Self-directed grammar learning: -ing forms
This project arose as the result of thoughts about autonomy and foreign langugage learning inspired by Riley's book 'Discourse and Learning' (1985). The English book forming the basis of my teaching is number 4 of Kacowsky's 'Ann and Pat' series. Although I usually try to enliven the rather traditionally presented grammar points with various activities, I have to admit that this merely concerns the practice and transfer phase and that these activities were not used in the actual rule learning phase. Although grammar points have been contextualised, the exploration of rules is basically teacher or textbook induced. There was originally a growing concern on my part as to the extent to which the learning process is affected by teaching. Classroom observation, concept-questioning and the checking of written and oral tasks made me feel that even though ruies had been taught carefully, and to the best of my knowledge methodologically appropriately, they had only been partially put into practice by the pupils. I attributed this fact to two main causes. (I am fully aware that this is simplifying matters, but for practical reasons I feel I cannot go into areas of inter/learner language, variability, sequence of development etc.) Firstly, presentation of rules by the teacher/book prevents authentic learning which is marked by the establishment of hypotheses and their subsequent adaptation, adoption or rejection. Secondly, this prevention of personalised rule learning may even slow down acquisition, that is to say, that teaching MlGHT even impede actual rule learning (acquisition). Given the fact that up to now we have not been able to look into the black box, we as teachers are not able to determine how much of our input has become intake. So my hypothesis was that the formulation of rules carried out by the learner in a more or less selfdirected way as opposed to exclusive direction from external sources would lead to a more personally adequate, hence more comprehensible, even if sometimes "merely" intuitive, understanding of the rule to be learned. My intention was to let learners find for themselves, via guided tasks, certain facts about the way a given grammatical rule works.
Autor/in: Erwin Gierlinger
Schulstufe/n: 8. Schulstufe