The Role of Context in Teaching Grammar

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Grammar should not be primarily be taught through grammar exercises. Although grammar exercises offer a right way of gauging the learners’ understanding and may offer sufficient practice, teaching grammar through literature or context and speeches is similarly essential. When grammar is taught through literature, a learner understands how words are used together to bring out the intended meaning. While reading, students learn how the writers use language and how the words and sentences are organized. During grammar lessons, teachers guide students on how to derive the meaning of words and utilize them. Learning through literature fulfills this role perfectly as it allows to understand better how to apply different forms of grammar. In grammar exercises, tests are provided in isolated sentences, not allowing to perceive how grammatical structures function in sentences and paragraphs. Speeches are also effective as a way of teaching grammar. Through the spoken words, the learner can identify important aspects of grammar such as pronunciation and intonation, which affect the meaning of words. When students practice by using spoken words or through conversations, they apply the grammar rules and concepts learned. Therefore, grammar should not be primarily be taught through grammar exercises since literature and spoken words play a much more significant role.

Part Two

From the textbook chapters, the authors posit that grammar instructions or tests cannot be used in isolation as a method of teaching grammar (Gibbons, 2002). I agree with the writers’ point of view. The writers assert that the grammatical instructions alone have little effect on the ability of a student to construct grammatically correct sentences and paragraphs. However, it does not imply that grammar tests are insignificant in learning since help to identify proper grammatical forms. Students may be unable to transfer or apply the grammatical structures in real communication. For this reason, a teacher cannot rely solely on the grammatical exercises to teach. The writers postulate that the best way of teaching grammar is using authentic contexts. Contexts are written or spoken words that may reveal the usage of grammar. It may function as a valuable method of teaching grammar as the learners are thus enabled  to note the structure of words in texts or speeches. The contexts provide a student with frequent opportunities to utilize new structures in real communication. Contexts also allow the children to learn how to incorporate different structures and forms of grammar in different settings (Coelho, 2004). For instance, the grammar exercises may teach the use of passive words. However, it takes more than the ordinary instructions for the student to apply the correct form of certain words in a report.

Many grammatical rules specified in instructions point out the things that the should or should not be done. For example, one of the grammar rules is that sentences should not end with a proposition. However, in conversations, it is possible to say “talk to” in the end of a sentence, which shows that although people may know the grammar rules, their application is limited and can only be taught through context. Mastering grammar requires understanding morphology and syntax. Morphology indicates the usage of individual words, while syntax pertains to studying how words are structured to convey meaning. Morphology can be taught through grammar instructions, but understanding of context facilitates syntactical skills. Teaching and Learning Cycle integrates the subject and language teaching, which improves understanding of both morphology and syntax.


Coelho, E. (2004) Adding English: A guide to teaching in multilingual classrooms. Pippin Publishing Corporation

Gibbons, P (2002). Scaffolding language, scaffolding learning: Teaching second language learners in the mainstream classroom. Heinemann

August 21, 2023



Language Learning

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