S2-CDISC1-6 - Grammar Instruction with UML

3. Research Work In Progress
Barbara Sabitzer1 , Thomas Rankin1, Marina Rottenhofer1
1 Johannes Kepler Universität Linz, Austria

Grammar is often taught explicitly in the course of foreign language instruction despite potential misgivings about the details of effectiveness. Different approaches rest on different conceptual and pedagogical rationales, which in turn rely on different forms of conceptual and empirical research. We seek to extend a COOL approach to grammar instruction in foreign language teaching. COOL is the acronym for Cooperative and Computer Science supported Open Learning and adopts a neurodidactic approach to teaching in general, in which processes of deduction and generalisation are supported by computational methods of storing, representing and explaining points of language usage. In addition, this represents an opportunity for cross-curricular cooperation between teaching in computer science and language. From neurodidactics we know that the learning and memorizing process in the brain can be supported by using advance organizers such as concept maps for visualizing and structuring the learning contents. With the visual language UML, the Unified Modeling Language, and other diagram types the field of computer science offers a wide range of such advance organizers. They can be applied for quite a lot of purposes or learning and teaching situations. In this paper we focus on the benefits of computer science models for grammar instruction in foreign language classes aiming at making grammar visible, comprehensible and memorable. We present several ideas for the use of UML diagrams for describing, explaining and learning grammar rules and structures in lucid diagrams. Especially activity and class diagrams or entity-relationship diagrams seem to be very helpful as our experiences gained so far suggest. The paper describes the COOL teaching approach and  It draws a connection between computer science and foreign languages and shows how to use different types of UML-diagrams for visualizing different aspects of grammar teaching and learning. We summarize the most important experiences and results from our last projects related to modeling and present the newest study on UML for grammar learning with some preliminary results.