Noticing in Grammar Learning

There are three processes for developing grammatical knowledge. They work as sequenced learning activities around particular pattern or structures. They are noticing, structuring and proceduralisation. In this post I will talk about noticing.

Noticing according to Cameron, L. (2001:109) is "an active process in which learners become aware of structure". They might notice the connection between form and meaning, but they are exposed to, because if there is no noticing, acquisition will not take place. Batstone (1994) states that learner is presented with explicitly formulated information about forms and their functions. On the other hand, teacher should notice that learner can be guided to work out him/herself information about forms and their functions.

Cameron (2001) also adds that successful noticing includes different characteristics. Firstly, it should support meaning as well as form. Secondly, it presents the form in isolation. However, as a third point it can be contrasted with other already known forms. Fourthly, it requires active participation in a condition of being appropriate to the learners. Finally, successful noticing should lead into, but not include activities that manipulate language.
Noticing can be teacher-led or learner-led. Teacher –led means that teacher tells or show learners the grammar. This can describes the deductive grammar-learning approach. Wile learner-led means that learner discovers the rule. Teacher's role in this case is to be an assistant. Learner-led may describe the inductive grammar-learning approach.

Deductive Vs Inductive
Deductive and inductive are two concepts which describe the ways of encouraging learners to notice grammar. Deductive way applies a general rule to particular instances while inductive way involves inference from the particular to the general. Deductive learning occurs when teacher gives the rule in an explicit way and then encourages learners to apply it by giving examples and leads them to practice. On the other hand, inductive learning works differently by giving examples in order to get learners notice the rule.

My Suggested Task To clarify Noticing
This stage includes 3 objectives:
1. It aims to revise vocabulary in order to be used during the lesson.
2. Practice the regular singular and plural forms (a + noun & noun+s).
3. Notice the deference between "There is" and "There are" in sentences.

This task is prepared for learners of English as a foreign language. They are between 10 and 12 years old. As a warm-up activity, I put VSCs (Visual Stimulus Cards) 1 to 5 on the board to get the learners to name the pictures and then ask them to read the words on the FCs (Flash Cards) and match them to VSCs. In this stage I aim to present the topic of the task and to check that the learners can differentiate between the singular and the plural regular forms of the given nouns.

This stage shows the concept of noticing, because the learners may notice the rule by themselves. The sequence of the steps may reveal the differences between "There is" and "There are" by providing an example and trying to apply later. Exercises 3 and 4 can help the learners to notice that "There is" is used with singular nouns and "There are" is used with plural noun form. It appears that I focus on meaning as well as form by providing pictures. Pictures add motivation and encourage learners to do exercises. I think these exercises are appropriate to the demands and the level of the learners. The language in this stage is controlled, because I think it is early to let the learners to practice freely.

References: Read the third post

تم النشر بواسطة Abu Yumna Al-Shammakhi

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  1. Good addition that directs the attention of the teacher towards noticing as a high level mentality of a bright student to combine between forms and meanings.
    Mr. Elsayed Mabrouk . Egypt.


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