It has often bewildered me how students can learn structural ‘grammar’ from day 1 of a beginner’s course, when they have had no contact with the language they are supposed to be analysing. Learning takes place when learners have had sufficient input to ask themselves intelligent questions and search for the answers, and it is the teachers role to help them in this quest. If grammatical dogma is imposed by the teacher from day 1, this is very difficult for the learner to do!
There is a constant debate on how best to learn a language – to concentrate on fluency or on accuracy, i.e. to concentrate on skills (listening, speaking , reading, writing) or systems (grammar, lexis, pronunciation). The article below argues that this is not an either/or choice. Rather, it argues accuracy is learnt through working on fluency. Scott Thornbury is one of the most respected authors/teacher trainers around today.