Teacher beliefs and practices of grammar teaching: focusing on meaning, form, or forms?
Despite the worldwide curriculum innovations to teach English through meaning-focused communicative approaches over the years, studies report that most language teachers still follow transmission-based grammar-oriented approaches. It is known that the success of any curriculum innovation is dependent on teachers. Therefore, given that teaching grammar has always been a central, but problematic domain for language teachers, what teachers believe and do regarding grammar instruction is an important issue that needs to be investigated. However, studies that research teachers and their grammar teaching are rare, and almost non-existent at the elementary-level English teaching contexts. Therefore, through a questionnaire given to 108 teachers and a focus-group interview, the present study investigated Turkish primary-level English language teachers’ beliefs and practice patterns of teaching grammar, and the reasons behind these patterns. The results revealed that teachers predominantly prefer the traditional focus-on-formS approach, which indicates a serious clash with teachers and curriculum goals, on the one hand, and theoretical suggestions on the other. The paper ends with discussions and suggestions for teacher education and language policy-making.
Keywords: English as a foreign language (EFL); English as a second language (ESL);
grammar; teacher beliefs; teacher practices; young learners