Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Published in 2020 Vision for 2010: Developing Global Competence: Selected Papers from the 2010 Central States Conference, eds. Melanie Bloom and Carolyn Gascoigne (Eau Claire, WI: Crown Prints), pp. 91-108.


Copyright © 2010 Central States Conference on the Teacing of Foreign Languages


If an individual were to have fallen into a deep sleep for 100 years, much like Rip van Winkle, and awakened to the world as it is today, the changes in modes of transportation, space travel, and computer technology would evoke a sense of awe. The one constant that may appear unaffected by time is a place called school. Here one could find students sitting in a classroom, at desks, in a row, listening to a teacher who poses questions to be answered by students. Certainly this is not always the case, there are exceptions, but generally it still holds true. The same can be said about how we teach foreign languages, more specifically, how we teach grammar in the language classroom. Typically we see grammar taught by introducing rules using the first language (L1) through repetitive drills and worksheets. Is this the most effective way to teach language structures? Certainly grammar constitutes an integral part of language instruction and with the development of communicative language teaching and standards-based instruction, the question of how best to teach grammar in the classroom is still heavily debated. The purpose of this article is to summarize the prevailing perspectives and theories of grammar teaching, provide an update on empirical studies, and present effective strategies and examples of grammar tasks that promote grammatical competence and support the second language (L2) learning process that is in concert with research, theory, and best practices.