Applied Grammar – TESL 373

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

A course examining form, structure, meaning, and use in English grammar, with particular application to English language instruction.


LING 301


At a structural level, language consists of lexicon – the words of a language – and grammar – the morphology and syntax that builds words and arranges them into sentences. To teach the English language effectively, then, a TESL professional must have extensive, explicit knowledge of English grammar. Teaching this knowledge to language learners is not straightforward, however. Recent decades have seen a pendulum swing from explicit, drill-based approaches, to a more communicative focus almost entirely devoid of explicit grammar instruction. Currently, the pendulum has settled somewhere in the middle: contemporary pedagogical models recognize the importance of both a focus on explicit, form-based instruction, and the need to embed it in meaningful, communicative context. This course will both review and improve your explicit knowledge of English grammar, and equip you with practical, hands-on knowledge of the current best practices in effectively teaching grammar to English language learners.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Identify English language forms and structures in terms of type and function;
  2. Explain English language forms and structures in terms of meaning and use;
  3. Evaluate current grammar theories in the field of teaching English to second/foreign language learners;
  4. Create effective materials for teaching grammar to second language learners;
  5. Evaluate the effectiveness of and improve pedagogic materials within a “focus on form” framework.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (2)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for this forum. This thread must be at least 350-400 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 150-200 words. Threads and replies must adhere to current APA format, and include at least the textbook(s) as a reference.

L1 Transference Paper

The student will conduct limited research on the grammatical features of the L1 of their anticipated target teaching demographic. The student will detail issues they are likely to face as TESL practitioners in overcoming these learners’ grammatical deficiencies. The paper will be 500-1000 words, excluding front and back matter, and must adhere to APA formatting and style guidelines.

Classroom Activity and Analysis (2)

The student will create short activities that could be implemented in an ESL or EFL classroom based on the focus on form methodologies detailed in Nassaji and Fotos (2011). Each activity will be created to focus on a specific grammar issue, as specified by the instructor. Beyond designing this activity, the student will also provide a short analysis of his or her activity, detailing how it both achieves the grammatical goal and adheres to the assigned methodological approach. These analyses must adhere to current APA format, and include the textbook as a reference.

Integrative Activity and Analysis

The student will design a longer activity that incorporates elements from several methodologies, and provide a longer analysis.

Peer Activity Critiques (3)

Each Classroom Activity and Analysis (above) will be posted in a class forum. In the week after submission, each student will critique two peers’ activities and analyses, providing suggestions for improving their efficacy in achieving the grammatical goal and in representing the specified methodological approach. Critiques must be at least 250 words, adhere to current APA format, and include at least the textbook as a reference.

Exams (3)

The student’s explicit grammar knowledge of English, with an emphasis on the readings from Lester will be tested. Each exam will be open-book/open-notes, contain multiple choice and true/false questions, and have a 1 hour 30 minute time limit.