• The Effectiveness of the PACE Method to Teach Grammar

      Toth, Paul D.; Toth, Paul D.; Merino, Adriana; Holmquist, Jonathan Carl; Lorenzino, Gerardo (Temple University. Libraries, 2021)
      Traditionally, the explanation of grammatical rules of a second language has been done in an explicit and deductive way. This means that the instructor explains the rules, and these grammatical explanations are followed by communicative practice activities. This case study will analyze the results obtained in the grammatical teaching of a Spanish rule using the PACE method (Adair-Hauck and Donato, 2016). This method is explicit and inductive, which means that the instructor who teaches the grammar rule guides the discussion of that rule to see if students are able to extract it from the text presented to them. Then, communicative activities of linguistic production follow.This study assumes that there is a connection between explicit and implicit knowledge of grammar (Ellis, 2005). This study teaches three lessons using the PACE method. One lesson teaches impersonal se, another teaches the passive se, and another lesson teaches the inchoative se to students who have studied three years of Spanish at an urban public school in Madison. This structure is complicated both syntactically and semantically for Spanish students as a second language. For this study, I fully transcribed the conversations about the grammar rule of three groups of students in the three lessons they received. I counted the amount of time they spent discussing the grammatical rule of the lesson of the day, and I also divided that conversation into four levels of increasing depth of analysis. I then fully transcribed all the communicative activities they had practicing the rule they previously discussed. Thus, I counted the number of cases that each student performed the correct or incorrect use of the rule. Finally, I counted the cases in which the activity stops being of a communicative nature because of problem or challenge arises. In order for students to solve the problem, they need to pay attention to the form. Therefore, I counted these interruptions and then divided such interruptions in four different categories, so that I could analyze the nature of the challenges students face when they communicate using the target rule. The results of my study did not count on the individual variability I found. In order to explain this unexpected variability, I used Storch's group dynamics (2002). According to his study, collaborative and expert/novice dyads are the ones that produce the best results in linguistic accuracy. The results of my study show that the collaborative dyad is the one that gets the best results in accuracy using the target rule, while in the other two groups that are an expert/novice dyad, the results obtained were positive as well, despite two texts missing in the communicative activities. This study concludes that the PACE method is a valid one, and an alternative to the traditional deductive way of teaching of grammar. Although this study makes no comparison with deductive teaching, the results point to a positive connection and impact between explicit grammatical explanations that are developed through PACE, and their subsequent realization in communicative activities where students speak spontaneously. In addition, this study proposes to encourage and analyze mutuality in groups that discuss the rule in future studies. It is the common element of the two most productive dyads, and it seems to be the easiest variable to control.