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Teaching Grammar to Young Learners: Approaches and Tasks Essay

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Updated: May 8th, 2020

Comparison of cognitive and humanistic approaches with respect to their views on the curriculum

The curriculum entails the means and materials with which students interact with as part of educational programs. There are numerous approaches to teaching the curriculum in schools, such as cognitive and humanistic perspectives. According to Ebert and Culyer, the cognitive approach of the curriculum focuses on the acquisition of knowledge, with curricula being typically divided into numerous distinct subject matter areas (183).

In particular, this approach focuses on the knowledge, previous experience, and expectations of a student (Scholl, McGowan, and Hansen n.pag). In contrast, the humanistic perspective focuses on the needs, values, and self-concept/esteem of students.

Ebert and Culyer point out that, humanistic approach “seeks to bring an element of value and meaning of education and to move away from the notion of education as the mere dissemination of information” (156). This perspective is based on the assumption that students’ feelings influence their learning beliefs.

In schools that embrace a spiral curriculum, the humanistic approach is more effective in teaching students than cognitive perspective. Notably, the spiral curriculum is built “around recurring, ever-deepening inquiries into big ideas and important tasks, helping students to understand in a way that is both effective and developmentally wise” (Wiggins and McTighe 297).

The humanistic perspective use of student’s knowledge, previous experience, and expectations can enable students to understand better the lessons taught in the context of a spiral curriculum than when taught in a cognitive approach. In contrast, the cognitive approach is more effective than a humanistic approach in teaching students in schools that embrace an implicit curriculum.

The implicit curriculum entails lessons that emanate from the school culture as well as the attitudes, behaviors, and expectations of that culture (Ebert and Culyer 183). The success of the cognitive perspective is based on its congruence with the curriculum objectives.

Two tasks for teaching grammar to intermediate level young learners

Task 1: Using Story to Teach Grammar.

First, the teacher should develop the listening skills of students. He/she should read an appealing story to the students. Besides, the story should be added to the class collection, and students are allowed to take it home for further reading. When an interesting story is repeatedly read, it reactivates students’ vocabulary and grammatical patterns (Cameron 175).

This aspect provides students with opportunities to identify aspects of language use, which probably they did not understand in previous readings. Second, the teacher should develop discourse skills such as acting roles and retelling the story. In acting roles, students should act according to the narrative of the story, e.g., wear costumes of characters. In retelling the story, the students should reproduce the whole story, e.g., by using sequential pictures (Fish 306).

Finally, the teacher should embrace focused reading skills, where he/she provides guided prediction during storytelling, such as asking leading questions, e.g., “do you think he likes London?” Further, the meaning of new words should be explained.

Task 2: Using Theme-Based to Teach Grammar.

First, the teacher should introduce new vocabulary items that provide support for understanding and recalling. New vocabulary will definitely be encountered in future readings; hence, it reinforces its meaning (Cameron 191).

Second, teachers should teach through communicative stretching. In particular, they should allow students to break down and recombine language elements to understand the meaning of words and phrases easily. Third, teachers should incorporate discourse skills to teach themes using different aspects. For instance, a teacher can teach themes such as vacations and food (Meskill and Anthony 144).

Besides, teachers should provide students with informational texts on computers and papers. The access to informational text provides students with learning opportunities that go beyond storytelling or narrative (Cameron 194). Finally, the teacher should motivate students to communicate accurately and precisely by involving them in the selection and adaptation of language resources like books, stories, informational texts.

Works Cited

Cameron. Lynne. Teaching Languages to Young Students. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Print.

Ebert, Edward, and Richard Culyer. School: An Introduction to Education. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning, 2013. Print.

Fish, Margaret. Here’s How to Treat Childhood Apraxia of Speech, 2nd Ed. San Diego, CA: Plural Publishing, 2015. Print.

Meskill, Carla, and Natasha Anthony. Teaching Languages Online. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters, 2010. Print.

Scholl, Mark B., A. Scott McGowan, and James T. Hansen. Ed. Humanistic Perspectives on Contemporary Counseling Issues. New York, NY: Routledge, 2013. Print.

Wiggins, Grant P., and Jay McTighe. Understanding by Design. Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2005. Print.

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