English Australia Journal : English Australia Journal 27.1
EA Journal Volume 27 No 1 42 In terms of the importance of learning new vocabulary (Item 17), six respondents disagreed that learning vocabulary should take precedence over other areas of language learning, while seven either agreed or strongly agreed that learning grammar is the most important part of language learning (Item 23). Polina (43) provided the following insights: I think they [teachers] need to teach from the very beginning, basics of grammar and do it not in separate pieces and disjointed but introduce the language as a whole system. If you teach ‘articles’, give all information about articles. Learning grammar comprehensively seems essential for the participants of the present study for two main reasons. First, the students have a desire to correctly express themselves orally and in a written form. During the interview, Nata (28) admitted: Teachers do not correct us. I don’t know why... They need to correct students when they speak... not only listen to them, but correct their homework and any written work as well... Teachers say: ‘You are doing well. Your English is fine’, but I am not fine because when I leave the classroom, people do not understand me and I am not doing well at all. In students’ views, correctness can be achieved through the acquisition of grammatical and syntactic rules. Nina stated her opinion: I’d like to hear rules from the teacher, especially what relates to grammar rules... Or maybe... First, a teacher will explain me rules and then I will try to figure out on my own how to apply them. Grammar is important for everything speaking and writing and one needs a lot of practice of grammar. Second, many students came from a grammar translation tradition of learning foreign languages. For example, Alla recalled in her interview: When we were at the university, learning was based on reading, translating texts and learning words. Perhaps because of this, translation was viewed as an important aspect of language learning by five of the respondents in this study (Item 28). Given that there is little emphasis on translation in current language learning methods and approaches, this could present another potential tension, as teachers in Australia often discourage translation and heavy reliance on the use of dictionaries in the classroom.
English Australia Journal 27.2