The role of theory in pedagogical grammar: A Cognitive + Communicative approach

David Newby
University of Graz
Keywords: Pedagogical grammar, communicative, cognitive, 2nd-language acquisition


One of the most controversial areas of modern language teaching is that of pedagogical grammar. There is little consensus on what methodology should be applied in order to facilitate grammar acquisition; as a result, in classrooms throughout the world, grammar is taught in traditional ways which lack a solid theoretical underpinning. This is partly due to the fact that applied linguists have given insufficient attention to various facets of pedagogical grammar and to addressing certain key issues in grammar teaching. In this paper, key aspects of grammar-related theory are discussed; at the same time, a theoretical model of pedagogical grammar is presented – Cognitive+Communicative Grammar – which is based on insights from Cognitive Linguistics and Communicative language teaching and which provides a comprehensive framework on the basis of which the central tasks of pedagogical grammar – objective setting, rule formulation, exercises and activities design – can be addressed in a principled way.