Enhancing Competency in English: The Covert Approach a Complementary to the Overt Approach in Teaching Grammar

Hussein Islam Abdullah, Parilah Mohd Shah


Over the years, there has been a decline in the competency of the English Language in Malaysian schools. Many parties among them the Ministry of Education, relevant NGOs, academicians and people have expressed concern over the matter. The Education Ministry through its transformational policy has taken several measures to overcome the matter. It is employing appropriate strategies to solve the problems. The focus is on learning and teaching strategies as well as the content of the language. There is no doubt that grammar is a very important component in acquiring the language in primary and secondary schools. The English teachers mostly use the communicative approach in teaching grammar. This is in line with the KBSR syllabus in mid 1980s which emphasized on the communicative method. Teachers’ training and materials such as textbooks cater for the covert method. However, some tend to ignore the structural approach which is equally effective and meaningful to increase the level of the students’ proficiency which was popular in the 1960s. The paper discusses on the two different approaches used – the covert and overt approaches – their strengths as well as weaknesses. Application of both approaches is also taken into consideration giving a better view of how grammar should be taught in schools.



Competency in English, teaching grammar, covert approach, overt approach

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.4n.1p.191


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