Jun 12, 2009


Greetings Mr. Tahri Ali!

First of all, I would like to introduce myself, in brief. I am Noamen Amara, a Tunisian teacher of English working in the Kingdom of Bahrain. I have taught primary, elementary, secondary and even ESP to trainees working at several companies here in Bahrain. Secondly, I would like to say that this research is very original and would have important effects on our way(s) of teaching once the findings and outcomes come and are later published.

What makes this topic of research very authentic is that it comes at a time where curriculum / syllabus designers in many countries where English is taught either as a second (ESL) or as a foreign (EFL) language are caught into a dilemma related to the suitable approach to adopt in order to teach English.

From my own experience in both Tunisia and Bahrain I can say that in the same way the Audio-lingual/Grammar Method in teaching English as a second language proved to be short and unsuccessful, the "natural-communicative" Method, defended strongly by Pit Corder and Stephen Krashen has proven to be "not the best alternative" to the classical approach of teaching. In fact, believing that once students engage in communication in a "stress free" environment," grammar will come by itself" has revealed to be a failure.

Indeed, by following the teacher's guidebook and the student's class book and theories of language acquisition and development that strongly oppose the idea of teaching grammar to L2 learners, students have come to be very "poor writers". So, Students here in the Arabian Gulf in general and in Bahrain as an example manage to get high marks in speaking and listening, while they fail to have the same marks or at least a little lower marks in reading and especially in writing.

Thus, I can say that by adopting Krashen's approach we end up having students who, at all levels, are able to understand spoken language, but unable to produce in the language. Finally, in order to cope with this issue teachers often resort to give multiple-choice questions or short answers in reading activities and short guided writings in the writing tasks because students are not able to form long answers or long sentences. (In writing activities, students are often given tasks where they look at a picture and write one sentence about it or they have a set of ill-organized words to reorder.)

Last but not least, I would like to say that we can not teach English without focusing in some stages on grammar, that is on the form or structure of language and at the same time we should not focus on the form too much and neglect fluency. Instead, we should try to create a balance in which accuracy and fluency can work together.

Comment by Noamen Amara: alexenoamen@yahoo.co.uk