English Australia Journal : English Australia Journal 27.2
English Australia Journal Volume 27 No 2 37 favoured a purely meaning-focused approach to language teaching, believed that formal attention to grammar was needed. These Puerto Rican teachers explained that an explicit approach to grammar satisfied their students’ expectations as well as syllabus requirements. As revealed in the studies described above, teachers and students working in both second and foreign language contexts demonstrated strong support for explicit grammar instruction. These studies also imply that educational theories do not always play a prominent and direct role in shaping teachers’ epistemological knowledge about their work. Eisenstein-Ebsworth and Schweers (1997) claim: Reasons given for how and why conscious grammar was taught were based mostly on teachers’ perceptions of their own experience as teachers and learners. It is interesting that our participants rarely justified their approaches by referring to research studies or any particular methodology. (p. 255) Given the importance of gathering knowledge about teachers’ and students’ beliefs about grammar instruction (Borg, 2006) and the theory-practice divide, the study reported in this article attempted to explore what teachers and students believe regarding the importance of knowledge of the grammar of a language and grammar pedagogy in an as yet underexplored context: Vietnam. The study The study reported in this article was set up to identify teachers’ and students’ beliefs about grammar and grammar instruction, and to identify any differences between the beliefs of each group. The overall research objective was firstly to examine, and then to compare and contrast, teachers’ and students’ epistemological understandings of grammar and grammar teaching. To achieve this, a mixed methods approach was adopted (Creswell, 2003; Dörnyei, 2007) in which ‘the results of the first method inform the development of the second’ (Dörnyei, 2007, p. 165). During the first stage, 10 high school teachers studying for a Master’s degree in TESOL at a university in Hanoi were invited to write a guided narrative on their beliefs about grammar and grammar instruction in learning English as a foreign language. A narrative frame in the form of guiding questions was designed to provide guidance and support in terms of both the structure and content of what was to be written (Barkhuizen & Wette, 2008). These guiding questions were: 1. How important do you believe grammar is in learning English as a foreign language? Is it possible not to teach grammar? Why do you think that way? Where do such beliefs come from?
English Australia Journal 28.1
English Australia Journal 27.1