Textbook Review: Grammar and Beyond, 3
ESL/EFL Grammar Textbook Review: Grammar and Beyond, 3. In this textbook review, I will investigate a) the approaches that use in this textbook to teaching grammar, b) the contents of the textbook, c) whether or not these contents are appropriately designed based on the book’s stated target audience, and the helpful, interesting, and unique characteristics of the textbook. According to this information, I will conclude whether or not this is a useful textbook for teaching grammar.
Many studies were done to show the valuable way of teaching a language in given environment; therefore, there is a research confirmed how the communicative language teaching approach improve the productive skills of the learners in language to communicate successfully in the target language, instead of providing accurate rules of the language. Sik (2015) presented an investigation between the differences between Tradition and Modernism Approaches which are Deductive and Inductive on the adult English language learners. The study evidenced that the adult learners who received deductive instructions were more successful than the learners who were not; therefore, the deductive approach fits better than the inductive for the adult learners. In addition, even though many learners who participated in this research preferred the inductive instructions, most of them showed that they understand better with deductive grammar instructions. The study concluded that teachers who participated believed that the inductive way is much more successful in grammar teaching (Sik,2015).
Moreover, Terrel (2007) demonstrated that the Grammar Instruction refers to set of rules that involve instructor explanation, grammar exercises, and application of meaningful interactions in learning a target language. He recognized the role of grammar instruction in language study and acquisition. Instructional strategies draw students to focus on form and grammar. According to Terrel (2007), explicit grammar application has been put aside in communicative approaches. Research evidence in the text shows that grammar instruction on accuracy and fluency is one of the research literature among other areas like classroom instruction help, the effect of grammar instruction on the rate and order of acquisition of grammatical morphemes, and the effect of grammar instruction on complete attainment of second language acquisition. Formal grammatical instruction is helpful to learners because it enhances fluency and accuracy in ordinary speech can be enhanced by explicit grammar instruction.
However, the essential factors are the level of interaction, learner motivation, and comprehensible input. Grammatical knowledge does not necessarily translate to the ability to use the knowledge of the ordinary conversation any target language. Some research was done by Scott showed that “explicit and implicit instruction does not increase student’s ability to comprehend more of a language (Terrel, 2007). The language instruction rises the comprehensible input and promotes better opportunities for meaningful production of the target language. However, explicit grammar instruction does not prove to be an essential factor in second language acquisition even though it can speed up the language acquisition process while helping learners to avoid reduction and omission in specific learning production strategies. Meaningful and spontaneous speech and excellent grammatical structures cannot be directly linked to explicit grammar instructions. However, explicit grammar instructions may indirectly support the basic acquisition process. Grammar instruction can affect learning acquisition by enhancing input, focus on communication activities, and monitor the learner’s input. Grammar instruction, therefore, helps the learner to establish the correct meaning-form connections.
Terrel (2007) provided a strong evidence of how the second language learners acquire the language by providing the appropriate grammar instructions, and how some grammar instructions affect the acquisitions of the L2 learners. Further, the study investigated really great points such as explicit and implicit instruction does not enhance student’s ability to comprehend more of a language, and the only meaningful instructions are a focus on communicative grammar approach improve L2 learners in second language acquisition (Terrel ,2007).
The Grammar and Beyond textbook adopts approach that seems to be based on Larsen-Freeman (2014) view of Communicative Language Teaching (CLT). The goal of it is to develop communicative competence in L2 English learners, and Communicative approach defines as the students’ ability to compere meaning and to use forms correctly in the classroom through focusing on negotiation of meaning and meaningful communication and focusing on active learning and active learners. (Larsen-Freeman ,2014). Further, this textbook utilizes a corpus-based approach to display students to real world uses of the forms. This supports the English language learners to produce the grammatical structures appropriately based on structure, semantics, and pragmatics (Larsen-Freeman ,2014).
The contents of the textbook
The Grammar and Beyond series that were published by Cambridge University Press (2012) provides English grammar books to students who study English as a Second Language (ESL) or English as a Foreign Language (EFL). These series offer various levels, and it starts from beginning to advanced learners of North American English. Indeed, all the four skills practices in those series (Blass, Iannuzzi, Savage, & Reppen, 2012). Above all, I am going to analyze the Grammar and Beyond 3 for intermediate high students who scores result between 55 and 47 in the Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-based Test (TOEFL IBT) and scores result between B1 and B2 in the Common European Framework of Reference Levels (CEFR). Importantly, the authors interpreted that the book can be used in the classroom or as self-study learning tool (Blass, Iannuzzi, Savage, & Reppen, 2012).
Furthermore, the introduction pages of this textbooks and teacher’s book include specific details that showed the goals of the textbook. It demonstrates that after years of research on the grammar of written and spoken North American English that has utilized in the college lectures, textbook, academic essay, high school classroom and conversations between teachers and students, in this series the grammar’s textbooks present in an informed way, it uses actual written and spoken a language which is derived from the Cambridge International Corpus. In fact, the Grammar and Beyond, 3 assists L2 English learners to stratify their knowledge in academic written and spoken English (Blass, Iannuzzi, Savage, & Reppen, 2012).
Additionally, the student’s book of Grammar and Beyond 3 consists of 12 units, and each one starts with an article, and this article contains a new grammar lesson and certain activity based on the unit’s themes. For example, in the first unit a “Grammar in the real world” activity. The students are required to notice specific grammar features in the text; however, the text provides that in implicit ways to guide to the explicit instructions (Blass, Iannuzzi, Savage, & Reppen, 2012). This makes learners know the rules inductively before explaining it deductively. After that the grammar tables are included in each unit which interprets rules and explanation, and it demonstrated in tandem with examples; by this way, learners can work inductively to try to discover the rules by themselves. Each focus section is followed by exercises that are designed to assist students to practice, and at the end of each units there is some integrating activities which are listening, speaking and writing. In unit 12; for instance, learners will read an article on the cost of U.S. higher education which utilizes many gerunds, and they will be asked to notice which words should use gerunds after it. After that the book’s unit consists of various activities such as matches, filling the blanks, and combining sentence (Blass, Iannuzzi, Savage, & Reppen, 2012).
This textbook; in fact, as I mentioned above in each unit, provides activities which reflect the unit themes as well as including the four English language skills, which are Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing, by addressing different activities. For example, in unit 4, the authors provide an article about the Science of twins to read and then answer the questions based on the passage information and then find out the new grammar theme. Then, the unit includes the listening activity with some discussion questions, and then at end of unit provide a writing task. However, at the end of some units, there are activities that are complex for the intermediate level to handle it. Thus, maybe would be possible to skip because these activities have many details to cover, and it is not helpful for this level (Blass, Iannuzzi, Savage, & Reppen, 2012).
After going through the Grammar and Beyond, 3 and the master course syllables, which are include the course descriptions, that draws the whole picture for this course curriculum; Indeed, teachers predominately depend on clear and accuracy interpretation of the grammar textbook which they are using (Williams, 1983, p. 251). Therefore, he proved that it is very beneficial when the textbooks provide specific guidance for teachers as well as for students. The authors of this textbook explicitly present clear and simple charts of the grammar concepts throughout each chapter identify grammar forms, their syntactic requirement, and examples. Even though the charts of this textbook that provide to students in the level 3 which are supposed to be understandable, the language that utilize to interpret the small difference of these grammatical structures is maybe complex to some L2 learners to realize independently (Blass, Iannuzzi, Savage, & Reppen, 2012). Indeed, the authors success in outlining difficult grammar points, and that claims to make the textbooks as “self-study learning tool” although there are some complex points. Therefore, this textbook is great to teach in the classroom. Also, I consider above mentioned, which is the Communicative and Corpus approach, to teaching grammar that have used in this textbook add a special characteristic since it is mostly focus on intergradation of communicative practice (Blass, Iannuzzi, Savage, & Reppen, 2012).
Besides that, all the Grammar and Beyond series have a teacher’s books which provide important information to guide this course successfully. It provides general teaching suggestions such as students self-assessment, pre- unit self-assessment strategies, and general strategies for unit sections. Also, Audio Script, Answer Key, and content of CD-ROM. For instance, in students’ self-assessment “which teachers can download at www.cambridge.org/grammarandbeyond . There is a list of objectives for each unit, and then teachers should write in the board, and then ask student to copy it. Then finally ask students to do self-assessment about each unit that have taken” (Blass, Iannuzzi, Savage, & Reppen, 2012). Simply put, by using the self-assessment I believe will encourage and motivate students’ skills in English to do well in each unit.
Furthermore, the activities and exercises in this textbook according to Garinger’s (2002) it should be evaluated for ESL/EFL based on some questions 1) does the book contain both controlled and free practice? 2) does the book provide students with adequate guidance in completing these activities? (pp. 1-2), and 3) are the activities meaningful? Indeed, this textbook include various valuable activities. At the beginning of each unit, the Opening Task includes controlled exercises such as comprehension check based on the article information and filling the blank or match based on the grammar’s unit. Further, the CDs which provide listening activities for each unit makes students practice listening to grammar structures. For example, in unit 7 which is about the modals and modal-like expressions. There is an activity 3.4 in page 99 provides listening and speaking activities. Students; therefore, will learn the rules implicitly. The current textbook provides numerous grammar instructions; however, it provides very little explicit instruction for other four skills. The book; indeed, explains the grammar instructions very clearly and I believe is appropriate materials for the L2 grammar course, but for teaching writing skill does not provide adequate instructions and explanations. Thus, this textbook is great to be as supplement to Second language learners’ courses because it makes a good sense if the teachers supply this textbook to the writing books.
Reflection and conclusion
According to Tomlinson (2011) demonstrates anything that guide the classroom successfully and also is utilized by the teachers and learners calls as the classroom materials which are “textbooks, cassettes, videos, CD-Rom, dictionaries, grammar books, readers, workbooks, or photocopied exercises”. Materials development defines as the things that is presented by writers, teachers, and learners to offer the language input and output (as cited by Moazam and Jodai, 2014). The research has done by Merriam Webster (2003) interpreted the textbook as “a book used as a standard work for the study of a particular subject” (as cited by Moazam and Jodai, 2014).Grammar and Beyond, 3 for level 3 ESL/EFL is an adequate materiel to be a main textbook for a grammar course; however, it can be an additional materiel to writing course. Second English learners also can use this textbook as self-study tool.
Moazam and Jodai (2014) included in their study more than thirty questions as a check list to make sure that the English language learners have the appropriate textbook. Such as, “the price of the textbook is reasonable. The textbook is easily accessible. The textbook is a recent publication. A teacher’s guide, workbook, and audio-tapes accompany the textbook. The author’s views on language and methodology are comparable to mine (Note: Refer to the ‘blurb’ on the back of the textbook). The textbook includes a detailed overview of the functions, structures and vocabulary that will be taught in each unit. The layout and design are appropriate and clear. The textbook is organized effectively. An adequate vocabulary list or glossary is included. Adequate review sections and exercises are included. An adequate set of evaluation quizzes or testing suggestions is included…etc.”
The current textbook that I have evaluated is built by strong materials to make accessible to English intermediate students.