Beyond Grammar and Beyond Drills


  • A. Bruce Gaarder

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      A. Bruce Gaarder (Doctor en Letras, National University of Mexico) is Chief of the Modern Foreign Language Section of the Division of Educational Personnel Training in the U.S. Office of Education. Before assuming this post he was for five years head of the Foreign Language Research Section in the Office of Education. His extensive language teaching experience in schools and colleges includes twelve years as associate professor of Spanish at Louisiana State University. Apart from the modern foreign language institute and “experienced teacher fellowship” programs which he directs, Dr. Gaarder's main interest in recent years has been the promotion of bilingual schooling for American children who have a mother tongue other than English.


ABSTRACT: A crucial problem in audio-lingual instruction is the advancing of students beyond memorized drills to a stage of automatic, personal control of the language. Most drills, exercises, and even dialogs now used fail to exploit fully the student's inductive and analogical faculties. Throughout each learning session, from the beginning, the teacher should be conscious of the grammatical points being displayed, but the learner's focus should go beyond the grammar and the drill to concentrate on significant meaning. Each drill should be a “conversation with you, the learner,” dealing to the maximum extent possible with the human and other realities of the dialog-narrative. (Sample drills in Spanish are given in the text and an appendix.)