The title of the Oct. 10 talk by Scott Windham, associate professor of German in the Department of World Languages and Cultures, was “Why we (still) need grammar instruction but (still) need to do it better: Grammar instruction and literacy in the L2 classroom.”
Scott Windham, associate professor of German in the Department of World Languages and Cultures, gave an invited talk on Oct. 10 at the University of Notre Dame.
The title of his talk was “Why we (still) need grammar instruction but (still) need to do it better: Grammar instruction and literacy in the L2 classroom.”
Grammar instruction and testing in second languages, according to Windham, needs to be brought into greater alignment with current research on grammar acquisition. This alignment will help students and instructors bridge the gap between structural study of the language (grammar and lexicon) and actual use of the language in reading, writing, listening comprehension, and speaking. In short, language instruction involves the teaching of transfer between formal structural study and applied use.
As part of his CATL Scholar project, Windham is investigating ways to use grammar tests and grammar homework as a space in which such transfer can take place.
Facilitating this transfer will let students use second languages in more literate ways, according to Windham. Studying grammar isn’t just about accuracy: Because grammar is the meaning-making system of a language, studying grammar increases students’ ability to create complex meanings.