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Different ways of studying grammar sub-skills
Author: Suyunova Maftuna Dustkabilovna, the student of the Uzbek State University of World Languages
Scientific advisor: Abduvahabova Mahina
Everyone has their own way of learning vocabulary. For some people random word lists will seem to be the most appropriate, usually with a translation into the mother tongue. Others will favour some kind of organisation, perhaps organising their vocabulary through topic, word category or word frequency. Some learners will find it effective to use vocabulary exercises in order to acquire new vocabulary, while others will use vocabulary cards and regularly test themselves to check whether new items have been learnt. All of these methods are effective in their own right and will suit different individuals in different ways. What they often do not take account of, however, is the usefulness of the relationships between words themselves within the target language. Exploiting such relationships can be a very effective additional method of organising and storing items of vocabulary and may help learners to learn and remember new items.
Since Stephen Krashen  declared that learning could not become acquisition, explicit grammar instruction has been neglected by many in the West. Recently, scholars such as Rod Ellis have pioneered the counter position that explicit grammatical instruction is not only useful for developing metalinguistic knowledge, but also for aiding acquisition through “noticing” . Noticing is basically the idea that if learners pay attention to both the form and meaning of certain language structures in input, this will contribute to the internalization of the grammatical rule .
Although unable to test this idea of noticing directly, I wondered if there was a difference between successful and non-successful students in the amount of time they spent studying grammar. Apparently, most successful learners claim to spend more time each day listening to English than studying grammar. Therefore, a reasonable inference is that the majority of successful language learners in this study use grammar in a subordinate role; their primary focus is on communication, using English as a tool to receive and send messages.
Accordingly, if the goal is to improve one’s spoken English, we may advise our students to study grammar but not to let the memorization of grammatical rules and such activities dominate one’s English study. Rather, encourage listening and using the target language to be the focus of one’s study. Advise them to study grammar for the following reasons:
1) to make input comprehensible and
2) to develop awareness to help the learner notice the form of input and their own output. This may help them eventually internalize these grammatical rules rather than storing them up in their short-term memories where they will be quickly forgotten.
Finally, learners often reflect on their own output, discussing problems and potential solutions. For various reasons, many scholars agree interaction is an important part of language learning.
As one student responded, if you learn English but cannot speak it fluently, you are like a blind being on the street. You lose many precious opportunities to enjoy the beauty of this world. You are kept inside a dark box. But if you speak [English] well, you will learn about culture, people and life. You feel your life colourful and meaningful.
In conclusion, I confess my knowledge of grammar theory is incomplete and the scope of my study is limited. I am offering no magic formula for language learning. Nevertheless, I suggest many students will improve their English skills if they do the following:
1. Krashen, Stephen. (1981). Second Language Acquisition and Second Language Learning. Pergamon Press. Also available on-line: http://www.sdkrashen.com/SL_Acquisition_and_Learning/index.html
2. Ellis, Rod. (2002). The Place of Grammar Instruction in the Second/Foreign Language Curriculum. In Fotos, Sandra and Eli Hinkel (Eds.), New Perspectives on Grammar Teaching in Second Language Classrooms (pp. 17-34). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
3. Batstone, Rob. (1996). Key Concepts in ELT: Noticing. ELT Journal, Volume 50/3, 8 paragraphs.
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