-Wiertelak, 2017, Multilingual Matters), and several edited collections on learner autonomy, language policies of the Council of Europe, form-focused instruction, speaking in a foreign language, classroom-oriented research and individual learner differences. He is editor of the journals Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching and Konin Language Studies, as well as the book series Second Language Learning and Teaching, published by Springer.