What role does grammar play for learning or consolidating a foreign language?
Many people remember their language classes during school days as boring lessons cramming up grammar & vocabulary, while speaking & interactive learning as well as intercultural information about the country & their people were not part of it.
Of course, we must not forget that the Internet & smartphones as well as our more & more digitalised world are actually a very young phenomenon.
Therefore, many of our learners are pleasantly surprised when they find out that today the Grammar Method is out, but that modern language teaching implies the Communicative Approach, in which the ability to communicate in a foreign context or with foreign colleagues clearly has priority over grammar. This method was developed in the 1990s because linguists became aware that for a good command of any language you need the four language skills – reading, writing, speaking & listening – plus grammar. And they created the so-called Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR), which defines levels A1 –C2 in terms of the four skills plus grammar.
But the fascinating aspect of the Communicative Approach is that learners get used to the 4 skills of the target language from the beginning, i.e. even at level A1 they start speaking & listening to short dialogues to familiarise themselves with the new phonetics, spelling & vocabulary. Only then grammar is introduced by defining the grammar rules in those dialogues & by practicing them with many interactive exercises. And instead of learning words by heart without any context, vocabulary is always introduced in the context of a topic & is therefore much easier to remember.
Therefore – in contrast to the pure Grammar Method which insists on producing correct sentences – when we practice speaking on level A1-B1 our learners are allowed a grammatically incorrect form of communication as long as they bring the message across. They only have to make sure that they are understood & get what they want or need. Surprisingly, most of the time, this type of communication succeeds, since everyone tries to understand &, if necessary, to help each other.
However, the role of grammar becomes much more important at the higher language levels as fluent & correct communication is only possible when mastering the grammar rules. And for the various telc-tests you needfor your job and/or studies, you will have to learn & practice the correct use of grammar rules.
Conclusion: To actually master a foreign language, all 4 skills plus grammar are essential!
Although Corona confronts us with many changes & problems, we still live in a globalized world with English as the lingua franca, i.e. English is & remains the most widely used language!
Even if we currently notice a certain reluctance among our language students to learn online – which is not surprising given the many digital challenges at present- we want you to know that our list of Online English SMARTys offers you a very fast & effective way to improve your Business English skills in only 3 weeks with 90 minutes online-learning each.
You can either choose our Basic Grammar SMARTy to refresh the basic grammar rules and/or you opt for the Advanced Grammar SMARTy, to revise the more complicated grammar points. In any case, we promise that after our Grammar SMARTys you will be able to express yourself more correctly & professionally than before.
And we promise that during this playful & interactive grammar revision you will not be reminded of your school days!