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How to Teach Grammar

Scott Thornbury
Longman, 1999
ISBN: 0-582-33932-4

Grammar is not back, it just never went away, and this practical guide to the teaching of grammar will come as a relief to those into who the lexical approach, corpus linguistics and recent developments in discourse analysis strike fear. Indeed Scott Thornbury manages to go a long way towards reconciling new approaches with the traditional grammar based approach to language learning.

How to Teach Grammar is a very simply organised book, dealing firstly with the question of 'what is?' and 'why teach' grammar before going on to deal thoroughly with the question 'how?' in three sensibly categorised sections - teaching grammar from rules, from examples, and through texts. It is these three sections which constitute the 'meat' of the book, and not only do they provide concise definitions and justifications for ecah approach to teaching grammar, but also four or five sample lessons in each category, ranging from teaching 'used to' using translation, to 'using an authentic text to teach the passive'. Each sample lesson is clearly staged in 'steps' and appears to be entirely practicable.

The book the goes on to deal with parctising grammar, dealing with lexical errors, integrating grammar and testing grammar, again including valuable sample lessons and tests. The section on integrating grammar is particularly interesting, beginning with a review of the standard PPP lesson format and proposing an alternative, thus conforming with recent trends in teacher training. The sample lessons in this section move from integrating grammar using the PPP model, through task-based and skills-based lessons, to a story-based lesson for very young learners.

Covering both inductive and deductive approaches, this is an excellent guide for teachers on how to develop or enhance their grammar-teaching skills.

159 February/March 2001