“To them it’s the key to understanding the language and to using it to communicate.”
For ESL teachers who immerse their students in experiential exercises as part of their implicit instruction methods, the specificity of English grammar can be a challenge.
“English language learners are demanding to know how this works,” says James Dinwiddie, a UCSC Extension instructor and seasoned ESL teacher throughout the greater Bay Area. “To them it’s the key to understanding the language and to using it to communicate.”
In Teaching Grammar Level II, a six-week course that starts this week, Dinwiddie will be focusing on the teaching methods, techniques, activities, and approaches that effectively bring grammatical detail into the classroom.
Dinwiddie has taught grammar at the college level for five years, developed online and hybrid courses, and contributed to the development of IBM’s first online Vocational English Language Training program, Reading Companion. Currently he teaches foreign students attempting academic work in the U.S. and is a professional tutor for the TOEFL and IELTS exam through a private language school.At UCSC Extension he teaches Methodology of Bilingual and English Language Development,as well.
To the current controversy over explicit and implicit instruction in the field, Dinwiddie says grammar, with its easily overlooked rules, needs to be explicitly taught.
“It can’t be deigned just from implicit acquisition,” he says. While certain people will be able to speak without really understanding grammar, they will face obstacles in any college class or in a professional situation.
“For teachers of ESL the demand for grammar instruction is constant,” Dinwiddie says. The ability to speak grammar correctly can have a tremendous impact on people in their professional careers. “It’s important for the teachers to be proficient in grammar and to know how to teach it.”