The position of grammar in Finnish, Dutch, and global course books for German as a foreign language

Tammenga-Helmantel, M. & Maijala, M., 2019, In : Language teaching research. 23, 5, p. 562-583 22 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Communicative language teaching and language teaching research suggest forms for desirable and effective grammar teaching. This study investigates to what extent these suggestions are integrated into teaching materials. On the basis of prior studies, we developed a list of both qualitative and quantitative criteria to determine the position of grammar in foreign language course books. This list was then applied to course books for German as a foreign language that are used in Finland and the Netherlands to examine the role grammar plays in these materials. Our results show that many similarities exist between the Dutch, Finnish, and global course books with regard to the location and integration of grammar, and the instructional approach adopted. However, a striking difference was found in the Finnish materials: they provide more grammar exercises and generally a lower progression rate than the Dutch and global materials. We relate this to the typological distance between German and Finnish. In general, even though the analysed teaching materials all follow the rationale behind communicative language teaching, they are traditional in the sense that grammar inhabits a prominent position in the course books. On the other hand, we have observed pedagogical innovations with respect to grammar teaching, such as inductive grammar presentation, a spread of the learning load as well as self-evaluation tools for learners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)562-583
Number of pages22
JournalLanguage teaching research
Issue number5
Early online date8-Feb-2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Foreign language teaching, German, grammar, teaching materials, textbook evaluation

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