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I am fully agreed with the Brown's (2009) claim where he stated that "grammar instruction is of no use, but grammatical facility is crucial". This is because; I do believe that in teaching and learning grammar, what is important is how grammar helps the students to improve their skills in learning the language. There are several reasons that will support my stand.
On the first place of my reason is using grammar instruction to teach grammar makes students feel demotivated to learn a language. This is because, what the students have to do is to absorb grammar rules as they hear, read, and use the language in communication activities. This approach does not allow students to use one of the major tools they have as learners: their active understanding of what grammar is and how it works in the language they already know. To avoid the feeling of boredom in learning grammar among the students, teachers can change the method of teaching. Instead of ask them to hear the explanation from the teachers; the teachers can use more interesting visual aids. For example, teachers can ask the students to use their creativity to write simple short stories or poems. Teachers then can check whether grammar used is correct or not. This method is believed can increase the anxiety level among the students to learn more about grammar as the students feel that they are given opportunity to express themselves regarding what they know and understand of grammar.
On the second place of my reason to support my stand is there is no proof to support the stand that students will understand the structure of their language by studying its grammar. This is because; the students already have the basic of grammar knowledge naturally. For example, a Malay/English -speaking bilingual preschooler knows enough to ask for the "blue shirt" when he is speaking English and the "baju biru" when she is speaking Malay. With no hard effort and struggling to learn, he can switch the adjective to the other side of a noun without ever having suffered through a formal grammar lesson. Another example is according to a study done by Schuster, (a simple grammar test needed the students to spot active and passive sentences). Schuster administered the test in September and repeated it in the following June. The finding of the study showed that the score only increased by 1 percent and it indicates that the students never learned a sentence type. However, this does not prove that the students cannot speak or write fluently. The students were able to understand and use the language effectively even though they did not master grammar rules. That is because; the students were able to understand on how to use the rules on their own. This is a proof to strengthen my stand which is grammar instruction is of no use but grammatical facility is crucial.
On the third and last place of my reason to support my stand is, learning grammar using grammar instruction does not improve students' spoken and written ability in learning the language. This is because; grammar instruction is taught using memorization only. If the students remember the rules well, so they will be able to use it fluently. But, how about the students who cannot memorize the rules well? How will they implement the used of grammar in their spoken and written language? Are they using it just by following their instinct? The answer is of course, no! The students might not memorize the rules well but they are using it perfectly in their spoken and written language as they understand how to use it. Taken from my grammar class regarding the use of 'wh' words is I believe, can be one of the perfect example to support my stand here. My students are low-intermediate students. The ability to remember the rules of grammar is definitely lower and at the slow rate. So, I make them understand on how to use it. For example, when can they use 'what'. As we know, what is use to ask about things. So, I ask them few questions using the word 'what' and they answer the questions.
What are you doing? (refer to A who is reading a book)
He is reading the book
What is this? (showing to blackboard)
This is a blackboard
What do you use to write?
We use pencil
When my students answer the questions, which means that they can understand the questions perfectly and this means that they are able to understand the use of the rules of the 'wh' words 'what'. This I because, the grammatical facility that I used, (simple questions that relate to the students) helps them to understand the rules better. Imagine if I explained on how to use 'what' using traditional grammar instruction, it definitely will create chaos among my students! That is the reason why I support Brown's claim that grammar instruction is of no use but grammatical facility is crucial.
What kind of changes do you think this will bring about to the teaching and learning of grammar in Malaysian classrooms?
In my opinion, a shift from traditional, prescriptive view of teaching and learning grammar to a broader, descriptive one called by Brown is relevant and feasible in teaching and learning grammar in Malaysian context. This is due to the fact that grammar nowadays is viewed as one of the important part in communication tool. Teachers nowadays are more comfortable of teaching grammar in a way of doing discussion on how grammar can be used in teaching the students to have a better and effective communication skills.
If the teacher still teaching grammar using traditional grammar, I do believe that it will not attracts students' attention in learning it. And when the students are not attracted to learn, teachers will face a big problem.