The Professional and Future English Teachers’ Association (Pro-FETA) of the UNP College of Teacher Education hosted a seminar on “Using Corpus in Teaching English Grammar” held on 24 March 2023 at the UNP Tadena Hall.
Dr. Shirley N. Dita, associate professor at the De La Salle University, was invited to discuss the said topic with a bonus lecture on World Englishes, particularly the importance of promoting the Philippine English variety.
Dr. Ma Teresa Susan L. Manzano, the dean of the College of Teacher Education, graced the said program by emphasizing that learning is a lifelong journey especially in the area of grammar.
Dr. Dita describes the variety of English as practiced by Filipinos and argues that corpora-informed studies should inform English language teaching.
The speaker shared new insights on the teaching of English grammar using corpus as well as reminding the attendees to promote intelligibility and identity, more than accuracy or fluency, in the use of English language.
Corpus refers to electronic databases of naturally occurring language samples which language scholars consult to describe the present grammar of a certain language. A recent trend in applied linguistics and language education, it disavows prescriptive rules imposed by certain language specialists.
In the case of Philippine English, corpora-informed studies on the language variety attempts to capture how English has particular properties, from words to discourse structures, which differ from its “mother,” namely American English.
The former president of the Linguistic Society of the Philippines also emphasized, “If your English is not perfect, that is perfectly fine. It does not undermine your intellectual faculties.”
According to Dr. Dita, rather than being the gatekeepers of the English language, we must empower the speakers of English by recognizing their own variety instead.
She ended the lecture by challenging the students and teachers to change the perceptions and mindset of society in the said language by respecting the multicultural nature of English.
The event is attended by teachers of English in the University, as well as students of the Bachelor of Secondary Education, major in English and Master of Arts in Teaching English.
It is Dr. Dita’s second lecture in the University; the first one in November 2022 focused on the trends and issues of teaching English grammar in Philippine classrooms.
By Wimbledon Bosque (BSEd English 2)
Students of the BSEd English program are on ears to Dr. Dita.
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