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Teaching Grammar Being able to use correct grammar all the time should not be the ultimate end that students aim for. Instead, it should be viewed as a means to achieve clarity in both oral and written language. Grammar has been an important part of language teaching, although the emphasis on it changes from time to time. Many language students cringe when they hear the word ?grammar,? and perhaps it is because they associate it with a rigid set of rules and word forms that they had had to study when they were young. They had probably learned the rules when their teachers drilled them on it, and most likely they were able to produce correct grammar when it came to exercises, but had difficulty applying this in contextual situations. On the other side of the spectrum are those who believe that overt grammar instruction is not that important, as they assume that non-native language students will absorb grammar rules as they immerse themselves in communication activities. The problem with this approach is that it does not allow the students to apply what they know about grammar and how it works in the language. In order to teach grammar effectively, the teacher must be able to integrate grammar teaching and learning with practical application, where students are taught the grammar they need to accomplish defined communication tasks. The disconnect between knowing grammar rules and being able to apply those rules in listening, speaking, reading, and writing is often frustrating for language students and teachers alike. To address this disconnect, the teacher may utilize several strategies. One is relating students' knowledge needs to their learning goals. For example, if a student needs to use english mainly for negotiating with clients in other countries, the teacher has to focus on helping the student acquire the language he needs to be able to respond appropriately when negotiating. Another strategy that the teacher can apply is providing generous amounds of appropriate language input. This input should include that which requires students to pay attention to specific grammar rules, as well as that which would allow students to encounter those specific grammar rules in different contexts. A third strategy is lowering expectations for drills. Whereas drilling can help students memorize a variety of grammar rules, it does not always help develop the ability to use correct grammar in oral and written production. A better alternative would be to do what are called ?communicative drills,? where students respond to a prompt using the grammar point being learned, but providing their own content ? in other words, the drill is not as structured as mechanical drills. ?Grammar, usage, and mechanics are not ends in themselves... the major purpose is effective communication? (Norton 308). One of the most important things teachers should keep in mind when teaching grammar is that the students will learn more effectively if they are given plenty of opportunities to use the language in meaningful context. If all teachers were able to relate correct grammar usage to practical application, perhaps students would not be intimidated by grammar lessons anymore or see them as ?boring.? Sources: Norton, Donna E. The Effective Teaching of Language Arts. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1993. Teaching Grammar. National Capital Language Resource Center. Accessed on August 20, 2011. .