Linking grammar to CLB-based materials: theory to practice

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  • Second language acquisition research has well established that learners require input, interaction and focus on form during communicative language lessons (Ellis, 2012; Spada & Lightbown, 2008). The question now is no longer if form-focused instruction should be included but where and how the inclusion is most effective in integrating grammar instruction within task-based lessons (Spada & Lightbown, 2008). In order to explore this issue, a set of task-based materials (Canadian Snapshots, Raising Issues) based on the Canadian Language Benchmarks were systematically analyzed in three categories: pedagogical language rules, type of production and use of contextual supports. The results showed accurate grammatical explanations and meta-language were consistently provided. However, explanations do not always indicate when or when not to use a grammatical item; there was a lack of more open-ended grammar practice activities, and grammar was more often contextualized within the topics of the tasks than adequately integrated with language learning tasks. Based on these results, it appears that a discrepancy exists between current grammar teaching theories and the types of grammar focus and practice exercises in this particular ESL textbook. Implications for classroom instruction are discussed.

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    Research Material
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    Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International