“They have a Eureka moment – there’s a rule!” The role of grammar teaching in English as a second language in Norway.

Sigrunn Askland


This study investigates teacher cognition and the role of grammar in English second language instruction (ESL) and the use of the target language (TL) in selected secondary schools in Norway. The data include interviews with teachers, classroom observations, and a collection of term plans. The findings suggest that teachers consider grammar an important part of ESL-instruction in order to improve students’ writing and to learn a metalanguage that can be used for discussing the structure of languages. However, little time seems to be dedicated to systematic, explicit grammar teaching and metalinguistic discussions. Interestingly, focus on grammar seems to diminish as students’ language competence improves. Furthermore, most of the teachers say that they use a deductive approach, and speak both Norwegian and English when teaching grammar. The teachers also say that many students express that they have an intuition for what is grammatically correct, but that they still make mistakes. I conclude that increased focus on explicit grammar instruction and metalinguistic awareness and discussions may improve students’ overall proficiency of English.


grammar teaching; teacher cognition; ESL, second language acquisition; secondary school; target language

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ISSN 2045-4031. University of Central Lancashire 2010-2013.