Pusan University of Foreign Studies

TESOL Program

English Grammar Syllabus 2004

PUFS index



Course Title: English Grammar

Location : TESOL Unit, Pusan University of Foreign Studies

Semester: commencing March 23, 2004

Faculty : Thor May


Course Description :

The English Grammar unit is designed to enhance the classroom abilities of teachers of English as a second language. It does this by blending practical classroom advice about English grammar teaching with an in-depth survey of the more important grammatical structures of the language, from morphemes, to word classes, to phrases, to sentence structures and beyond. Attention is paid to the way grammatical stucture encodes meaning, and the implications of this for language learning. Course participants are guided to develop their critical and analytic skills when faced with grammatical structures which seem difficult to explain to their own students.

Various approaches to the study of grammar are considered, from traditional pedagogical (prescriptive) grammars, to descriptive grammars, to more ambitious model-based systematic grammars. Skill in using these resources is emphasized, as opposed to the futile task of trying to remember long and arbitrary lists of grammatical terms (which are always incomplete in any case).

The top-down linguistic analysis of texts and utterances, which may be useful for a teacher's background management and understanding, is balanced with techniques, such as story-based grammar teaching, which may better serve the learner's acquisition of grammatical competence.

Patterns of L2 grammatical errors and other deviations from standard English are also studied. The course develops a notion of using errors as a learning tool rather than a badge of shame.

Course Objectives

A student who successfully completes the English Grammar unit should have useful teaching skills in these areas :

  • The capacity to look at any English sentence or text and be able to visualize its internal organization.
  • The ability to explain in plain language the internal relationships between the constituents of an English sentence. This includes the ability to communicate such understanding to language learners in ways which they will find helpful.
  • Skill in finding and interpreting grammatical explanations from grammar books when the teacher herself is unsure of standard English usage.
  • A broad familiarity with the main terminology used in various types of English grammar traditions. The principle is that this knowledge is a tool for teacher research and referencing purposes rather than direct classroom presentation.
  • Some experience in adding value to the content of English language materials such as stories, dialogues etc. by also exploring language form (including grammar). The principle is that L2 learners will be motivated to focus on form after they have been motivated by inherently interesting content.
  • Skill in making creative and positive use of the inevitable L2 user errors which are a feature of second language performance by both L2 students and L2 teachers. The principle is that errors and non-standard deviations can be viewed as a learning tool, as opposed to a constant source of embarrassment. This skill in creatively using errors will include the ability of the teacher to be candid (and perhaps humorous) about her own slips.



Weekly quiz 25% (five short questions per week, usually based on the previous week's lecture content)

Essay assignment 25% (the first draft, worth 10% of the essay total, is due in Week 6; the final draft is due in Week 9).

Examination 50% (this written examination will be held in the last week of the semester. It will be designed to test the student's understanding of content delivered during the course, and mastery of the skill objectives outlined in the syllabus).

Assessment rationale : The weekly quiz is a form of continuous assessment. Experience has shown that such quizzes, although unloved at first, are a very effective way to focus students' minds on the course content, and to clear up any confused ideas which may have arisen during lectures. The assignment essay is an opportunity for the student to show initiative in developing her own learning by going beyond course materials, and interpreting ideas from a variety of sources. The examination is intended to help the student review and integrate the course content as a whole in her own mind. It also provides an objective instrument for external auditors (such as other universities) to measure the kind of learning which has really taken place during the course.


Academic Standards

The PUFS TESOL Program is cross-credited to Masters courses in America and elsewhere. This means that international best practice must apply to course standards.

In written assignments, all borrowed ideas must give a full reference for the source . That is, the student must show the author, page number, article name, journal or book name, publisher and date. Quotations should be in quotation marks. Models for doing this correctly can be found in most academic books and journals. Plagiarism (claiming other people's ideas & writing as your own) will be penalized according to university policy. This would normally include a 0% grade for the assignment, and further measures for repeated offences.

The lecturer has a computer program specially designed to check for plagiarism, as well as his own professional knowledge and experience. He understands that course students who speak English as a second language are likely to have certain kinds of language errors in their writing.


Course Text Books

Assigned text :

Berk, Lynn M. 1999 English Syntax - From Word to Discourse NY: Oxford University Press

Recommended reading :

Hopper, Paul 1999 A Short Course In Grammar , published NY: W.W. Norton & Co.

Verspoor, Marjolin & Kim Sauter, English Sentence Analysis , (with CD) published Amsterdam: John Benjamins [this book provides an especially clear description of English sentence structures, with interactive exercises on the CD]

Fromkin V, Rodman R & Hyams N 2003 An Introduction to Language, 7th Edition (selected chapters), published Mass.: Thomson/ Heinle

J. Schrum & E. Glisan 2000 Teacherís Handbook, (selected chapters), published Heinle & Heinle

Willis, Dave 1991 Cobild Students' Cobild published London: Collins

Burt M & Kiparsky C 1972,1980 The Gooficon - A Repair Manual For English (if available), published Mass.: Newbury House

Other materials as mentioned in lectures