1. Critical Response
Probably the most common association that language teachers and their
students make with the word “grammar” is the word “rule”. When we mentioned about
grammar, some people will automatically relate that “grammar” word to the rules,
something to confuse about, or a burdensome. This is the perspective that people
have towards the learning of grammar especially for those who English are not their
first language. For them, learning grammar is a burdensome. For our Malaysian
primary school, most pupils also have that kind of perspective towards learning
grammar. This is because English is our second language. In order to help the pupils
to do well in English language, the KSSR syllabus had been introduced. In this new
syllabus, they focus more on the communicative language teaching. It emphasizes
on the communication among the learners where fluency is focused but accuracy is
also take into account. The question is how this communicative language teaching
can help our primary pupils to communicate well because English is our second
language. So, in order to teach grammar, there are a few approaches had been
introduced to help the teachers to teach grammar successfully. However, are these
approaches can help our pupils to learn grammar and at the same time can
communicate well in this second language?
In order to help our primary pupils, the suitable approach must be chose. As
been explained above about the communicative language teaching, the most suitable
approach is the teaching grammar in context. This is because learning grammar in
context will allow learners to see how rules can be used in sentences. “Language is
context – sensitive. This means that, in the absence of context, it is very difficult to
recover the intended meaning of a single word or phrase” (Thonbury, 1999,p.69).
This is explains why the teaching in context is useful especially for our primary pupils.
When teacher uses this approach, the pupils can actually know the rules of the
sentences. “The teacher’s chief task when teaching grammar is to show the students
what the language means and how it is used; and must show them what the
grammatical form of the new language is and how it is said and written” (Harmer,
1991, p.56). Through this, pupils will understand better on how the language is works
and this will also improve their communicative skills. Hence, through this approach,
the learners not only success in understand the grammar but they also manage to
communicate well. This approach can be applied to teach our primary pupils
especially when the KSSR syllabus uses the communicative language teaching.
2. Through this, the pupils will slowly develop their comprehension of grammar rules
and when they already understand the grammar, they can have fluently
communicative skills and at the same time the accuracy is also correct. Byrd states
when grammar is studied as arising from the context, then a variety of forms emerge
as essential to the expression of particular meanings in particular kind of discourse
contexts (Byrd, 1998).
When we learn grammar, we cannot avoid the errors happen whether in
written or spoken language. Plus, for us who English is our second language.
However do we have to correct the pupils’ errors in learning this second language?
At some point in the learning process, error correction is definitely needed. However,
it is will be complicated because we need to define the individual factors of our pupils.
These factors are the crucial information and it can gives effect to the pupils
especially our primary pupils. This is due to the fact that English language is our
second language and they have to learn it. So, this will make them feel it as burden
for them. The factors are learners’ age, aptitude, proficiency level, motivation,
anxiety, learning styles and previous achievement. However, some theories in
Second Language Acquisition deny the role of error correction. The Morpheme
Studies and Krashen’s Natural Order Hypothesis account that we acquire the rules of
language in a predictable way and this is independent of the order in which rules is
taught in language classes (Krashen 1982, Brown 1973, Dulay and Burt 1973, 1974;
Bailey et al. 1974). This is the important aspect should be taken into account when
there are some teachers who are keep correcting the pupils errors but no successful
result. Not only that, Walker (1973) in his study, he found that pupils actually
preferred not to be corrected for each speaking and writing error because this
practice undermined their confidence and forced them to waste too much effort on
details that they used to lose the overall ability to use language. This is show that, by
keep correcting them, it will make the pupils to lost their confidence and afraid to
speak because they need to deal with grammar, pronunciation and others.
A very useful, practical and effective way of correction is the use of inductive
method. Inductive method is also known as discovery method. Teacher asks the
pupils to do self – correction. This automatically will expand their cognitive thinking
skills because the mental effort involved. Pupils will actively join the teaching and
learning session. However, this approach is more suitable to apply for secondary
3. pupils. This is because, for the primary pupils, they really need teacher’s guidance in
order to have the correction.
In short, the right choice of approaches can help our primary pupils to perform
better in English especially in learning grammar. To establish an effective
communication, learners need grammar skills. Therefore, without grammar, the
speech gets meaningless. Teacher is also need to pay attention on the learners’
background, ability, proficiency level, their learning styles and others. It is very helpful
in order to choose the right approach to teach the pupils especially for the second
“The chief usefulness of grammar is that it provides a convenient and, indeed,
as English is taught today, an almost indispensable set of terms to use in talking
about Language (Tabbert, 1984, p.40)