chapter  4
Grammar in Student Books vs. Grammar That Students Need: Which Grammar to Include, Which Grammar to Omit
Pages 21

Hundreds of grammar books exist for our ESL/EFL learners today. While some larger works are designed to serve as grammar references, the vast majority are student course books, often appearing as part of a three-or four-volume grammar series, with each book targeting a predetermined list of grammar points deemed appropriate for learners at a specifi c profi ciency level (e.g., beginning, intermediate, upper intermediate, advanced). Unfortunately, course time constraints sometimes necessitate omitting certain grammar points because teachers simply cannot cover all of the material in the books. In this chapter, we look at how and why teachers would intentionally choose to teach certain grammar points while excluding others. We examine the relationship between student needs and grammar course content by considering one teacher’s experiences teaching grammar in three different ESL/EFL programs with three different student groups with contrasting ultimate learner goals-writing better academic papers, passing a high-stakes exam, and improving personal conversational skills in English. We will learn how to analyze a textbook’s list of grammar points and then read about recent applications of corpus linguistics research techniques that can help us make better informed decisions about which grammar points to emphasize as well as those to skip in our lessons. The main focus of this chapter is on the important connection between learner needs and the grammar content that might be selected for that course. In sum, learner needs should drive not only our grammar classes but also the whole curriculum.