Michigan State University
Michigan State University
English Language Center
Learning Symposium

Grammar and the Four Skills:
Exploration and Integration

April 11, 2015 | Michigan State University


Keynote Presentations



Integrating Grammar & Writing

Dr. Keith Folse | University of Central Florida

Perhaps no other aspect of second language learning has been as controversial in TESOL as the role of grammar. We went from grammar being in full control in the grammar-translation method to grammar being shunned in the natural and communicative approaches. In 2015, we are at a point where grammar is taught again, much to the joy of some teachers and learners and chagrin of others. Unfortunately, grammar is often decontextualized and taught in isolation. Though grammar can certainly be learned in isolation, more contemporary models of successful classrooms encourage integration with the four skills – reading, writing, listening, and speaking – and distribution throughout the curriculum.

This integration has implications for nearly every aspect of a second language program, including digital technology, assessment, course planning, and especially the proverbial "What happens in class on Monday?" As such, this year’s presentations will focus on links between grammar and other aspects of ESL instruction. For example, which grammar should teachers focus on and why? Would grammar in a writing class be different from grammar in a speaking class? If so, how would it be different? All of our questions touch upon a much larger question of "What is the ultimate goal of grammar in an ESL program?"

Dr. Keith Folse is Professor of TESOL at the University of Central Florida, where he teaches in the MA, PhD, and undergraduate certificate programs. His teacher certification was initially in secondary language arts and French, but he has taught learners from second graders to seventy-year-olds. Dr. Folse has taught ESL/EFL for more than thirty years in the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Japan, and Kuwait. In addition, he has taught French in the US and Spanish in Japan. At the University of Central Florida, he has won many teaching and research awards as well as the TESOL organization’s Teacher of the Year award in 2009.


Video of session - Part 1
Video of session - Part 2



ngl_jay.jpgWeapons of Mass Construction

Asher Jay | National Geographic Emerging Explorer

Asher Jay's work portrays the intrinsic value of irreplaceable ecosystems and the biodiversity they sustain, and the profound manner in which such places have come to shape the human story. Jay's exploration of humanity's terrestrial lineage and anthropogenic impact on nature has made her realize the need to examine such complex narratives on both a macro and micro level. Her goal is to underscore that all life is interdependent, i.e. when we destroy habitat, we destroy the biodiversity it sustains, which, in turn, erodes our own human welfare.


Grammar Panel Discussion



Matthew Rynbrandt | Michigan State University

Featured Panelists:

Shawn Loewen | Michigan State University
William Trudeau | Ohio Northern University
Kathy Ramos | Ball State University



Concurrent Session Presentations


preston.jpgporter-szucs.jpgThe SVO Editing Technique: Exploration and Integration of Grammar and the Four Skills

Ildiko Porter-Szucs & Bethany Preston | Eastern Michigan University

Designed for teachers of ESL/EFL students in high school and beyond, this interactive presentation demonstrates how students can learn to employ particular grammatical rules to edit their own sentences for run-on, fragment, agreement, and parallel structure errors. The technique has applicability for writing, oral presentations, and reading.


randolph.jpgComing Up With Solutions: Using Tri-Part Phrasal Verbs to Show the Webbing of Language Skills

Patrick T. Randolph | Western Michigan University

This interactive presentation focuses on using tri-part phrasal verbs to address the multiple connections between grammar and the other major skills. Activities are offered to help participants “come away with” Monday-morning ready ideas and an understanding of how this versatile medium can help our students develop into successful language learners.


avila-john.jpglucas.jpgThe Four Skills: "Chauffeuring" Grammar

Karin Avila-John & Nichole Lucas | University of Dayton

A frustrating aspect of teaching grammar is that students do not seem to be able to transfer what they learn in their grammar class to their academic and everyday writing and speaking. Should we get rid of grammar instruction? Definitely not! We need to let the four skills “chauffeur” the grammar.


busch-group.pngDesigning a Grammar-for-Reading Task Using Elicited Imitation

Michael Busch, Mary Klaus, & Jeannine Lorenger | Saginaw Valley State University

Our presentation explains how to design a grammar-for-reading task based on elicited imitation, a research technique used to measure implicit grammar knowledge. We discuss the theory behind elicited imitation, outline the criteria that are needed for effective task design, and then demonstrate an integrated reading/speaking/listening task focusing on comparatives.




mann-group.pngContextualizing and Integrating Grammar via Projects in an ESL Setting

Ana Mann, Tiffany Ellis, Shashi Naidu, & Hiltraut Johnting | Ball State University

Presenters discuss the benefits of a project based grammar course by contextualizing the learning and using integrated skills at an intermediate and advanced level of an ESL curriculum. While explaining the projects, the presenters describe the various formats, implementation, media and contexts involved in the execution of the projects and reaching level outcomes.




sabraw.jpgDictogloss: A Dynamic Integrated Text Reconstruction Task

Stacy Sabraw | Michigan State University

Learn about or get a refresher on an integrated and collaborative text reconstruction task that promotes meaningful interaction between learners and their awareness of L2 target grammatical structures—dictogloss. A demonstration is given as well as material sources, task variations and means of assessment.



Poster Session Presentations


waller.jpgLearner Autonomy Through Grammar Presentations

Laurel Waller | Michigan State University

In writing and grammar classes, students do not often get opportunities to practice their speaking and presentation skills. Grammar presentations are a way to promote students’ autonomy, and have them improve their grammar, speaking, and presentation skills.


erickson.jpgLecture Discourse Up-Close: Highlighting Grammar to Support Strategic Listening

Diane E. Erickson | Michigan Language Center

To build strategic listening skills for academic lectures, students must develop an understanding of functional discourse and lecture structure. Teachers can help by drawing student attention to certain recurring grammatical patterns. This poster session will present teachers with a framework for highlighting and analyzing grammatical patterns found in lecture discourse.


salas.jpgThe 20 X-words – Keys to Understanding the English Verb Form

Carlee Salas | Michigan State University

Through this poster, viewers are reintroduced to the English verb form from the perspective of X-word grammar, a classroom application of sector analysis for standard written English. Those who learn to look at verb forms this way are pleasantly surprised by the simplicity and regularity of the English verb.