FORM - UC Viden

Language Detectives at Work
in the EFL Classroom
Teaching the grammar and usage of
English to teacher trainees and pupils in
the light of LU13
Karen Lassen Bruntt,
Associate professor,
VIA University College
Ulla Bryanne,
Academic coordinator &
associate professor,
University College North
What you’ll hear
1. Brief theoretical
outline of the
2. Examples of different
types of exercises and
3. How Karen teaches
grammar by using the
The three dimensions
How is it formed?
What does it mean?
When/Why is it used?
Based on Celce-Murcia & Larsen-Freeman:
The Grammar Book, p. 4
The three dimensions
For each of these grammatical structures, which of the three dimensions
do you think Danish learners will have most problems with:
• How it is formed?
• What it means?
• When and why to use it?
1. Phrasal verbs (e.g. My boyfriend ran up a huge phone bill)
2. The simple or continuous perspective (e.g. She painted/was painting
the house)
3. The –ly of adverbs (e.g. She took it very seriously)
4. Irregular plural (e.g. mouse – mice)
Bruntt & Bryanne, p. 34
The three dimensions –
how are they learnt?
• FORM-dimension:
– Lots of repetitions
– Task-Based Learning
• MEANING-dimension:
– Dictogloss
– Running dictation
• USE-dimension:
– Role playing
Various dilemmas when
teaching grammar
Why work with grammar?
Prescriptive or descriptive grammar?
Oral or written language?
What to focus on?
Proactively or reactively/integrated ?
Inductive (guided noticing) or deductive
Declarative and/or procedural knowledge?
Terminology for teachers and for pupils
In Danish or English?
Teaching grammar or teaching learners?
Traditional assessment:
Interlanguage analysis:
- Focus on the target language
- Focus on the learner language
- Compares learner language to
the target language
- Focus on product
- Points out mistakes
- Focus on the things the learner
cannot do
- Summative assessment
- Sees learner language as a
language in progress
- Focus on process
- Points out progress
- Focus on the things the
learner can do
- Formative assessment
Fig. 2-2. Differences between the traditional way of assessing learner
language and the interlanguage analysis
Bruntt & Bryanne, p. 22
of different types
of exercises
and approaches
Elicitation of prior knowledge
Exercise 1
1. What do you already know about adjectives?
What do they do to a text? What forms can they
take? Which grammatical words do you connect
with adjectives?
2. How were you taught adjectives at school?
What was good/bad and why?
3. How do you best learn adjectives?
4. Can you think of some good ways of teaching
Bruntt & Bryanne, p. 303
Inductive, guided noticing approach
enables working in study groups
When Mr and Mrs Dursley woke up
on the dull, grey Tuesday our story
starts, there was nothing about the
cloudy sky outside to suggest that
strange and mysterious things would
soon be happening all over the
country. Mr Dursley hummed as he
picked out his most boring tie for
work and Mrs Dursley gossiped away
happily as she wrestled a screaming
Dudley into his high chair. None of
them noticed a large, tawny owl
flutter past the window.
When Mr and Mrs Dursley woke up
on the Tuesday our story starts, there
was nothing about the sky outside to
suggest that things would soon be
happening all over the country. Mr
Dursley hummed as he picked out his
tie for work and Mrs Dursley
gossiped away happily as she
wrestled Dudley into his chair. None
of them noticed an owl flutter past
the window.
Rowling, J. K.: Harry Potter and the Philosopher´s
Stone, Bloomsbury, 1997, pp.7-8.
Bruntt & Bryanne, p. 303
Adjectives and genres
Below are excerpts from a variety of texts
1. In each text find some adjectives and discuss their effect
on the mood, atmosphere etc.
2. Remove all adjectives from a text: How does it change?
Replace some of the adjectives, e.g. the negative ones
from text C, with others and discuss the effects and what
this tells you about the importance of adjectives.
3. What genres do the texts belong to? In which ones do you
expect to find many/few adjectives? Why?
4. Find your own text. Remove the adjectives and ask a
partner to insert some new ones. Compare with the
original text.
Bruntt and Bryanne p. 320
EXAMPLE 3 – cont.
Dickens, Great Expectations
(Fiction, description of place)
I crossed the staircase landing, and entered the
room she indicated. From that room, too, the
daylight was completely excluded, and it had an
airless smell that was oppressive. A fire had been
lately kindled in the damp old-fashioned grate, and
it was more disposed to go out than to burn up, and
the reluctant smoke which hung in the room
seemed colder than the clearer air – like our own
marsh mist. Certain wintry branches of candles on
the high chimneypiece faintly lighted the chamber…
EXAMPLE 3 – cont.
Tolkien, The Hobbit
(Fiction: description of persons)
All the unsuspecting Bilbo saw that morning was
an old man with a staff. He had a tall pointed
hat, a long grey cloak, a silver scarf over which
his long white beard hung down below his waist,
and immense black boots […]. Gandalf looked at
him from under long bushy eyebrows that stuck
out further than the brim of his shady hat.
EXAMPLE 3 – cont.
K. Donovan, Blind Colours (excerpt)
(Poem: to describe feelings and things)
But turquoise is mysterious
And langourous,
My mouth lets the word go
Regretfully, and I think
Of strange places,
Exotic fragrances that I’ll never know.
Overview for teachers
Adjectives give us precise and vivid
descriptions of people, feelings,
situations, things etc. regarding their
colour, size, looks, age, and other
properties. In the dull, grey Tuesday the
two adjectives dull and grey give us
precise details about the noun Tuesday
and enable us to easily picture the day.
Not only do they tell us about nouns,
they can also tell us about pronouns:
She was happy. Happy describes the
pronoun she.
EXAMPLE 4 – cont.
Overview for teachers
Adjectives are important for
creating atmosphere, or for making
us like or dislike a certain character
in a story, or for appealing to our
senses in poetry. Obviously, they
are more common (and
appropriate) in narration, lyric
poetry, advertisements and reviews
than in genres without
descriptions, such as scientific
reports in which we want to appear
Bruntt & Bryanne, p. 304
Comparative approach:
focus on what is difficult for Danish learners
The functions of the adjectives are
introduced by guided noticing and
summed up in an overview afterwards
PrM in NG (attributive function)
SC (and OC) (predicative function)
PoM in NG
H in NG
EXAMPLE 5 – cont.
Comparative approach:
Exercise 10
A boy in Year 9 was ill in your lesson today and you sent
him home.
1. Write a letter to his parents in which you explain the
matter. You should include the adjectives listed below.
Examine whether you have used each adjective
attributively or predicatively and whether it would be
possible to use it both ways by writing other
sentences: sick, able, elder, afraid, alone, content,
keen, sorry, glad, ill, and well. Check the adjectives in
your English-English dictionary to see what help it
offers concerning this issue.
EXAMPLE 5 – cont.
Comparative approach
2. Find the equivalent adjectives in Danish: can they be
used both attributively and predicatively?
3. What do you do if you want to use an adjective in
front of a noun, but this adjective can only be used
predicatively? Or if you want to use an adjective
predicatively, but this adjective can only be used
attributively? E.g., you want to express the following
in English: Han er en meget bange dreng og siger ikke
så meget i timerne (afraid is not possible)
(This is then summed up afterwards)
Automatisation and integration
in communicative activities and
1. Go to the web activities:
2. Choose Chapter 10
3. Choose Web activities 2-4
Discussion of didactics:
how to teach adjectives
• Enter:
• Choose ”Chapter 10”
• Choose ”Web activity 5”
(Examples of activities at different
levels and in different topics)
Summing up: didactics
and the student’s own
knowledge of adjectives
• Enter:
• Choose ”Chapter 10”
• Choose ”Web activity 8”
Automatisation of
• Enter:
• Choose ”Chapter 11”
• Choose ”Web activity 6”
(Vocabulary training)
Training students to become
English teachers
Identify, categorize, correct and explain problems
regarding modal verbs in the following sentences: is
the problem due to FORM, MEANING or USE?
I must in now because it’s cold.
As far as I know the book shall be really good.
I’d like to can swim.
He should start his new job as a teacher today.
He can German.
Summing up: how to help
learners regarding
interlanguage development
A whole interlanguage text is found after most of
the chapters, e.g. in chapter 11 on adverbs, which
compares adjectives and adverbs:
• Enter:
• Choose ”Chapter 11”
• Choose ”Web activity 9”
Further activities and links
at the end of each web section
Karen’s structure of
the grammar course in LU13
Karen’s structure
Introduction to the module
• Examples of exercises from exam after Year 9 +
example of a learner’s text
• Introductory grammar course (compendium +
Karen’s structure (cont.)
• Parts of chapter 4: Word classes, word formation +
• Chapters 5 + 6: Sentence analysis
(4 lessons)
• One sentence analysis every lesson
• Test in sentence analysis
Help for terminology (jacket)
Noun Group
Help for terminology (at the back)
Glossary (p. 439)
• Adjective Group: A group of words clustered around an adjective (he
was very happy that she had come)
Grammar terminology in English, Latin and Danish
Karen’s structure (cont.)
Learning and Teaching Grammar (3 lessons)
The individual topics in grammar (each topic 3 lessons):
• S-V agreement + word order: 5.5-5.7 (Karen)
• VG1: VG structure, auxiliary verbs and lexical verbs, main forms, regular and irregular
verbs: chapter 7.1 - 7.5.2
• VG 2: focus on modal verbs and modality (chap. 13)
• VG 3: time and tenses: remaining chapter 7
• NG1: 8.1 - 8.4: NG structure + nouns, the genitive, articles and reference
• NG2: 8.5 - 8.7: pronouns
• Adjectives, adverbs and Circumstantials (chap. 10-12)
• Punctuation and prepositions (chap. 9 + 15)
Afterwards: Test in grammar (Identify, categorize, correct and
explain problems underlined in a learner’s text)
• Words and idioms (chapter 4) (Karen)
• Text grammar (chapter 3) (Karen)
Karen’s course
Before class in study groups
(approx 7-8 hours)
• All study groups to study the topic by
reading and discussing exercises and web
• They sum up by using
web activities at the end
of the chapter.
Karen’s course (cont.)
In class: (3 lessons/topic)
• Discussion of a mind map made by study
group xx to give an overview with their
own examples in a Google Docs file.
• Interlanguage analysis: sentences +
learner’s text (Karen)
• Didactics in relation to
the topic (study group xx)
Karen’s course (cont.)
Chapter 16: Interlanguage analysis (5 lessons)
• The model
• Argumentative text
• Narrative text
• How to give feedback and assess
Afterwards: Paper written in study groups
• Interlanguage analysis of a learner’s text (chosen by Karen)
• Conclusion and interpretation (help for the learner)
• in language appropriate for colleagues
• in language directed to the learner
• Bruntt, Karen Lassen & Ulla Bryanne: Handbook for Language Detectives:
Learning and Teaching English Grammar, Samfundslitteratur, 2012
• Øvelser hertil:
• Celce-Muria, Marianne & Diane Larsen-Freeman: The Grammar Book: An
ESL/EFL teacher’s Course, Heinle & Heinle, 1999
• Larsen-Freeman, Diane: Teaching Grammar: From Grammar to Grammaring,
Thomson-Heinle, 2003
• Karen Lund, ”Fokus på sprog” in Michael Byram et al, Sprogfag i forandring,
Samfundslitteratur, 2009

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