Task-based Grammar Teaching
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Task based grammar teaching bridging the gap between rules and usage yan wang

Task-based Grammar Teaching

– bridging the gap between rules and usage

Yan Wang

Chinese Department G

Defense Language Institute


Teaching grammar the gap between rules and usage

Yan Wang (2006): A study of two groups of students’ acquisition of “ Ba” structure clearly shows the gap between students’ mastery of rules and the actual language use.

Participants: 12 native speakers of English learning Chinese at DLI.

5 native speakers of Chinese at DLI

Length of Studying Chinese at DLI: 11 months

(studied Ba-construction 5 months ago)

Research Instrument:

Speaking Task (Use pictures as a cue to explain the process of making

turkey during Thanksgiving)

Grammaticality Judgment Test (22 items)

Process:

Individual interview --- recording – grammaticality judgment test – data

analysis – findings

Teaching Grammar: The Gap Between Rules and Usage


Teaching grammar the gap between rules and usage1

Group 1 produced 6.6 Ba-sentences on average.

Group 2 produced 3.8 Ba - sentences on average .

Native Speaker Group produced 8.8 Ba-sentences on average .

Some student participants used more than 8 Ba-sentences in total, and their use of the Ba-construction is very much native-like.

Group 1 outperformed Group 2.

The grammaticality judgment test shows that most of the non-native participant were able to identify the types of Ba-construction errors in the test.

Some participants did very well in the grammaticality judgment test did not use any Ba-constructions in their language output.

Teaching Grammar: the Gap between Rules and Usage


How should grammar be taught

Krasen: Comprehensible Input Hypothesis

Swain: Comprehensible Output Hypothesis

Schmidt: Language features are acquired on the condition that they were

noticed.

Spada (1990): Communicative classes are superior to both the traditional curricular focusing on grammar translation and the immersion type of curricular that excludes explicit grammar instruction.

Wudong Wu (1994): Acquisition takes place only when learners are provided with both formal grammar instruction and opportunities to activate knowledge through output activities.

How Should Grammar Be Taught?


A task based approach to grammar teaching

Tasks

engage learners in communicating in target language

combine meaning-based use of target language with study of grammar form

contextualize the grammar rules students have learnt

provide student plenty of opportunities to use the language

spontaneously apply the rules through negotiation in the target language

notice the gap between their production and the target norm

A Task-based Approach to Grammar Teaching


Challenges in teaching le

What are the challenges in teaching “le”?

It serves a variety of functions:

1) Sentence- 了:

A past action: 昨天我去他家了。

  今天早上我们去锻炼身体了。

Double了: 我开车开了五年了。

         这本书我看了三天了。

Change of situation: 天气暖和了。

 我看得懂中文报纸了。

Deviating from a particular standard: 菜做咸了。

 这件衣服肥了,再瘦点儿就好了。

Fixed expressions: 我太高兴了。

 香山秋天的风景可美了。

  别等了,咱们先走吧。

  不要再说了。

Challenges in Teaching “Le”


Challenges in teaching le1

It serves a variety of functions:

2) Verb- 了:

Verb +了 + a nominal specific in reference (那本书/你喜欢看的书 )

我们参观了一家独资企业的工厂。

看了他的信,我伤心得流下泪来。

Verb +了 + complement

我在北京住了一年。

为了买电冰箱,我跑了三趟超市。

Verb1 +了 + Verb2

我放了家就回老家。

我吃了饭就到海边去散步。

(白晓红、赵卫,2007)

Challenges in Teaching “Le”


Challenges in teaching le2

There are often exceptions to the rules:

A habitual action in the past ( no了): 我以前住在北京。

Before direct quotation ( no了): 他上次开会说 “ 我们的目标还没有达到”。

In a sentence with a serials of actions ( no了): 昨天上午我们去商店买东西了。

Clausal level VS. discourse level:

昨天早上我起床以后吃早饭*了。然后去图书馆*了。走进图书馆就去找书*了。找到要借的书,就到柜台借*了。我问柜台的小姐可以借几天,她说可以借一个星期。办完手续后我就回宿舍了。

(白晓红、赵卫,2007)

Challenges in Teaching “Le”


Task design in teaching le

Step 1: Analyze the grammar feature, identifying the challenges in teaching this particular grammar feature

Step 2: Decide the proper sequence in teaching different functions of “ le”

Step 3: Teach the different functions one at a time

Step 4: Presentation --- explain rules – tasks to create a communicative situation with a focus on the grammar feature

Step 5: Identify the scenarios in real-life communication in which a particular function

of 了 is frequently used: Talk about what you did and what you didn’t do (Sentence了)

Look at a person’s pictures taken 10 years ago and now to

talk about differences. (change of situation 了)

Step 6: Select pictures and video clips for task design

Task Design in Teaching “le”


Info gap exercise 1 a grammar past action time complement

问问你的同学昨天有没有做以下事情。要是做 了,问问他/她 做了多长时间。请写下

你同学回答的内容,然后报告。

Info-Gap Exercise 练习1 A Grammar: Past Action& 了+ time complement


Info gap exercise 1 b grammar past action time complement

问问你的同学昨天有没有做以下事情。要是做 了,问问他/她 做了多长时间。请写下你同学回答的内容,然后报告。

Info-Gap Exercise 练习1 BGrammar: Past Action & 了+ time complement


Info gap exercise 2 a grammar past action time complement

Info-Gap Exercise 练习2 AGrammar: Past Action& 了+ time complement

问问你的同学昨天有没有做以下事情。要是做 了,问问他/她 做了多长时间。请

写下你同学回答的内容,然后报告。


Info gap exercise 2 b grammar past action time complement

Info-Gap Exercise 练习一2 BGrammar: Past Action& 了+ time complement

根据以下信息回答你同学的问题。


Info gap exercise 3 a grammar verb complement

Info-Gap Exercise 练习3 AGrammar: Verb-了+ complement

问问你的同学昨天有没有做以下事情。要是做 了,问问他/她 做了多少。请写下你

的同学回答的内容。


Info gap exercise 3 b grammar verb complement

Info-Gap Exercise 练习3 B Grammar: Verb-了+ complement

根据以下信息回答你的同学的问题。


Interview 4 grammar double

Interview 练习4Grammar: double 了

问问你的同学会不会做以下事情,做了多长时间了。请写下你的同学回答的内

容,然后报告。


True false 5 grammar past action negation of

True/False 练习5Grammar: past action & negation of了

( David Nunan) http://www.camtesol.org/2008conference/Document/David%20Nunan%2008.ppt


Tell a story what happened to him 6 grammar in discourse

Tell a Story: What happened to him? 练习6Grammar:了in discourse

( Lixia Ma, 2006) http://etd.lib.uiowa.edu/2006/lma.pdf


Challenges in teaching ba

What are the challenges in teaching “Ba”?

There is no equivalent structure in English.

The structure itself is complex: Subject +(把 object) + (verb + x)

他 把 钱 放 进 钱夹 里 了。

He ba money put into wallet inside le.

Many Basentences also have non-ba versions.

把门关上。

关上门。

Challenges in Teaching “Ba”


Task design in teaching ba

Step 1: Analyze the grammar feature, identifying the challenges in teaching this particular grammar feature

Step 2: Focus on the teaching of situations where the Ba-construction is obligatory

(1) when the verb is followed by a locative complement, indicating the relocation of a thing or a person as a result of the disposal action.

把 火鸡 放 在 一个 烤盘 里。 *放火鸡在一个烤盘里。

Ba turkey place at one baking pan inside

(2) when the verb is followed by a complement expression describing the transformation of

the object via the disposal verb.

把 火鸡 切 成 片。 * 切火鸡成片。

Ba turkey cut into slices

(3) Ba-pattern is compulsory when the verb is followed by a complement expression which

contains an indirect object, representing the recipient of something or someone, through

the disposal action.

把 切好的 火鸡 给 客人 吃。 * 给客人切好的火鸡吃。

Ba that is cut turkey to guests eat

Step 3: Identify the scenarios in real-life situations in which the above mentioned structures are frequently used

(Hung-nin Samuel Cheung, 1999)

Task Design in Teaching “Ba”


Total physical response

把钱包放在桌子上

Total Physical Response

把桌子上的书拿起来。

把你的字典拿给我用一下。

把这张桌子从这儿搬到那儿去。

把小朱坐的椅子搬到教室外边去。

班长,你能不能过来把电脑放在桌子上?


Perform and describe

他从教室外边走进来(walk into),手里拿着一个书包。他把书包放到桌子

下边去(put under the desk),从书包里拿出来(take out)一个手机,看了看,

又把手机放到书包里去(put back into the bag)。他把书包从地上拿起来(pick up),

很快地跑出教室去(run out of the classroom)。

Perform and Describe


Describe how to prepare a turkey

Describe: How to Prepare a Turkey

2

1

4

5

3

7

6

8


Write subtitles for a movie

Write Subtitles for a Movie

他把鱼从水缸里捞出来,洗干净,把鱼鳞去掉,放在砧板上。他把鱼切成片,把面粉洒在鱼片上,然后把鱼放在锅里炸了炸。

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zs5WiddD7i0&feature=related


Challenges in teaching zh e

着is used to describe the state in which an object is found at a certain place:

Place + Verb -着 + X vs. Place + 有 + X

墙上挂着一张画儿。 ( more descriptive and vivid in its narrative effect)

墙上有一张画儿。( less descriptive )

Students tend to use Place + 有 + X instead of Place + Verb -着

(Hung-nin Samuel Cheung, 1999)

Challenges in Teaching “Zhe”


Draw a picture

Draw a Picture

这个房间左边放着一张大床。床上

铺着红色的床单。房间里有一个大

窗户,窗户上挂着蓝色的窗帘。窗

户的右边放着一个电视柜,电视柜

上摆了一些花。电视柜旁边的墙上

挂着两幅画。房间右边的浴盆上搭

着一条大毛巾。

这个房间的左边放着两张床。

床上放着一个枕头。两张床

中间摆着一个床头柜,床头

柜的上边放着一盏台灯。天

花板上挂着一个电风扇。窗

户关着,窗户上挂着窗帘。


Information gap

Information gap

( David Nunan) http://www.camtesol.org/2008conference/Document/David%20Nunan%2008.ppt


Information gap cont

Information gap (cont.)

( David Nunan) http://www.camtesol.org/2008conference/Document/David%20Nunan%2008.ppt


Reference

Reference:

Cohen, A. (1997) Developing pragmatic ability: Insights from the accelerated study of Japanese. In H. Cook Hijrida and M. Tahara (eds) New Trends and Issues in Teaching Japanese Language and Culture (Technical Report no.5 15, pp.133-159). Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai’I, Second Language Teaching and Curriculum Center.

Hung-nin Samuel Cheung in collaboration with Sze-yun Liu and Li-lin Shih (1999) A Practical Chinese Grammar. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press.

Kroll, J., Michael, E, Tokowicz, and Dufour, R (2002) The Development of Lexical fluency in a second language. Second Language Research 18 (2), 137-71.

Lester Loschky and Robert Bley-Vroman (1993) Grammar and Task-based Methodology In Graham Crookes and Susan M Gass (eds) Tasks and Language Learning (pp.123-163). Bristol, UK: The Longdunn Press.

白晓红、赵卫:<< 汉语虚词15讲 >>,北京语言大学出版社,2007。

PowerPoint slides by David Nunan retrieved on March 20 from http://www.camtesol.org/2008conference/Document/David%20Nunan%2008.ppt

Paper by Lixia Ma retrieved on March 20 from http://etd.lib.uiowa.edu/2006/lma.pdf

Reference


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