The main point in teaching grammar should be to lead students to discover, avoid too much terminology, and, most importantly, contextualize.
Within this framework, Ri Willoughby did a good session on how we could ‘Uncover Grammar’ as suggested by Scott Thornbury, and how we could practice dictogloss in language classrooms.
We learned that it would beneficial for learners to fill with grammar in a dialogue made up only of words as in the case of the following one:
A: Black? Sugar?
B: Black. No sugar.
It is obvious that this would help students to discover grammar, and they would do it in co-operation with their friends, which means there would be a lot of interaction in class.
We also learned that dictogloss, a form of dictation, is another possibility to enrich grammar lessons. For this, teachers read a text out to students and tell them to take notes of major words that contain the real message of the text. Then students are asked to work together and try to construct the whole text guided by their notes. This technique differs from the traditional dictation in the way that teachers read the text at a normal speed, and students are responsible for their own learning. So, it is very effective because it encourages learners to develop note-taking strategies and autonomy.
As is seen, the focus in both techniques is on students’ participation and interaction. This means that they will find lessons more useful and interesting as they will not be passive learners.
Are they not worth a try?