Through the eyes of prospective teachers of English: Explicit or implicit grammar instruction?
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Grammar teaching, which plays a central role in the EFL classroom, has been one of the most controversial issues in the field of foreign language research. Thus, there is an increasing need to investigate how prospective English language teachers perceive and practise grammar teaching. The purpose of the present study is to probe the general perceptions of Turkish prospective teachers of English about grammar and their preferences for the type of grammar instruction (i.e., implicit or explicit). The participants of the study include 86 pre-service EFL teachers studying in the English Language Teaching Department of Balikesir University. They have enrolled in the course Teaching Practice in the spring semester of 2013-2014 academic year. In this descriptive study which employs a quantitative research design, a four-point Likert-type questionnaire adapted from a previous study is used for data collection. The data obtained from the questionnaires are analyzed descriptively using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 16. The findings of the study show that the majority of prospective English teachers regard grammatical knowledge as important and useful especially for fostering students' English writing and reading abilities. With regard to the type of grammar instruction, they seem to favor the implicit instruction over the explicit one. Hence, it can be suggested that language teaching should center on authentic and real-life oriented tasks rather than superficial practices that are consciously designed with the aim of teaching grammar.