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Is putting grammar second an effective way to teach a language?

Posted: 14 Jan 2022, 16:40
by wepelsinei
So I'm taking a Polish class at the moment, and as opposed to many other language courses I've taken, the teacher told us she wouldn't focus on grammar in this course. She said instead, she would focus on getting us to speak with each other... using predefined phrases.

For example, we learned that how to say "my name is <name>" as "nazywam sie <name>", "Jestem <name>" and "mam na imie <name>". Exercises involve going around the class telling other students our name, followed by "a ty?" to prompt for theirs.

Am I right in thinking this is a pretty pointless way to teach a language? At no point do we break down the phrases into their constituent components and figure out what each word means individually nor the significance of their ordering in a sentence.

I'm not a linguist per se, so I'm interested in finding out if perhaps I'm jumping the gun too early, and that this is actually affective. She claims it's how kids learn languages, and therefore it should work for us too.

What do you guys think?

Re: Is putting grammar second an effective way to teach a language?

Posted: 17 Jan 2022, 15:33
by hcb2022
I've taken language classes, both in-person and online, that don't deal with grammar. Rather, as in your experience, you get phrases. I don't know about others, but I find that without the scaffolding of grammar, I get nothing out of simply memorizing and repeating phrases. I've been doing an online Spanish class, and the prof is terrific. He starts out with grammar, adds new vocabulary, and then gives us a culture segment. I may be old-fashioned, but I love seeing verb conjugations on the board! So, to me, putting grammar 'waaaaaay second isn't an effective way to teach a language.