DICHOTOMIC GRAMMAR? USE MOODLE LESSONS!

B. Plomteux

Haute Ecole Libre Mosane (BELGIUM)
With limited classroom time and in large groups with students at different levels of language knowledge, teaching grammar rules in class can seem a daunting task, the results of which are often seen as disappointing by teachers.

On the other hand, the teaching of grammar, although this is open to debate, is necessary if we want students to reach mastery of the foreign language. There are of course many possibilities other than the classical in-class presentation of rules, ranging from free online material to gamification to activities based on the latest evolutions in cognitive science and neurosciences.

One of those possibilities is using the Moodle lesson module to teach grammar in an active way (students have to correctly answer a multiple-choice question to move on to the next step), making it possible for students to work in their own time and at their own rhythm, and so flipping the classroom and freeing precious classroom time for more communicative activities using the grammar rule they have been working on online.

But not all grammar topics seem to be suited for this approach: a difference must be made, as Diane Larsen-Freeman does [1], between grammar as fact and grammar as choice. Dichotomic rules, in which only two possibilities exist, seem therefore to be best suited for this approach.

The aim of this paper is to present the results of an experiment with a grammar rule in Dutch, which was carried out in the frame of a collaboration with Li├Ęge University, listing the advantages and pitfalls, and exploring ways in which this system could be extended to other grammar rules.

References:
[1] Larsen-Freeman, Diane (2003). Teaching Language, from Grammar to Grammaring. Heinle Cengage Learning.