Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Language teaching

The Acquisition of the English Past Tense in EFL Classroom: a Comparison of the Effects of Two Teaching Approaches

Author LinHuangZuo
Tutor LiuYaMeng
School Fujian Normal University
Course Subject Teaching
Keywords communicative approach(CA) traditional grammar approach(TGA) communicative games the English past tense
CLC H319
Type Master's thesis
Year 2009
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Nowadays grammar instruction still plays a very important part in secondary EFL classes in China. The traditional way, in which the target grammatical structures are taught, is mostly output-oriented, with a focus on rule explanation from the teachers followed by immediate output practice for students. Communicative Approach (CA) for grammar teaching is a system of teaching methods that takes language functions as the key link to cultivate the students’ communicative ability. This study aims to investigate the comparative effects of CA and TGA, and also to explore the potential for adopting CA in China. To this end, we conducted a series of experiments.The subjects of the experiments were two same-level classes of the first graders from a junior high school in Fuzhou. One class received instructions from traditional grammar approach and the teaching of the other class adopted the communicative approach (using communicative games for grammar teaching). An immediate post-test and a delayed post-test were used as means for assessing the effects of irstruction. All the data gathered were processed by the use of SPSS. The results of Pair-Sample T-Test show that the experimental group did do better than the traditional one in all the comprehension tasks, suggesting better effects of the communicatively based instruction on comprehension. For the production task, the CA group did almost equally well in the blank-filling task, but their performance in the sentence-combining task was not satisfactory, indicating that the effect really has something to do with the difficulty of the tasks. When the production task is difficult, output practice is still necessary for accurate production. Compared with TGA group, CA group made some progress between two post-tests, proving that the effects of CA can persist better beyond the time of the instruction than those of TGA. Therefore, English teachers are advised to use a combination of the two approaches when teaching some difficult and complicated grammar in order to help the students construct grammar rules actively. To a certain extent, however, the results of the experiments remain tentative, and further research is needed for a thorough understanding of the effects of the new approach to grammar instruction.

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