Using Texts to Teach Grammar Aspects

(Posting on using texts to teach grammar; by one NEB)

The con-text of grammar is the text (Adapted from Agustien 2015). I use texts to teach many grammar aspects to my TOEFL(R) students. As they analyze the said grammar aspects—understanding how they work and how they can potentially be tested the multiple choice (MC) and error recognition (ER) ways, they slowly comprehend the texts as well. Texts are also much later read in such a way that they represent the short talk of the listening section. Teaching the TOEFL(R) couldn’t get any better than this. Call it integrated TOEFL(R) teaching; dub it ‘sambil menyelam minum air dan makan ikan’; name it ‘sekali merangkuh dayung, dua tiga pulau terlampaui’. Imagine the students having the following text section taken from

“The point of departure that David C. S. Li uses to argue the idea as suggested by the title above is the fact that English is now a global language shared by people all over the world, the existence of which—by definition—can no longer be rendered to any one nation or group claiming it to be their native language. Citing McArthur (1992), Li writes, “…English is the possession of every individual or every community that in any way uses it, regardless of what any other individual or community may think or feel about the matter” (p. 1). Li presents some logical reasons for making such a bold proposition, three of which follow.”

Equipped with the knowledge of S P O, combination of S P O’s, important parts of speech (Noun, Verb, and Adjective—and Adverb), and building blocks of English covering Word, Phrase, and Clause, the students practice on analyzing all the grammar aspects involved and predicting how they can potentially be tested: What is The point of departure? What is its role? How does it function? How can it be tested the MC and ER ways? What is that? What is that David C. S. Li uses to argue the idea as suggested by the title above? What is its function? Can it be reduced? How can it be tested? And so the learning continues in this fashion; at the same time, the students comprehend the text along the way. The same text is later on read to represent the short talk of the listening section—with the students answering the comprehension questions the teacher has beforehand provided.

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