К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №2 - 2011
Автор: Еремеева А.Г.
English every of us faces the problem of tense category because it is the most
complicated aspect of the English grammar. “Verbs are power and voice of life
itself. Verbs turn nouns into a living expression of thought. Verbs put
questions and answer them, express feelings, summarize the results, call and
brand, assert, threatens, thank and turn language into the force having control
over millions of people” (M. Kolpakchi). The English tense system presents a
lot of trouble to Kazakh and Russian-speaking students because of the
difference which exists in our languages with regard to time and tense relations.
For example, they cannot at first understand why we must say “I have seen him today”
and “I saw him yesterday”. The action is completed for them in both sentences,
and they do not associate it in any way with today or yesterday.
There are 26 verb
forms (16 - in the active voice and 10 - in the passive voice) in English. In
order to use this complex system successfully we need to fix in the memory the
circuit of 26 links. It is not so easy to do but it is necessary if someone
wants to achieve speaking - the main goal of learning English as means of
communication and activities. Language is the chief means by which the human
personality expresses itself and fulfills its basic need for social interaction
with other persons. The aim of the foreign language at our college is to
develop students’ skills in understanding English speech and participating in
conversation based on the topics covered. It is said language functions owing
to the language skills. A person, who knows a language perfectly, uses a
thousand and one grammar, lexical, and phonetic rules when he is speaking.
Language skills help us to choose different words and models in our speech.
In this work we
examine the forming one of grammar skill: the category of tense. Grammar is
known to be an important component of the language as a system. Communicative
skills without regular using grammar are limited. Knowing, understanding and
using of English tenses properly is the most important thing in teaching
Let’s take the
general characteristics of the verb. A verb is a part of speech that usually
denotes action (bring, read), occurrence (to decompose, to glitter), or a state
of being (exist, live, stand). Depending on the language, a verb may vary in
form according to many factors, possibly including its tense, aspect, mood and
The ability to
talk about the tenses of the English language, to recite its rules, is also
very different from ability to speak and understand the language or to read and
write it. Those who can use the English tenses are often unable to recite the
rules, and those who can recite their rules can be unable to use them. Nowadays
we can hear the following opinions among teachers of foreign language: One
teacher says, “I do not favor teaching any grammar rules of tenses before the
fifth grade, and not much then,” another is likely to reply, “But if you do
not, how will your students learn to use them properly?” Another teacher
remarks, “If you teach no tenses, how you can expect to have correct their
usage in speech and writing?”
In the elementary
grades the major emphasis will be upon the actual use, rather than upon
knowledge of the language itself and attention to restrictive rules. Grammar of
the analytical and structural sort will have little place or no place in the
elementary grades, but the oral and written conventions of English, those which
function in actual speaking and writing, will be of chief concern. Grammar
tense aspect organizes the vocabulary and as a result we have sense units.
There is a system of stereotypes, which organizes words into sentences. But
what skill does grammar tense aspect develop?
First of all it
gives the ability to make up sentences correctly, to reproduce the text
adequately (the development of practical skills and habits). The knowledge of
the specific grammar structure helps students to point out the differences
between the mother tongue and the target language. The knowledge of grammar
tense aspect develops abilities to abstract, systematize facts of actions. Examining
the problem of grammar tense aspect skills we must acquire how they are defined
in literature. We must differentiate their kinds, features and conditions under
which they are formed, the steps of forming skills. Learning, forming and
developing grammar tense aspect skills are important tasks of the subject “Foreign
language” at our college. It is necessary for students not to make grammar
tense aspect mistakes. So the best way to form grammar tense aspect skills is
to use a lot of training exercises and individual approach in teaching grammar.
In order to understand a language and to express oneself correctly one must assimilate
the grammar mechanism of the language studied. Indeed, one may know all the
words in a sentence and yet fail to understand it, if one does not see the
relation between the words in the given sentence. On the contrary, a sentence
may contain more than two unknown words but if one has a good knowledge of the
structure of the language one can easily guess the meaning of these words or at
least find them in a dictionary.
language cannot be ensured without the study of grammar tense aspect mechanism.
Students need this aspect of grammar to be able to speak, read and write it.
The grammatical systems of Kazakh, Russian and English are fundamentally
different. English is an analytical language, in which grammatical meaning is
largely expressed through the use of additional words and by changes in word
order. Kazakh and Russian are synthetic languages, in which the majority of
grammatical forms are created through changes in the structure of words, by
means of a developed system of prefixes, suffixes and endings. No one knows
exactly how people learn languages although a great deal of research has been
done into the subject.
Many methods have
been proposed for the teaching of foreign language. And they have met with
varying degrees of success and failure. We should know that the method by which
students are taught must have some effect on their motivation. And this
motivation is their great desire to speak and know English well. If they find it
deadly boring they will probably become de-motivated, whereas if they have
confidence in the method they will find it motivating. Child learners differ
from adult learners in many ways. And at college we have already had adult
learners who realized the importance of their studying. We shall examine such
methods as “The Grammar-translation method”, ”The Direct method”, “The
Audio-lingual method” in order to see the best way of forming grammar tense
The Grammar-translation method
This method was
widely used in teaching the classics, namely Latin. In the grammar-translation
mode the books begin with definitions of the parts of speech, declensions,
conjugations, rules to be memorized, examples illustrating the rules, and
exceptions. Often each unit has a paragraph to be translated into the target
language and one to be translated into native one. These paragraphs illustrate
the grammar rules studied in the unit. The student is expected to apply the
rules on his own. This involves a complicated mental manipulation of the
conjugations and declensions in the order memorized, down to the form that
might fit the translation. As a result, students are unable to use the
language, and they sometimes develop an inferiority complex about languages in
- Classes are
taught in the mother tongue, with little active use of the target language;
- Much vocabulary
is taught in the form of lists of isolated words;
- Long elaborate
explanations of grammar are given;
- Grammar provides
the rules for putting words together, and instruction often focuses on the form
and inflection of word;
- Reading of difficult classical texts is begun early;
- Little attention
is paid to the content of texts, which are treated as exercises in grammatical
- Often the only
drills are exercises in translating disconnected sentences from the target
language into the mother tongue;
- Little or no
attention is given to pronunciation.
grammar-translation method is largely discredited today. The inadequacy of
grammar-translation methods became evident because the greater interest for
communication is observed in modern languages.
The Direct method
The Direct method
appeared as a reaction against the grammar-translation method. The direct
method assumed that learning a foreign language is the same as learning the
mother tongue, that is, that exposing the student directly to the foreign
language impresses it perfectly upon his mind. This is true only up to a point,
since the psychology of learning a second language differs from that of
learning the first. The child is forced to learn the first language because he
has no other effective way to express his wants. In learning a second language
this compulsion is largely missing, since the student knows that he can communicate
through his native language when necessary.
instruction is conducted exclusively in the target language;
- Only everyday
vocabulary and sentences are taught;
communication skills are built up in a carefully graded progression organized
around question-and-answer exchanges between teachers and students in small,
- Grammar is
taught inductively, i.e. the learner may discover the rules of grammar for
himself after he has become acquainted with many examples;
- New teaching
points are introduced orally;
vocabulary is taught through demonstration, objects, and pictures; abstract
vocabulary was taught by association of ideas;
- Both speech and
listening comprehension are taught;
pronunciation and grammar are emphasized.
The main advantage
of direct method is that second language learning should be more like first
language learning: lots of active oral interaction, spontaneous use of the
language, no translation between first and second languages, and little or no
analysis of grammatical rules.
The Audio-lingual method
method is the method developed in the Intensive Language Program. It is
successful because of high motivation, intensive practice, small classes, and
good models, in addition to linguistically sophisticated descriptions of the
foreign language and its grammar.
- New material is
presented in dialogue form;
- There is
dependence on mimicry, memorization of set phrases and over learning;
- Structures are
sequenced by means of contrastive analysis and taught one at a time;
patterns are taught using repetitive drills;
- There is a
little or no grammatical explanation: grammar is taught by inductive analogy
rather than deductive explanation;
- Vocabulary is
strictly limited and learned in context;
- There is much
use of tapes, language labs, and visual aids;
- Great importance
is attached to pronunciation;
- Very little use
of the mother tongue by teachers is permitted;
responses are immediately reinforced;
- There is a great
effort to get students to produce error-free utterances;
- There is a
tendency to manipulate language and disregard content.
Grammar is taught
essentially as follows: Some basic sentences are memorized by imitation. Their
meaning is given in normal expressions in the native language, and the students
are not expected to translate word for word. When the basic sentences have been
over learned (completely memorized so that the student can rattle them off
without effort), the student reads fairly extensive descriptive grammar
statements in his native language, with examples in the target language and native
language equivalents. He then listens to further conversational sentences for
practice in listening. Finally, practices the dialogues using the basic
sentences and combinations of their parts. When he can, he varies the dialogues
within the material he has already learned.
explanations as used in the major methods. We shall briefly review the
treatment of grammatical explanations by some of the major methods. This is not
meant to be an exhaustive study of all available methods; rather it is an
attempt to show the variety of ways in which different methods deal with
grammar explanations and may help teachers in evaluating available materials.
method is associated with formal rule statement. Learning proceeds,
deductively, and the rule is generally stated by the teacher, in a textbook, or
both. Traditional abstract grammatical terminology is used. Drills include translation
into native language.
2. The direct
method is characterized by meaningful practice and exclusion of the mother
tongue. This method has had many interpretations, some of which include an
analysis of structure, but generally without the use of abstract grammatical
audio-lingual method stresses an inductive presentation with extensive pattern
practice. Writing is discouraged in the early stages of learning a structure.
There has been considerable variation in the realization of this approach. In
some cases, no grammatical explanation of any kind is offered. In other, the
teacher might focus on a particular structure by isolating an example on the
board, or through contrast. When grammatical explanation is offered it is
usually done at the end of the lesson as a summary of behavior or in later
versions of this method the rule might be stated in the middle of the lesson
and followed by additional drills.
Each method is
realized in techniques. By a technique we mean an individual way in doing
something, in gaining a certain goal in teaching- learning process such as
grammar tense aspect patterns. One of the teacher's jobs is to show how the new
language is formed, how the grammar works and how it is put together. One way
of doing this is to explain the grammar in detail, using grammatical terminology
and giving a mini-lecture on the subject. This seems problematical, though, for
two reasons; firstly many students may find grammatical concepts difficult,
secondly- such explanations for beginners will be almost impossible. A more
effective and less frightening way of presenting form is to let the students
see or hear the new language, drawing their attention in a number of different
ways to the grammatical elements of which it is made.
Teaching grammar tense aspect patterns
We think that even
students who have never studied the rules of grammar tense aspect make use
grammar of the language. This is seen in the mistakes they make. When a student
says, “He goed”, he is forming a "regular" rule on the pattern:
showed, weighed, served: “goed”. His error reveals the fact that he has been
applying the pattern even though he is not able to describe it.
Tense aspect patterns and sentences
pattern is an arrangement of parts having linguistic significance beyond the
sum of its parts. The parts of a pattern are expressed by words or classes of
words so that different sentences often express the same pattern. All the
sentences of a language are cast in its patterns. “Tom telephoned. The girl
different sentences expressing the same statement pattern in English. A pattern
is not a sentence, however, sentences express patterns. Each sentence illustrates
a pattern. To memorize a sentence does not imply that a pattern has been
memorized. There can be countless sentences, each unique, yet all constructed
on the same pattern.
Tense aspect patterns and grammar
Students learn the
grammatical patterns of their language before they study grammar at school.
When a child says “goed” instead of “went” or “knowed” instead of “knew”, he is
applying the regular pattern on the analogue – “open: opened = go: goed”
Grading the Patterns
There is no single
grading scale for teaching the patterns of a foreign language. Any systematic
cumulative progression, taking into account the structures that are difficult,
would be satisfactory from a linguistic point of view.
A sentence can be
learned as a single unstructured unit like a word, but this is only the
beginning. The student must acquire the habit of constructing sentences in the
patterns of the target language. For this he must be able to put words almost
automatically into a pattern without changing it, or to change it by making the
necessary adjustments. Teaching a problem pattern begins with teaching the specific
structure points where a formal change in the pattern is crucial and where the
student is not able to manipulate the required changes. The steps in teaching
problem patterns are (1) attention pointer, usually a single sentence calling
the students' attention to the point issue; (2) examples, usually minimally
contrastive examples showing a pair of sentences that differ only on the point
or points being made; (3) repetition by the class and presentation of additional
examples of the same contrast; (4) comments or generalization elicited inductively
from the students and confirmed by the teacher; (5) practice, with attention on
the problem being taught. These steps an intended to clarify the crucial point
of contrast at the time when sentences are being learned. They should take only
a small portion of the class time: no more than 15 per cent. Long explanations
without active practice are a waste of time. Most of the class should be
devoted to practice. The following are brief descriptions of some of the more
effective types of exercises.
The more effective
types of exercises:
- Listening to
good models (can be combined with other activities);
- Oral repetition
(the student repeats the pattern sentences provided orally by the model. This
is the most basic and important of all exercises. It begins with the
presentation of the very first sentence of the pattern, the basic sentence, and
continues through all other examples of the pattern taught for speaking);
- Oral substitution
(once the student can speak the basic sentence by repetition, oral substitution
becomes the most useful and powerful drill available to practice the pattern.
It is fast, flexible, and versatile, and it approximates conversational use of
the language. Several variations are described: simple substitution,
substitution in variable position, substitution that forces a change,
substitution requiring a change, and multiple substitutions);
The grammar tense
aspect skill is based on the general conclusion. The grammar action can and
must occur only in the definite lexical limits, on the definite lexical
material. If a student can make up his sentence frequently, accurately and
correctly from the grammatical point of view, he has got the grammar tense
To form the
reproductive grammar tense aspect skills we must follow such steps:
1. Selection of
the model of a tense;
2. Selection of
the form of the verb;
3. Selection of
the auxiliary verb.
difficulty of the reproductive (active) grammar tense aspect skills is to correspond
to the purposes of the statement, communicative approach of words and meanings
expressed by the grammatical patterns. In that case we use basic sentences, in
order to answer the definite situation.
The main factor of
the forming of the reproductive grammar tense aspect skill is that students
need to learn the lexics of the language. They need to learn the meanings of
the words and how they are used. We must be sure that our students are aware of
the vocabulary they need at their level and they can use the words in order to
form their own sentence. Each sentence contains a grammar structure. The
mastering the grammar tense aspect skill lets students save time and strength,
energy, which can give opportunity to create. Learning a number of sentences
containing the same grammatical structure and a lot of words containing the
same grammatical form is not rational. But the generalization of the grammar
item can relieve the work of the mental activity and let the teacher speed up
the work and the students realize creative activities. Correct selection of
grammar teaching material is the first step towards the good grammar tense aspect
Principles of Grammar Teaching English tenses
approach to the teaching of English tenses;
E.g: The Present
Simple is contrasted with the Present Progressive
I get up at 7
It’s 7 o’clock. I
am getting up.
Perfect is contrasted with the Past Simple
He has come.
He came an hour ago.
approach to the assimilation of English tenses;
approach to the teaching English tenses, i.e. grammar items are introduced and
drilled in structures or sentence patterns;
approach to the teaching of English tenses;
approach to the teaching active grammar of English tenses (grammar for
conversation) and passive grammar of English tenses (grammar for reading);
Types of Exercises for the Assimilation of
exercises. For example: Listen to the sentences and raise your hands whenever
you hear the verbs in the Past Simple. (It is desirable that sentences formed
should concern real situations and facts.) Read the sentences and choose the
correct form of the verb. Recognition exercises are indispensable as pupils
retain the grammar material through auditory and visual perception. Auditory
and visual memory is at work.
exercises. In learning a foreign language drill exercises are indispensable.
The learners cannot assimilate the material if they only hear and see it. They
must reproduce it both in outer and inner speech. The more often they say it
the better they assimilate the material. Though drill exercises are those in
which pupils have only one difficulty to overcome, they should also be graded:
exercises (speech exercises). This is the most difficult type of exercises as
it requires creative work on the part of the learners. These may be: (a) Making
statements either on the picture the teacher shows, or on objects. For example,
the teacher hangs up a picture and asks his pupils to say or write three or
five statements in the Present Continuous. (b) Asking questions with a given
grammar item. For example, pupils are invited to ask and answer questions in
the Past Indefinite. (c) Speaking about the situation offered by the teacher.
For example, one pupil gives commands to perform this or that action, the other
comments on the action (actions) his classmate performs. (d) Speaking on a
suggested topic. For example, a pupil tells the class what he did yesterday.
(e) Making dialogues using the grammar item covered. (f) Telling the story
(read, heard). (g) Translating into English. (h) Participating in free conversation
in which pupils are to use the grammar item they have learned. Teacher: What's
the weather like, children? Is it cold today? Do you like it when it's cold?
All the exercises
mentioned above are designed:
(1) to develop
students' grammar tense aspect skills in recognizing grammar forms while
listening and reading English texts;
(2) to accumulate
correct sentence patterns in the students' memory which they can reproduce
whenever they need these patterns for speaking or writing;
(3) to help the
students to produce sentences of their own using grammar items necessary for
speaking about a situation or a topic offered, or writing an essay on the text
heard or an annotation on the text read.
So we can make a
conclusion that no speaking is possible without forming of grammar tense aspect
mechanism. If learners have acquired such mechanism, they can produce correct
sentences in a foreign language. Paul Roberts writes: “Grammar is something
that produces the sentences of a language. By something we mean a speaker of
English. If you speak English natively, you have built into you rules of
English grammar. In a sense, you are an English grammar. You possess, as an
essential part of your being, a very complicated apparatus which enables you to
produce infinitely many sentences, all English ones, including many that you
have never specifically learned. Furthermore by applying you rule you can
easily tell whether a sentence that you hear a grammatical English sentence or
Roberts P. English Sentences. New York, 1962.
2. A Brief Review Of The Major Methods.
Brown C. and Jule “Teaching the spoken language”, Cambridge, 1983.
Brown H., Douglas ‘Principles of language teaching’, N.Y., 1987.
Lado R. and Fries C.C. “English pattern practice. Establishing the patterns as
методика обучения иностранным языкам. М. 1967.
М.Н. Модели обучения иностранным языкам в работах Г. Пальмера, Ф. Френча, А. Хорнби,
Г. Менона, Ч.Фриза и Р.Ладо. – М., 1998.
А.З. Усвоение речевых моделей с помощью наглядных пособий. // Иностранные языки
в школе, 1963, №3.
К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №2 - 2011