This seems a contradictory mix:
“ The whole point of grammar is to identify the patterns of the language and then to give it a name to remember it.
I might change the order of what you are doing.
1. Use a lot of commands in class. Give them written examples in context, without pointing out what it is. Don’t name it. Just be certain that they have seen it. Give them a language-rich environment, otherwise known as comprehensible input. ï»¿
2. On the given day, tell them you are going to give them a lot of examples, and let them find the patterns. I would mix regular and irregular verbs, give them a bunch of examples, and guide them to come up with a rule. I would probably start with the formal commands.
3. Point out that these are just for the “usted” form. Now show examples them the plural and let them come up with that rule.
4. Start flooding them with examples of the tú commands a bit later. Repeat the process: after they have had exposure, one day give them a gazillion examples and let them organize them to come up with a rule. They’ll probably (with a bit of guidance) say that the negatives are a lot like the usted commands, but the positives are … etc. With the irregular verbs.
5. You might even tell them you have heard that there is a song for the irregulars, it’s to the tune of whatever, and could they please come up with a song.
I would do the same thing when teaching the preterite: give them a rich environment in which they are hearing the preterite, then let them figure out the pattern. First, use the preterite: Tell them a story. Tell them about your dog, your family, the story of the bicentenario, whatever. Have them seeing and hearing the past. Then use a song or listen to some reading, and give them a Cloze so that they are focusing on the forms. Then give them a gazillion examples. Have them sort out regular and irregular, and come up with rules for each.
I agree about the importance of patterns. Native speakers, by definition, have the grammar map internalized. (Wasn’t it Piaget who used that term?) Older learners learn in a different way, but they still do a better job when they are “little scientists” figuring it out, rather than having it laid out cold on a plate. imho.”
Let’s start with:
“The whole point of grammar is to identify the patterns of the language and then to give it a name to remember it.”
Does the writer mean grammar in the sense of what holds a language together or does she mean grammar as the way “we”, whoever we is, analyze it? If the latter, is it structural, generative-transformational, functional, binding, etc. (getting way out of my depth here but surely everyone recognizes there are umpteen ways to present the grammar of a language)?
And what of people who learn 2nd languages without knowing terms like present participle? Does that mean they won’t use the p.p.? The post which this one was responding to ended with, “I am a pattern
> person and I learn much better when I see patterns and I am always looking
> for patterns to make sense of the world.” This writer was probably responding to that last sentence. But what if seeing patterns is not the way we learn language? As I teach Latin, it is very seductive to say, “If you see that, then you must see this b/c it’s the same pattern.”
One would think that if teaching patterns aka paradigms aka conjugation and declensions, and so on allowed one to learn better, then we would be turning out large numbers of proficient foreign language users b/c the vast majority of our teachers teach patterns. One might even say algorithms. But does the mind learn another language for use in that way?
Moving on. Notice the writer advocates lots of input. One would assume she means comprehensible input. “Let them find the patterns.” The old inductive method. The students are supposed to come up with a rule. So the writer is sayin, again, that one must be able to articulate the rule. One note here: I can find a good many grammatical structures in the speech of the writer that I’ll bet the writer could not articulate the rules for; yet the writer obviously commands at least one language quite well.
“Flood them………” more input. Tell them a story, tell them about personal things. Then back to organizing the regular and irregular forms and finding rules for them. At the end, this writer acknowledges the internalized set of rules, the “grammar map”, but discriminates between native speakers and neophytes in the WAY them interalize the rules. Tthe neophytes are identified as little scientists, figuring it out. In this way they do a better job “rather than having it laid out cold on a plate.” That metaphore or simile was a little over my head; it’s almost as if analyzing L2 like a scientist is different from having L2 laid out cold on a plate. To me, they are similar and so I must not be understanding this part.
It seems as if the writer wants to use cognitive analysis as a way of keeping control – “If I can label and analyze everything and lay it out so I can see how it works, then I can control it, dominate it, master it.” But OTOH, she understands that grammar must be internalized and in order to do that, the learner has to receive a great deal of input.
There is no doubt that this teacher does a good job in the classroom.What seems to be unclear to me is just what theoretical underpinnings she operates on. There does seem to be a theory lurking behind all this, maybe just not articulated but one the writer works from nonetheless.